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  • Place of origin:

    Venice (made)

  • Date:

    1500-1550 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    blown, using a dip-mould, enamelled and gilt

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 63, The Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 9

The colourless, fragile glass of this dish deliberately mimics the shape and embossed decoration of metalwork vessels. Gilding and enamelling add to the precious effect. Contemporary treatises advised wealthy householders to display objects such as these in the rooms where they received visitors, to proclaim their taste and discernment. However, the dishes may also have had a practical function, to hold the candied fruit that was brought to conclude a meal for important guests.

Physical description

Shallow glass dish on a low foot. Enamelled and gilt decoration depicting a dragon in the centre.

Place of Origin

Venice (made)


1500-1550 (made)

Materials and Techniques

blown, using a dip-mould, enamelled and gilt


Width: 24.0 cm greatest width, Height: 8.2 cm, Diameter: 24.3 cm, Weight: 0.44 kg

Object history note

Bought from the Soulages collection in 1859 for £ 5.10

Historical context note

Venetian enamelled and gilt glass was a luxury product exported all over Italy and beyond. The glassmakers of Venice had an excellent and wide spread reputation for high-quality colourless glass and fine workmanship in gilding and enamelling.
Account books and inventories of the time sometimes mention small numbers of 'worked' or 'gilded' glass and often this is stated to have come from Venice or Murano, the Venetian island on which the glass industry was concentrated. The value of such items was often many times as great as that of ordinary glasses and bottles which were used in much greater quantities.
Elaborately decorated glass dishes were used for display or occasional practical use at the table during special banquets. Small dishes on a low foot, like this example, could be used for serving cold food, most likely fruit or sweetmeats, during one of the desert courses.

Descriptive line

Tazza, enamelled glass, Italy (Venice), 1500-1550

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Tait, 'Golden Age of Venetian Glass', 1979,cat. No.5 for similar tazza. Also similar tazza in Museum fur Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, cat.No.122 p.66


Material; Glass




Glass; Eating


Ceramics Collection

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