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Guido Durantino

Maiolica plate made in the workshop of Guido Durantino in Urbino, Italy


Tin-glazed earthenware

Diameter: 25.7cm

Inscription: Le Piche favoleg / giano nella festa / di Baccho / in botega di Mo. Guido / Durantino in Urbino [in blue, on the verso, identifying the plate’s obverse scene and maker]

Museum number: B47

Curatorial note

This plate is from a maiolica service of tableware made for Anne de Montmorency (1493-1567), a celebrated soldier who became in turn Marshal of France (1522), Governor of Languedoc (1526) and finally Constable of France (1537), for his residence, the Chateau d'Écouen, near Paris. Only 14 pieces of this large service are thought to survive, in museums throughout Europe and America. All are painted with mythological subjects typical of “istoriato”, a style of High Renaissance maiolica painting prioritising narrative images from Classical mythology or the Bible. Each piece bears the Montmorency coat of arms. On the plates this is placed directly above the central roundel. The Montmorency service was the first major “istoriato” series painted for a foreign patron and it is possible that it was a diplomatic gift from Italy to one of the most influential men in France.

The story depicted on the Soane plate is that of the three daughters of Minyas from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book IV, who refuse to observe the rituals of the feast of Bacchus and remain indoors, spinning and telling stories, and who are eventually turned into bats as punishment.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Soane purchased two maiolica plates at the sale of the effects of John McGowan (or McGouan): Catalogue of the Extensive Cabinet of Medals, Coins, Gems, Antiquities, and Books on the Fine Arts. Collected at a Liberal Expence, by John McGouan, Esq. F.R.S. Edin. Deceased . T. Philipe, Warwick Street, Golden Square, London, 8-15 February 1804 [Biblioteque Nationale Paris, available online via Gallicia website, seems to be the auctioneers copy with neatly entered buyers details; another copy is at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham]. The BNP copy records Soane's purchase for £2.2.0 on the seventh day of the sale of Lot 171 "a pair of plates - a battle of horse, and three female figures in conversation, by GUIDO DURANTINO".

We are grateful to Tim Teuten for sharing this provenance informaiton with us 2021.


Michael Newman, 'Le service de majolique d'Anne de Montmorency Connétable de France', L'estampille (Dijon) 204 (June 1987): 61, no. 13.
Le dressoir du prince: Services d'apparat à la Renaissance, exhibition catalogue, Musée national de la Renaissance, Château d'Ecouen, 1995: Le Service de Anne de Montmorency pp.54-63; Soane plate cat. 28, p.61.
J.J. Marquet de Vasselot, 'Faiences d'Urbino exécutées pour le connétable de Montmorency', Bulletin de la Societé nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1928, p.273.
John Mallet, 'In Botega dii Maestro Guido Durantino in Urbino', The Burlington Magazine 129 (1987), pp.284-298

Exhibition history

Le Dressoir du Prince, Musée National de la Renaissance, Écouen, October 1995 - March 1996

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk