Butter dish and cover

Dutch (Delft)
about 1730
Artist Unknown, 19th century

Object Place: Europe, The Netherlands


8.3 x 12.8 cm (3 1/4 x 5 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tin-glazed earthenware decorated in polychrome enamels and gold

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)





The molded oval dish has slightly canted sides with four rows of horizontal ribbing on the lower portion. Two raised brackets at each end are molded on the exterior in the form of leaves. The thin, flat cover has notches on both ends to accommodate the brackets of the dish. The finial on the cover, which also serves as its handle, is formed by two facing dolphins, which balance a ball between their months. The dish is white, and the four bands are painted a pale beige with red outlining. Around the upper edge of the dish a Kakiemon-style motif of flower petals, foliage, and palmettos is painted in orange-red, pale green, and turquoise with some gilding. The cover depicts a Dutch skating scene. Two sections of blue fence in the foreground and a blue, red, green, and black hillock with some brush suggest a bank of the river. A man on skates in blue breeches, mauve jacket and stockings, and a black hat pushes a red sledge in which a woman dressed in blue is seated. Another man, seen from the back, wears a blue coat, red breeches, and a black hat. He gestures toward the sledge with his left arm; his right arm is folded behind his back. The river is pale green with areas of black. On the far right bank of the river stands a tall, mauve-colored, open warming tent. A large Dutch flag, attached to the top of the tent, flies overhead. Beneath the flag a long-handled broom is staked to the left of the tent. A tall tree stands on the other side of the tent and extends over it. Two buildings, one with a smoking chimney, are on the far left bank of the river. Above the buildings, the branches of a large tree are visible. In the distance is a hilly cityscape, and overhead are several thin, wispy clouds and a red bird with blue wings.


(1) inside dish, in red enamel: j o
(2) underside of cover, in red enamel: 5

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus