Italian (probably Faenza)
about 1500

Object Place: Europe, Italy


8.25 x 20 x 27.94 cm (3 1/4 x 7 7/8 x 11 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)





Rectangular with molded rims, center upright divides box further divided at one end for ink. Top partly enclosed over end with portraits of man and wife and medallion of clasped hands with inscription in center. Stylized pattern on ends, floral scrolls with medallion portraits at sides.

This inkstand celebrates marriage. The clasped hands record the moment of the promise of betrothal and devotion, as does the word for the marriage ring, the fede-the Italian word means “faith.” The inscription reads “IO.TE.DO.LA.MANE / DAME.LA.FEDE”, or “I give you my hand/Give me the ring.”




Probably until 1869, Vittorio Emanuele Taparelli, Marchese d'Azeglio (b. 1816 - d. 1890), Turin; 1869, sold, probably by the Marchese d'Azeglio in Paris, to Friedrich Moritz Gontard (b. 1826 - d. 1886), Frankfurt; by descent to his son-in-law, Richard von Passavant-Gontard, Frankfurt [see note 1]; 1929, still in Passavant-Gontard collection. Jakob Goldschmidt (b. 1882 - d. 1955), Berlin and New York; 1956, consigned by the estate of Goldschmidt to Raphael Stora, New York (stock no. C-142-11); 1956, sold by Stora to the MFA for $1,800. (Accession Date: May 10, 1956)

[1] The provenance (to 1929) is provided in "Sammlung R. von Passavant-Gontard," (exh. cat. Städel, Frankfurt, 1929), p. 45, cat. no. 208. The inkstand is said to have been acquired in Paris in 1869. The Marchese sold parts of his collection of Italian porcelain and glass in London and Paris that year.

Credit Line

John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund