The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Plate
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Probably Venice, perhaps Spain (façon de Venise)
  • mid-16th - early 18th century
  • Colourless glass with slight straw tinge where thicker (in the well), numerous small air bubbles and an applied turpuoise-blue trail.
  • Height: 2.7 cm
    Diameter: 17.3 cm
  • C522
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This colourless glass plate with a turquoise-blue rim and a slight straw tinge in the thicker area of the well was first recorded in the Wallace Collection in 1905.
    Plates such as this are hard to date precisely because they appear to have been used over a long period of time. Simple colourless glass plates have Roman precedents. Plates occur frequently in the inventories of Venetian glass-makers and glass plates now attributed to Venice were included in sixteenth-century sets for the Italian market, such as those engraved with the arms of the Orsini and Medici, dating to 1558-76. In an English context, documentary and archaeological evidence indicates the increasing use of glass plates in the seventeenth century. This probably reflects the decline in the use of bread or wood trenchers. Several plates comparable to C522, made in Venice around 1708, are now at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen. They were probably acquired by Frederik IV of Denmark when he visited Venice in 1708-9.
    There are plates that are significantly larger and without the contrasting rim that are generally attributed to Venice and dated to the seventeenth or early eighteenth century. Among plates attributed to Venice there are also some with more complex ornament, such as vetro a filigrana or cold-painted decoration. An aquamarine-blue trail has been described as perhaps being a typical decorative feature of Tuscan production as it occurs on glasses excavated in the region.
    While the similarity of this glass to those at Rosenborg Castle, its relatively colourless flange and blue trail suggest a Venetian origin for this plate, the straw tinge in the well is reminiscent of Spanish glass made in the Venetian style, so a Spanish origin cannot be ruled out.