Part of my collection of antique pots, the civilised way to preserve food before the mass production of tins in the 1900’s. The labels were applied prior to the glazing and firing and hardly wear off even after being buried in rubbish dumps over hundred years. Most of them I have bought from one particular 80 years old dealer at Portobello Antique Market who spend his entire life digging them up. Apart from the beautiful antique graphics (my favourites are by Fortnum & Mason) great thing about these pots is that most of them carry the royal coat of arms and since they change with every monarch it makes them easy to date.
Behind them are 2 antique copies of Della Robbia terracotta brought back from Italy to England by aristocrats after their Grand Tour. Luca della Robbia (1399 – 1482) was a sculpture living and working in Florence and a frontrunner of the Renaissance. He developed a glazed technique that has preserved his figures and vibrant colours outdoors over centuries. And his unique abstract white depiction against a blue background makes his work inimitable and timeless.
He cooperated with the architect Filippo Brunelleschi on what is now known as the first Renaissance building: the Hospital of the Innocent in Florence. Della Robbia created a series of different roundels depicting the foundlings, incorporated in the classic design of the façade. Mine is an exact copy of one of these roundels produced by the well known Florentine pottery makers Cantagalli.
The London V&A has some beautiful original works by the Della Robbia workshop. Check: