The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Goblet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Venice
  • c. 1500
    1450 - 1599
    c. 1500
  • Colourless glass (now with pink tinge, perhaps due to solarisation) with mould-blown, applied and tooled features, enamelled in blue and green; gilding.
  • Height: 14.1 cm
    Diameter: 10.4 cm
  • C514
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This Venetian glass goblet, with half ribbing ('mezza stampaura') on the lower part of the bowl and a ribbed pedestal foot, takes its inspiration from Gothic metalwork chalices. Many variants of this form were made by the Venetian glass-makers in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, but this goblet’s bowl is shallower and more cylindrical than most.

    This glass may well have been made in emulation of rock crystal. From the mid-fifteenth century Venice was renowned for its best quality glass, 'cristallo', made in imitation of highly prized, colourless and transparent rock crystal.

    The simple yet effective decoration below the rim, of gold leaf incised with a scale pattern and enlivened with blue and green enamel dots, is synonymous with much Venetian glass decoration of the later fifteenth to early sixteenth centuries. It has been suggested that this popular border decoration may allude to the tradition of setting jewels in gold, sometimes as a mount for rock crystal. There are traces of gilding on the ribs on the lower part of the bowl.

    Documentary evidence for the Venetian production of drinking vessels with enamelled and gilt decoration at this time is provided by an inventory of the workshop of Alvise and Bernardino Dragan. Dated 20 October 1508, it lists glasses ‘worked in enamels and gilding; glasses with gilded ribbing; ... goblets with gold friezes’.

    It is possible that this goblet originally had a cover.