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  • Place of origin:

    Venice (made)

  • Date:

    1475-1510 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Coulourless and clear blue glass, blown in a dip-mould and tooled, gilt and enamelled

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery, case 3

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Venice (made)


1475-1510 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Coulourless and clear blue glass, blown in a dip-mould and tooled, gilt and enamelled


Height: 15.9 cm, Diameter: 9.6 cm maximum = foot, Weight: 0.22 kg

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 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.

Descriptive line

Goblet, Italy (Venice), , 1475-1525, 7536-1861 .

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

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.


ELISE; Glass; Drinking


Ceramics Collection

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