A set of nine Castelli coffee cups and five saucers, dated 1763.

Each piece is painted with a different male or female peasant in a landscape, in a subdued palette composed of olive green, yellow ochre, cobalt blue and manganese brown.

In this example, a woman is depicted on the cup, kneeling at a fountain which carries the date 1763, 5.4cm.

On the saucer, a man is depicted walking in a landscape, carrying a basket on a stick, 12.5cm.

Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793) travelled to Italy on the first of his two Grand Tours in 1763.

He was very much drawn to the subject matter and colours of Italian majolica and purchased a considerable number of pieces, including this set.

The mediaeval hill town of Castelli in the Abruzzo has long been known for its majolica wares.

They were particularly popular with the English nobility and other Grand Tourists from the 16th to the 18th Centuries and are still made in the town to this day.


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