Casting Bottle thumbnail 1
Casting Bottle thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 58

Casting Bottle

1540-1550 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Object Type
This casting bottle would have been used to hold a flower essence, typically rosewater, and to sprinkle it over the hands and body. Such bottles are occasionally known as 'sprinklers'.

History & Use
Casting bottles were luxury accessories that were used by members of the European court and aristocracy from the 15th century to the mid-17th, and they are known to have been given as New Year gifts at the court of Henry VIII. They became redundant after the introduction of musk and resin-based perfumes and the development of larger-scale perfume bottles forming part of a dressing-table set.

Design
Casting bottles are generally found in the form of the traditional pilgrim flask, with a flattened body, a long neck and chains attached to the shoulders. At the forefront of European fashion, they are usually decorated in the very latest styles; this English example has the characteristic strapwork ornament derived from Flemish designs of the 1540s. The stopper and chains are later replacements.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Flask
  • Stopper
Materials and techniques
Silver, chased, embossed and engraved, with applied shaped and punched wires
Dimensions
  • Height: 12cm
  • Maximum width: 6.7cm
  • Depth: 4.1cm
Dimensions checked: measured; 08/12/1998 by dw
Marks and inscriptions
Engraved with a later crest of an eagle's head
Gallery label
  • British Galleries: This small bottle was designed to hold perfumed water. Casting bottles were luxury accessories for the fashion- conscious aristocracy, and their decoration often reflected the latest European trends. They are now exceptionally rare. The ornament on this bottle is a very early example of strapwork, consisting of flattened, overlapping bands which resemble strips of leather.(27/03/2003)
  • Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars label text: Casting bottle About 1540–50 This small bottle, designed to hold perfumed water, was a luxurious accessory for the fashion-conscious courtier. The design was inspired by the work of the Antwerp goldsmith Balthasar Sylvius. It bears a later English owner’s heraldic eagle crest. England Silver, chased, embossed and engraved, with applied shaped and punched wire V&A 451-1865
Object history
Made in England by an unidentified maker, using the mark of a cusped 'I'; the strapwork ornament may derive from a design by Balthazar Sylvius (born in Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, 1518, died in Antwerp, Belgium, 1580)
Summary
Object Type
This casting bottle would have been used to hold a flower essence, typically rosewater, and to sprinkle it over the hands and body. Such bottles are occasionally known as 'sprinklers'.

History & Use
Casting bottles were luxury accessories that were used by members of the European court and aristocracy from the 15th century to the mid-17th, and they are known to have been given as New Year gifts at the court of Henry VIII. They became redundant after the introduction of musk and resin-based perfumes and the development of larger-scale perfume bottles forming part of a dressing-table set.

Design
Casting bottles are generally found in the form of the traditional pilgrim flask, with a flattened body, a long neck and chains attached to the shoulders. At the forefront of European fashion, they are usually decorated in the very latest styles; this English example has the characteristic strapwork ornament derived from Flemish designs of the 1540s. The stopper and chains are later replacements.
Associated object
REPRO.1872B-3 (Reproduction)
Collection
Accession number
451:1, 2-1865

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Record createdApril 28, 1999
Record URL
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