‘An Italian Maiolica Bella Donna Footed Dish (Coppa)’, ca. 1530-40, Christie's Old Masters


Dishes of this type painted with young women are thought to have been given as tokens of love or affection, or they may have been associated with marriage. Bella donna pieces are frequently inscribed with the name of the woman followed by bella, and some parts of the inscriptions were frequently abbreviated or omitted. This coppa is painted with a young lady called Diana, and the inscription is most probably Dian[a] bra[va e] b[ella], which translates as Diana, good and beautiful.

Signature: Inscribed DIAN BRA B- against a blue ground, the reverse with a short circular foot

Gubbio, Palazzo Ducale, La Via della Ceramica tra Umbria e Marche, 26 June 2010 - 30 January 2011, no. 3·18.

Ettore A. Sannipoli et al., La Via Della Ceramica tra Umbria e Marche, Maioliche Rinascimentali da Collezioni Private, exhibition catalogue, Gubbio, 2010, pp. 220-221.