The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Armorial Bowl
  • Armorial Bowl
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Venice
  • Probably c. 1500 - c. 1530
    Possibly 19th century, before 1857
  • Colourless glass enamelled in blue, green, yellow, and white, with black details and gilding.
  • Height: 2.9 cm
    Diameter: 17.3 cm
  • C516
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This enamelled and intricately gilded armorial bowl displays the coat of arms of the Cini family of Florence. The imagery of the coat of arms has been described as ‘Azure, a mount of six hillocks, or, surmounted by a tree, sinople (vert)’. Bowls of this form were made in Italy from the late fifteenth century until about 1530. Though many examples in maiolica survive, versions in glass versions are rarer.
    Four other almost identical bowls are known, their minor differences being in size and in the detail of the flying ribbons; two in the Musée national de la Renaissance, Ecouen, and two in the British Museum. The authenticity of these bowls has been called into question. Some specialists have doubted the authenticity of the bowl in the Wallace Collection on account of the surface sheen of the glass, the unusual, detailed pattern of the incised gilt band on the flange and the quality of the enamelling. Others have queried the bowl’s attribution to Venice, rather than its authenticity, observing that the surface of the glass and the bowl shape are uncharacteristic of Venetian production. However, most recently a glass-maker specializing in Venetian Renaissance techniques has observed that the glass is typical for the sixteenth century and that the techniques of manufacture and decoration are right for the period. If this bowl and the others with the same coat of arms are authentic, they provide important evidence of the production of glass dining services in the early sixteenth century.