Pharmacy jar (albarello), Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware), Italian, probably Naples or environs

Pharmacy jar (albarello)

ca. 1475–1500
Italian, probably Naples or environs
Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
Overall (confirmed): 12 13/16 × 5 5/8 × 5 5/8 in. (32.5 × 14.3 × 14.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1946
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 503
Male busts in profile—one youthful, one mature—appear on the front of these two albarelli (see also 46.85.14), while the backs are painted with a graceful floriated design. Given their close similarity, it seems likely that the jars belonged to a single pharmacy set, which might originally have included dozens, if not hundreds, of vessels. In the absence of labels, the different physiognomies could help the merchant distinguish one jar from the next.
Inscription: Label on underside: U.S. Customs / Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915
purportedly Miss Walters Cacciola , Taormina, Sicily ; [ perhaps Alessandro Imbert , Rome, about 1910 ] ; [ C. & E. Canessa , New York, by 1915–16; sold to Schiff ] ; Mortimer L. Schiff , New York (1916–d. 1931; on loan to MMA 1917–19; to his son, John); by descent, John M. Schiff , New York (1931–46; on loan to MMA 1937–46, on view 1937–41; his sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, May 4, 1946, no. 72; sold for $1,200 plus $60 commission to French and Company); [ French and Co., New York , as agent for MMA, 1946 ]