The upper surface of this splendid Limoges dish was decorated with the pagan story of Psyche and Cupid’s wedding feast, based on Raphael’s celebrated 1517 fresco in the Villa Farnesina, Rome. Courteys has also lavishly decorated its underside with Jupiter, king of the gods, astride his eagle, surrounded by masks and strapwork, no doubt aware that this was what diners would have seen first when the food-laden plate was carried in high over their heads. Despite its size, the plate is surprisingly light because the enamel has been applied over thin copper sheets, beaten into shape over a metal mould. This meant that it could be carried aloft with relative ease.
Pierre I Courteys (c.1520 – 86), Limoges, France, 1560
Louis C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960 (M.116-1961)