Maiolica before Raphael, Sam Fogg, 15D Clifford Street, London, W1, 8th May – 16th June 2017
It will come as no surprise that it has taken leading medieval art specialist and dealer Sam Fogg many years to bring together the more than forty examples of late-medieval and early Renaissance pieces of maiolica which make up this important exhibition. The first such show for a hundred years!
Most of use when thinking of maiolica bring to our mind the istoriato pieces with their decoration of mythological, historic or religious scenes but this exhibition reveals the earlier period before Raphael – the era of Donatello, Mantegna and Botticelli.
The tin white glaze applied to the earthenware pieces was decorated with motifs inspired by textiles, metalwork and the lusterware of Islamic Spain. These were exciting and original and one can easily understand why some contemporary buyers valued them more highly than precious metals.
The accompanying catalogue celebrates contemporary scholarship with a foreword by Timothy Wilson, and essays by Elisa Sani and Justin Raccanello which look at both the evolution of the pottery and the story of the collecting of Italian pre-Renaissance pottery up until the present day.