The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Tazza
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Venice or façon de Venise
  • Second half of the 16th - early 17th century
  • Colourless glass with grey tinge; mould-formed and tooled features; gilding.
  • Height: 15.7 cm
    Diameter: 16.7 cm
    Diameter: 7.2 cm, of foot
  • C528
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This elegant shallow-bowled stemmed glass is a tazza. Tazzas were variously used as wine glasses, as items of display or for serving fruit and sweetmeats. There is well documented evidence from the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of the Italian partiality for drinking wine from shallow glasses such as this.
    The bowl of this glass is decorated with a regular pattern of mould-blown bosses and has traces of gilding on its underside. Although the gilding is in a protected place, it is very worn. This, together with evidence of a binding medium, suggests that the gilding is probably cold painted rather than fired onto the glass. Glasses of various forms that have similar moulded bosses, also with worn gilding, were produced in Venice, or in Venetian style, over several decades, beginning in the second quarter of the sixteenth century.
    This glass is similar to that depicted in Caravaggio's painting, 'Bacchus', of around 1597-8 (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence).
    The attribution of this bowl is uncertain. While the greyish tinge of the glass, the thick merese at the stem base and the likely cold-painted gilding indicate that this glass was probably not made in Venice, these features suggest a possible attribution to Hall in Tyrol. However, the shape of the glass and its moulded bosses, a feature sometimes attributed to Tuscan glass, suggest Italian production.