Lot 119. An extremely large and impressive Iznik pottery dish, Ottoman Turkey, circa 1590; 16in. (41cm.) diamEstimate GBP 25,000 - GBP 35,000. Price realised GBP 43,750Courtesy Sotheby's.

With sloping rim on short foot, the white interior painted under the glaze in bole-red, cobalt-blue, green and black with a symmetrical floral design of red roses and blue tulips, in a stylised 'wave-and-rock' border, the underside with green rosettes alternating with paired blue tulips, repaired break.

ProvenanceWith Durlacher Brothers, sold London, 19 April 1899,
Almost certainly Ralph Brocklebank Collection,
Stefanos Lagonicos, by 1925 (no.41).

Literature: Gaston Migeon, Exposition d'Art Musulman, Les Amis de l'Art. Alexandrie: Mars 1925, Paris, 1925, p.27.

ExhibitedExposition d'Art Musulman, Alexandria, March 1925, no.65.

Note: The exhibition in which this dish featured, the Exposition d'Art Musulman, was curated by the former keeper of Islamic Art at the Louvre, Gaston Migeon. It was made up almost entirely of works borrowed from the private collections of prominent Greek Alexandrians such as the Nomicos, Lagonicos and Benakis - the collection of the latter was to form the core of the Benaki Museum which opened in Athens in 1930. In his introduction to the 1925 exhibition catalogue Migeon notes that "et les amateurs Alexandrins ont vraiment réuni de ces admirables céramiques de collections incomparables", 'the Alexandrian collectors gathered incomparable collections of those admirable ceramics' (Migeon, 1925, p.7). This dish, one of those to which Migeon undoubtedly refers, is no exception.

This dish is notable for its very large size, rare in the production of Iznik in the second half of the 16th century. A dish measuring 42cm. in diameter was referred to in the narh defteri of 1640 as boylu, which translates as 'tall' and by implication, 'very big'. This demonstrates that even at the time of production, dishes of similar size were considered exceptional (Atasoy and Raby, 1989, pp.43-44). Atasoy and Raby add that large dishes, or chargers, up to 45.5cm. in diameter are relatively common amongst the wares dating from 1480-1530 but that at the time of writing, they knew of only one other from either the second half of the 16th century or from the 17th which is larger than 36.5cm. That example is published in Iznik (Atasoy and Raby, 1989, no. 532, p.p.254-255). Another, similarly large dish was sold at Christie's, London, 7 April 2011, lot 335. The present dish, with its excellent provenance, adds another to that small group.

Sotheby's. Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets, 28 October 2020