The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wine cooler
  • Wine cooler
  • Workshop of Flaminio Fontana (active between: 1571-1591)
  • Urbino, Italy
  • 1574
  • Tin-glazed earthenware, painted
  • Height: 40 cm
    Width: 62 cm
    Length: 71 cm
  • Inscription: '.F.F.F. / VRBINI / 1574' In blue
  • C107
  • Smoking Room
Commentary
History
  • Probably made for Cosimo I de’Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, this monumental wine cooler bears his device of a turtle with a mast on its back, illustrating his motto, Festina lente (Hasten slowly). The inscription on its base indicates that it was made in Flaminio Fontana’s maiolica workshop in Urbino in 1574; Cosimo died in April 1574. Wine coolers were kept on or below a buffet, filled with ice, snow or cold water, to keep wine cool during meals. The decoration of this exceptionally large cooler combines white-ground grotesques, vigorously sculpted monsters and a Roman naval battle scene derived, unusually, from a drawing. The water-based theme was appropriate to a wine cooler.