Classical mythology and biblical history are the most popular themes found on Renaissance maiolica. For inspiration, painters looked to widely circulated prints, carefully modifying the rectangular compositions to better suit the round, contoured surfaces of tableware. Here, the artist altered a print by pushing the story’s most important elements—such as Achilles’s vulnerable heel—to the edge of the plate so that they would remain visible regardless of the presence of food.
Inscription: Sticker on reverse: ON LOAN FROM / G.H. Morland / 25 June 1865
Adrien-Joseph Rattier (by 1853–59; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 21024, 1859, no. 9; sold for 600 francs to Beurdeley); G. H. Morland (by 1862–66; his sale, Christie's, London, May 8–12, 1866, no. 465; sold for £25 plus premium to Whitehead, probably T. M. Whitehead, London); Alessandro Castellani , Rome (until d. 1883; his sale, Palazzo Castellani, Rome, March 17–April 10, 1884, pt. 2, no. 36; sold for 2,900 lire [approximately $580], to "Villegas," perhaps acting for Henry G. Marquand); probably T.M. Whitehead , London (from 1866)