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AP or AD Monogram - Unknown

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AP or AD Monogram - Unknown

Postby wdel » May 25th, 2009, 11:23 am

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After several years of continuous research I have been unable to determine the elusive owner of this mark. I have several examples of his work in my files and I am still actively looking for him. Several clues leads me to make some general assumptions. The shape of the first plate shown here is unique to Italy. It was in popular use from the 18th century through the mid 20th century and reached its zenith from the 1880's to the 1930's. The shape's popularity waned in 1940's and essentially disappeared by the end of World War II. The shape was used on plates ranging from less than 6" in diameter to large chargers, such as these that 24" across. Thus we can presume that, although unmarked as to the country of origin. it is distinctly Italian.

The style, decorative motifs, and subject matter is very consistent with the neo-renaissance period between 1880 and 1920. The biggest clue I have is the five point coronet (its not a crown) over the initials. This symbol is closely associated with the city of Naples and in particular the Royal Manufactory at Capodimonte. The famous Mollica family used the coronet over the letter "M" to mark their wares during this period and the work of Achille Mollica in particular, was for more widely known and collected during the late 19th century than were the works of the Richard-Ginori Company. A number of firms and studios in Naples adopted the "Capodimonte" Coronet for their own use as well.

The subject matter of these plates is either historical, biblical or mythological in nature and that places these chargers in the category known thematically as Istoriato (historical). In these examples we have one scene which seems to be Achilles being held by his heel as his mother, Thetis, immerses him in the River Styx. The other example seems to depict the biblical moment Cain murdered his brother, Abel.

In both scenes the figures are surprisingly garbed in simple peasant clothing. This also seems to be a Neapolitan standard. Artist of the north that were creating Piatto Istoriato (historical plates) at the time had their figures dressed in magnificent Roman armor, long flowing togas or even Greek Chitons. Examples by Rubboli, Santarelli and others from Florence, Gualdo Tadino and other major northern cities can easily be found with which to make the comparison of northern style to that of the south during this period.

Thus I am working on theory that this decorator worked in Naples at the end of the 19th century. He probably would have been very familiar with the Mollica family, the Cacciapuoti clan and the famous artists of Giustiniani family. This artist more than likely might have had some association with these families or the various factories. Since a number of his works have survived time it is more than likely that his talents were appreciated in his own lifetime. Theoretically, one would think that it should therefore be fairly easy to discover some literature on the owner of this mark but such has not been the case so far.

Walter

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wdel
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