A blue, yellow and white painted dish depicting the profile of a woman with blonde hair and a scroll
Bowl with ideal profile of a woman, Castel Durante, Italy, Around 1520–25, Tin-glazed earthenware. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Bowl with ideal profile of a woman

Castel Durante, Italy, Around 1520-25

Dishes with profiles of men and women dressed in the style of ancient Rome made fashionable gifts and sometimes hung in pairs.

Although not portraits of real people, they can bear the name of a beloved. The ‘Tarsia’ of this dish may refer to a heroine from classical literature or  a young woman who lived locally. The letter ‘b’ stands for bella (beautiful in Italian).

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Ornate jug with saz leaves on a green fish-scale ground and an embellished curved silver handle and rim, Circa 1560


Probably Iznik, Around 1560

From the early 16th century, the Ottoman Empire became Venice’s main trading partner in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Ottomans exported to Europe their highly prized pottery made in the imperial workshops of Iznik, near Istanbul. Jugs like this were...

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)