The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Footed Bowl
  • Footed Bowl
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Venice
  • c. 1500
  • Colourless glass with a very slight pink tinge and numerous, variously sized air bubbles; Prussian-blue glass; mould-blown, applied and tooled features.
  • Height: 14.8 cm
    Diameter: 27.2 cm
  • C515
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Venetian footed bowls such as this one, with half moulding of the lower section of the bowl achieved by the 'mezza stampaura' technique, were popular from at least the late fifteenth to the early sixteenth century, as is evident from the considerable number of extant examples. The majority are in colourless glass with two or three blue horizontal trails and with ribbing on the lower bowl and foot, as is the case with this example.
    The distinctive elongated blister bubbles in the half-moulded lower section of the bowl, some elliptical and others long and pointed at either end, are a result of the 'mezza stampura' technique. They are frequently found on sixteenth-century glasses. During production, two gathers of molten glass are collected sequentially on the blowpipe. The first gather is partly inflated and, after it has cooled to the point of hardness, the second gather is collected at its tip. Due to superficial scarring of the surface during shaping, bubbles often become trapped between the two gathers of glass and, at the conclusion of the 'mezza stampura' process, appear as partial spirals wrapped around the vertical axis of the bowl.
    These bowls might have served a variety of functions, but it is surprising to see one serving as a fish bowl in an early seventeenth-century 'Still Life' by Giovanni Battista Crescenzi.
    A similar bowl is shown on the chimneypiece in William Holman Hunt's 'Portrait of Fanny Holman Hunt', 1866-8 (Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio), testifying to the nineteenth-century enthusiasm for Venetian Renaissance glass.