An Iznik "Golden Horn" pottery Tondino Turkey, circa 1535-45
Provenance: The Scott family, Great Barr Hall; Sir Alan Barlow Collection, and by descent.
Published: Geza Fehervari, Islamic Pottery: A Comprehensive study based on the Barlow Collection, London, 1973, no. 201; Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby, Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989, fig. 161.
Great Barr Hall in the Midlands was the family seat of the Scott family who first came to prominence in the 18th Century. Sir Joseph Scott was made a Baronet and became the MP for Worcester in the late 1700s. He rebuilt the Hall in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style in 1777, and later on, the famed architect, John Nash, had a hand in the design of the Hall. Sir Joseph took The Grand Tour, an extended holiday for the gentry who had come of age, and it is possible that this dish was acquired during this trip.
This is the first significant example of "Golden Horn" ware to have appared at auction for almost twenty years. It belongs to a small group of dishes of Italianate form - they all have a small central well and extremely wide rim, and the fact that they are of similar size has led to speculation that they may be part of the same service (Oliver Watson, Ceramics, in B.W Robinson et al, Islamic Art in the Keir Collection, London, 1988, no. c94. The others are in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Atasoy and Raby, fig 329); the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. no. 6590-1860, unpublished); Musee des Beaux Arts, Lyons (Soliman le Magnifique, Exhibition Catalogue, Grand Palais, 15th February - 14th May 1990, no. 164); the Keir Collection, Richmond (Watson, no. c94); and a Private Collection, Florence (Giovanni Curatola, Eredita' dell'Islam: Arte islamica in Italia, Venice, 1993, no. 229).
The name "Golden Horn" for these wares with a design of spirals punctuated by tiny rosettes and paired leaves branching left and right, is because a quantity of shards of this type were discovered when the foundations for the new post office was being dug on the south shore of the Golden Horn in Istanbul between 1905-9 (John Carswell, Iznik Pottery, London, 1998, p. 50). More recently, fragments of "Golden Horn" ware were excavated by Professor Aslanapa at Iznik in 1984 (Oktay Aslanapa et al, The Iznik Tile Kiln Excavations: The Second Round: 1981-1988, Istanbul, 1989, p. 149).
Dating is provided by a fragmentary bottle in the same style in the British Museum. The British Museum bottle which is dated 1529, is extremely important as it is one of only two dated vessels from the 16th Century (Atasoy/Raby, fig. 133).
Recently, Atasoy and Raby have argued that since this kind of decoration is used as background ornament in imperial monograms or tughra, that the appelation "tugrakes spiral style" is more appropriate since it enphasises the imperial connection (Atasoy/Raby, p. 108).