Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Ceramic 27 - Janets Plate

Lady Elizabet Hunters device as interpreted by Countess Constanzia.

I've been thinking about this one for a long time. Janet (Elizabet) has been kind enough to make me some lovely silk banners with my device and the college device. Then, for November Crown, she made me a rather smashing pennant with the Kingdom populace device, the College of St Monicas Device, the household badger and my device. So I'm been keeping her in the back of my mind when I research designs trying to come up with something appropriate so I can thank her in kind. It's been a challenge because her device is argent, a domestic cat passant to sinister sable and a base gules. There aren't many 'good' cats on extant ceramics that I've found so far. I quite like this one, very catty, or leopardy I guess, but it doesn't fit her persona.
Bowl, Selijuk, Persian. Early 13th C. Black pigment under translucent alkaline glaze. Accession number: 65.231. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

I finally settled on the one below. I've had it in mind for a while. Lady Alliette originally linked it to facebook while I was researching Spanish plates. As you can see the background decoration is very similar to Mirriams serving platter which is convenient given they're in the same household. I was initially reluctant to paint this design because the cat itself is too pointy for my taste. Then I realised, that the aim of this plate was not to reproduce an extant sample, but to make something in a medieval style for a modern day use. So I adapted it a little.

Dish featuring a Cat. 1400-1450, Spanish, Manises. Tin Glazed Earthernware. 34.6x5.5cm.  Accession number 56.171.115, Metropolitian Museum of Art.

Adaptions: In keeping with Elizabets device, I have flipped the cat to sinister and painted the bottom third of the plate in red. I have retained the decorative elements (originally in lustre on the extant piece) and used them to tie the whole plate together. I have also adapted the cat from the pointy, toothy one above to something closer to the interpretation of her device that she likes best. I've retained the long legs but made the cat appear more fluffed up and protective which I think fits Elizabet better. Hopefully she'll use this one for many years before accidentally breaking it at a feast one night.
The finished plate.

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