The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Beaker
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Low Countries ('façon de Venise')
  • c. late 16th century - c. first half 17th century
  • Colourless ice glass with greenish-grey tinge throughout, except for foot-ring of grey glass with pink tinge; moulded, applied and tooled features; gilding.
  • Height: 23.1 cm
    Diameter: 15.6 cm, at widest point
    Diameter: 12.4 cm, at narrowest point
  • C542
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading

  • Cylindrical beakers in glass were widely used for drinking beer in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in the Netherlands. They appear to have been a major product of the Soop glass-works in Amsterdam, active during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Beer was consumed in far greater quantities than wine in the Low Countries, and beer-filled beakers are depicted in seventeenth-century Dutch still-life paintings such as Pieter van Anraadt’s 'Jug, Glass of Beer and Pipes on a Table' of 1658 (Royal Cabinet of Paintings, Mauritshuis, The Hague).
    The cylindrical beaker in ice glass was a popular model, with excavated finds showing that they were in great demand throughout the Netherlands. They are usually attributed to the Low Countries, and examples were certainly made at the Soop glass-works. It is likely that some were also made in Venice for export, since, although their form reflects regional taste, their decoration is in the Venetian style ('façon de Venise').
    Glass with a crackled surface, known in Italian as ‘vetro ghiaccio’ (ice glass) was first made in Venice. Very successful in the second half of the sixteenth century, its popularity continued in the seventeenth century. It reflects a contemporary Italian interest in ice and iced drinks. To make ice glass, the hot gather of glass on the blowing iron was plunged into cold water, the thermal shock resulting in a fissured surface.
    Cylindrical beakers were made in various sizes. At 23.1 cm tall, C542 is unusually large. Ice-glass beakers have varying degrees of ornament. This example is rather elaborately decorated as it has three stamped lion-head mask prunts alternating with three prunts depicting stylized flower-heads, the rim and prunts being embellished with gold leaf applied during the hot working process. Numerous beakers dated between the latter half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries are closely comparable to C542 and have similarly applied but varied prunts.