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Electrotype of a bronze ewer engraved with six classical scenes of Roman bravery and self-sacrifice, original Italian, Venetian, c. 1540: English, London, by Giovanni Franchi and Son, c. 1857
Franchi and Son, Manufacturer
Clerkenwell, London, England, Northern Europe
Gilt copper alloy ewer, with three thin patterned bands with simple repeating designs on bottom of base and bands of Italian inscriptions. Flat top of foot features three circular portrait busts of women. Various small figures stand in between the busts. A band of overlapping leaves in repeating pattern stretch around the stem of the base, and another band where the foot meets the main receptacle of the ewer. Wider band with vegetal pattern at base of main body, above which are larger panels with six classical scenes of Roman bravery and self-sacrifice, including Marcus Curtius jumping into the fiery chasm and Mucius Scaevola thrusting his arm into the fire. These scenes are divided by frames which interlock as they meet, with signs of the Zodiac sitting above and below these interlocking points. On the frames are inscriptions of the Zodiac and character names. As the main body narrows into the spout, there are two bands with repeating leaf patterns, and above that a wider panel with three circular portraits of helmet-clad men with their names written around them. Between these busts are figures of cupids and flowers. A plain narrow band in sharp relief separates the main body from the top of the ewer, which opens up into a prominent pointed spout with scroll design edges. On either side of the spout is a semi-circular cut-out from the rim with a small lip. There is a semi-circular rim at the back of spout adorned with floriate designs. A handle with symmetrical leaf design attaches to the main body of ewer. The top portion of handle is a dragon standing on a flat plinth which curves up to attach to the lip at back of spout with its front paws. A long neck curves towards the spout with a head that hovers above the opening of the ewer. The underside of the spout has a floriate decoration, and a central long-beaked bird design in an oval frame. There is more floral decoration on the top of spout where the liquid would pour from.
Depicted: Marcus Curtius
Depicted: Mucius Scaevola
Venice, Italy, Southern Europe