Goblet thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery

Goblet

1475-1510 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The staple production of medieval and early Renaissance glassmakers was beakers and bottles. This splendid beaker on a high foot was made in Venice by the famous glass-blowers on the island of Murano. The decoration in gold leaf and painted enamels was applied after the piece had been shaped and gradually cooled. After decorating, the beaker went back into the mouth of the furnace, where the enamels would melt and fuse with the glass surface. Once fired, the enamels could not be rubbed off the surface.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Coulourless and clear blue glass, blown in a dip-mould and tooled, gilt and enamelled
Brief Description
Goblet, Italy (Venice), , 1475-1525, 7536-1861 .
Physical Description
Colourless glass beaker with moulded and pincered decoration, on a blue glass foot with moulded ribs and goldleaf decoration. The cup is enamelled and gilt.
Dimensions
  • Height: 15.9cm
  • Maximum foot diameter: 9.6cm
  • Weight: 0.22kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Style
Historical context
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 beakers and bottles which were used in much greater quantities for daily use at the dinner table.

The more valuable enamelled and gilt glasses were almost certainly used for special occasions only. Their shapes were also more varied, including footed beakers and bowls, cooling vessels, dishes, ewers, basins and salts. The fact that such items were specially mentioned in inventories showed how they were treasured by their owners from the start. They were more likely to be kept in the bedchamber, in painted wooden chests, rather than in the kitchen where the more ordinary dining utensils were kept.
Summary
The staple production of medieval and early Renaissance glassmakers was beakers and bottles. This splendid beaker on a high foot was made in Venice by the famous glass-blowers on the island of Murano. The decoration in gold leaf and painted enamels was applied after the piece had been shaped and gradually cooled. After decorating, the beaker went back into the mouth of the furnace, where the enamels would melt and fuse with the glass surface. Once fired, the enamels could not be rubbed off the surface.
Bibliographic References
  • Venise et l'Orient: 828-1797; exh catalogue Paris, (l'Institut du monde arabe), New York (Metropolitan Museum), Paris 2006, pp. 260, and cat. 160
  • Ajmar-Wollheim, Marta and Flora Dennis, At Home in Renaissance Italy, London: V&A Publishing, 2006.
Collection
Accession Number
7536-1861

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record createdDecember 13, 1997
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