Wine cooler with A Pageant Battle with Elephants

Maker: Workshop of the Fontana family (Italian, active ca. 1553–80)

Date: ca. 1562–75

Culture: Italian, Urbino

Medium: Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): 12 7/8 × 23 1/2 × 23 1/2 in. (32.7 × 59.7 × 59.7 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Accession Number: 32.100.362


Coolers were set near the table on a credenza or sideboard, visible to diners and within easy reach of servants. They are designed to be viewed from any side, but especially from above when empty. When not in use, coolers remained in place to convey the owner’s refined taste and, due to the relatively inexpensive medium, personal modesty.