The lower part of the ewer’s body is decorated with a battle scene, featuring six horsemen and three soldiers on foot. All of them are presented nude, in dramatic groupings, with tinted flesh and bloody battle wounds. They fight against a neutral black background which underlines the depth of the vivid scene, with only a few trees with elaborated foliage.
The upper part of the ewer’s body is endorsed with the portrait of a bearded man with a helmet, possibly Ajax, in a medallion with laurel decoration. He is flanked by two figures, a man and a woman. Captured in reclining poses, they are the allegories of the warrior’s virtues, holding thin laurel branches in their hands.
The neck and the foot of the object are decorated with large white acanthus leaves with greenish accents. Clusters of fruit, fleur de lis, cornflowers and rosettes embellish the zones around the handle and the inner surfaces of the handle and the foot, while the white and gold scrolls adorn the lips of the ewer.
According to Madeleine Marcheix in the catalog of the Limoges Museum Renaissance enamels, eight of Master’s I.C.’s ewers are decorated with the battles of nude horsemen. However, they feature different scenes on the other parts, which makes each object very unique.
Former Horace Walpole Collection in Strawberry Hill; (1842 sale, no. 56)
Addington Collection, 1862
Exhibited in Paris in 1889 when it belonged to Frederic Spitzer (1893, sale no. 559, sold for 8700 Fr)
Charles Stein Collection (1899, sale no. 24, sold for 5500 Fr)
The Ernest Brummer Collection: Auction sale, 16-19 October 1979, Zurich, Galerie Koller & Spink & Son (sale no. 258, cat pages 400-403)
Private American Collection