Plate with the Arms of Blanche of Navarre
The prolific workshops of Manises, near the city of Valencia, made colorfully decorated tin-glazed earthenware vessels in many shapes. Such wares were widely appreciated across Europe, but Italians appear to have been the biggest customers for them. This plate, which bears the prominent arms of Queen Blanche of Navarre (1391–1441) and her husband, John II of Aragon, was probably part of a larger service. In a letter of 1454, for example, Maria of Castile, consort of Alfonso V of Aragon, ordered just such a service, including dishes for meat, washing basins, porringers, broth bowls, pitchers, vases, and other objects to be "lustered inside and out." During the fifteenth century, Italian maiolica workshops gradually began to surpass Spanish ones in terms of quality and sheer numbers.
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