Large Red Greekware Platter with Well and Tree Made by Herculaneum, circa 1820


Herculaneum made this fabulous well and tree platter in England circa 1820. It is decorated in the “Greek” pattern with neoclassical figures and mythological scenes based on ancient Greek and Roman art. The lovely deep red color brings the white images into focus. At the center is a historic scene from Olympic history. We see Cynisca, a Spartan princess and athlete, racing a chariot at the Greek Olympic Games in 392 BC. She became the first woman to win at the Olympics.* Printed on earthenware, Herculaneum’s “Greek” pattern is transferware. The central image was taken from a 1791 collection of engravings from ancient Greek vases discovered in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies purchased by Sir William Hamilton, a British envoy to the court of Naples.

Dimensions: 20 long x 16″ wide x 2.75″ tall.

Condition: a hairline restored and some crackle in the glaze, both visible on the back of the platter.

In stock

According to the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Neoclassical “Greek Pattern, introduced in 1806, catered to the demand for classical subjects created by the Greek revival. Each shape in the service was decorated with the same four vases between reserves containing different scenes derived from engravings of Greek vases in the collection of Sir William Hamilton.”

*Cynisca was a Spartan princess and athlete. She competed in the Olympiads in the four-horse chariot races—as an owner and breeder of horses and won in 396 and 392 BCE, becoming the first woman to win at the Olympic Games.


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