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made at Urbino, Italy

Postcard of Dish.
© National Museums Scotland


This maiolica dish was made at Urbino in Italy between around 1520 and 1530. It was painted by Nicola (di Gabriele Sbraghe) da Urbino. The plate is one of five surviving pieces in the Museum from a single service. There are six other known pieces.

The painting on the dish depicts 'Phalaris and the Bull of Perillus', a moral history in which the inventor Perillus devised a barbaric method of disposing of the king's enemies by burning them alive in a bronze bull. The tyrant Phalaris, King of Agrigentum, and the master of Perillus, chose Perillus as his first victim. In the centre are the arms of the Calini family of Brescia. The dish is monogrammed 'IS' and inscribed 'NERO' and 'SPQR' ('Senatus Populusque Romanus' [The Roman senate and people]).

Nicola di Gabriele Sbraghe worked in Urbino most of his life and died there in 1537 or 1538. He was responsible for a number of works dating from just before 1520 to the later 1530s.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-681-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1897.327 A
Date: 1520 - 1530
Between around 1520 and 1530
Material: Earthenware. Inscription: NERO; SPQR; IS
Dimensions: 39 mm H x 270 mm D
Subject: Ceramics : earthenware : Italy : Urbino
Who: Calini Family (Arms depicted)
Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe Collection (Previous owner)
Lady Jane Dundas Collection (Previous owner)
Misses Forbes Collection (Previous owner)
Nicola di Gabriele Sbraghe, Urbino (Delineator)
Phalaris (Depicted)
Where: Italy, Urbino
Description: Maiolica dish showing 'Phalaris and the Bull of Perillus': Italian, Urbino, painted by Nicola di Gabriele Sbraghe, 1520 - 1530
  • Curnow, Celia, Italian Maiolica in the National Museums of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1992 
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