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An Italian maiolica albarello with the arms of Boerio, Angelo and Ludovico Picchi workshop, Casteldurante, ca. 1562-1563


H.: 30,5 cm

This albarello (as well as the second from this same group) is part of the best-documented pharmacy commission of the 16th C.
The order was placed in 1562 with potters in Casteldurante by a Genoese merchant, Andrea Boerio, who lived in Palermo in Sicily. Boerio ordered, in two successive contracts, several hundred albarelli and other storage jars, carefully specifying the forms, sizes, and decoration; some were to be istoriato and some with trofei (trophies). Unhappily for the potters, the brothers Ludovico and Angelo Picchi, they failed to deliver all these jars on time and were taken to the Duke of Urbino's court by Boerio and forced to pay compensation.
Over fifty jars survive, bearing, like this one, the arms of Boerio; one is dated 1562 and two are dated 1563.
The Picchi brothers were the sons of the Casteldurante potter Giorgio Picchi, who had died by 1535. Their workshop became one of the most productive in the town and may have employed several painters. The painter of these albarelli appears to have been the most prolific painter of istoriato designs in Casteldurante in the 1550's. He was, notably, the main or only painter of an extensive service with unidentified arms and the motto 'SAPIES DOMINABITUR ASTRIS', three pieces of which are dated 1551. Among work that appears to be by the same hand is a bowl in the museum at Arezzo, which bears on the back the name 'andrea da negroponto'.

- A Belgian private collection.
- An old Sotheby's Parke-Bernet label to the base, inscribed (lot) 351.

- Sotheby's, Paris, May 31, 2021, lot 59, for a comparable pair. (sold EUR 21.420) (link)
- The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Accession no. WA2006.178, for a smaller (26,8 cm) example from the same group, on display and published in Timothy Wilson, Italian Maiolica and Europe: Medieval and Later Italian Pottery in the Ashmolean Museum (2017), pp. 193-195, no. 79. (link)
- The Louvre, Paris, inv. OA 1893, for another albarello with the Boerio arms, on display in The Louvre and illustrated by Jeanne Giacomotti, Catalogue des Majoliques des Musées Nationaux (1974), p. 241, fig. 793. (link)

Estimate: € 4000 - € 8000