White glazed ceramic depicting Erminia among the shepherds. Erminia is depicted from the side, standing with her robe in the wind, her helmet under her arm and a shield at her feet; she is stretched out towards the shepherd seated on a log as he weaves a basket with three shepherd boys clinging to him, a goat behind Erminia and one crouching at the shepherds’ feet, in the background a fence. On the base, there is the engraved brand, a crowned N.
Dimensions: cm 35,5 x 37 x 18
The white ceramic under examination belongs to that production made in the second half of the 19th century, on the legacy of the Royal Ferdinandea Factory.
In 1771, Ferdinand IV, son of Charles III, had a porcelain factory erected at the Villa di Portici in Naples, later transferred to the Royal Palace, the well-known Real Fabbrica Ferdinandea. The crowned N (in reference to the Neapolitan city) was initially used from around 1788 until 1806, when the manufacture came to a halt due to the French occupation.
In 1811 the mark was acquired by the famous Ginori company, but by the first half of the century the crowned N (printed or incised) was already being used by the numerous Neapolitan workshops focusing on the production of porcelain, which were becoming increasingly popular.
We do not know of any compositions that are identical in subject matter to ours, however, a white glazed ceramic of the same production, depicting the myth of Hercules, Deianira and the centaur Nessus, is preserved at Cleveland ‘s Museum. The sculptural hand is the same, both at the compositional level, in the distribution of the characters, in the movement of the robes and the fingers of the hands, but also in the details. It is enough to compare Erminia with Deianira or the shepherd’s face with those of Hercules or Nessus. Even the reed leaves placed behind Neptune have the shape of those we find between the goat and the fence. The Cleveland pottery also bears an engraved crowned N on the bottom.
– Elena Romano, La porcellana di Capodimonte, ed. Arte tipografica Napoli 1959
-Angela Carola Perrotti, La porcellana della Real Fabbrica Ferdinandea, Ed. Banco di Napoli 1978.