Illuminating Objects

Spanish lustre dish

6 February to 29 April 2013

Dish Tin-glazed earthenware, painted with lustre. Probably Manises, Spain, 1500-1525. 47.5 cm diam. Samuel Courtauld Trust: Gambier-Parry Bequest, 1966

This dish was probably made in Manises, a small town on the outskirts of Valencia, between about 1500 and 1525. The region of Valencia was home to a large-scale manufacture of lustred ceramics, exporting its wares all over Europe between about 1400 and 1600, with Manises as its most important centre. Spanish lustreware has a dual heritage, reflecting the Islamic and Christian history of the Iberian Peninsula: while the shape of this dish is European, the monochrome (one-colour) lustre and other elements recall the earlier ceramics of Islamic Spain.

The lustred dish is on display from 6 February to 29 April. It is shown in Gallery 2, near the  permanent display of Italian Renaissance ceramics, which includes examples of Italian tin-glazed lustreware made in Gubbio and Deruta (Umbria) around the same years.

Spanish Ceramics: Craftsmanship in Context
For about two hundred years, from 1400 to 1600, lustreware was one of Spain's most sought-after and exported luxury commodities...
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Design & Decoration
The design and decoration of Valencian lustreware reflect the region’s complex Islamic and Christian history...
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Lustre Technology
Lustre technology was developed in the Middle East around the ninth century and flourished in the Islamic world...
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Object Research
The dish has been researched, presented and interpreted by Tanja Tolar, a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London).
read Tanja's blog post

A 3D model of the dish has been created by and Ali Hosseininaveh Ahmadabadian and John Hindmarch, who is working towards an Engineering Doctorate in the Centre for Digital Humanities and the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Enginneering at University College, London (UCL).
view the 3D model

The Courtauld also houses fine collections of Iznik and other Spanish lustreware ceramics  and an outstanding collection of Renaissance maiolica; the Gallery’s largest group of ceramics. Find out more.