The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Reliquary or Goblet
  • Reliquary or Goblet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Venice
  • Probably c. 1600
  • Colourless glass with slight pinkish tinge, mould-blown and tooled features.
  • Height: 17.1 cm
    Diameter: 8.8 cm
  • C533
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Attributed to Venice around 1600, this exceptionally thin-walled glass may have served as a container for religious relics, known as a reliquary, as is suggested by the traditionally cylindrical flanged bowl. Reliquaries made entirely of glass were produced from the end of the fifteenth century, especially in Venice. Inspired by rock-crystal examples with metal mounts, glass reliquaries were still being made in the nineteenth century. Some retain their glass cover surmounted by a cross.
    Alternatively, this glass may have served as a goblet. Many similar glasses with cylindrical bowls of varying heights, either with or without a flanged base and a cover, do not have a feature associating them specifically with Christian devotion. Made in Venice or in the Venetian style elsewhere, they may have been intended as drinking vessels rather than reliquaries.
    This glass is attributed to Venice owing to its extremely thin, light and almost colourless glass, and the fact that glass reliquaries in this form were produced in Venice. The similarity of its stem form to those that occur on glasses made or depicted around 1600 accounts for the dating of this example.