Flask thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 63, The Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

Flask

1500 - 1550 (made)
Place Of Origin

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.
The shape of this sprinkler is derived from silver objects more commonly found in the Middle East, where they were widely used to sprinkle scented water. Some metal sprinklers were made in the Middle East especially for the Italian market, which indicates that this practice must have spread to the West. Our sprinkler was made in Venice and its unidentified European coat of arms, suggests which indicates that it was made as a special commission for an important patron.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
blown glass, enamelled
Brief Description
Flask, glass with enamelled decoration, Italy (Venice) 1500-1550
Physical Description
Glass sprinkler bottle with long and very narrow neck, enamelled with two coats of arms.
Dimensions
  • Height: 22.5cm
  • Greatest width diameter: 10.5cm
  • Weight: 0.2kg
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Canting arms of Hirschvogel family of Nuremberg.
  • Canting arms of Holzel family of Nuremberg. (Both arms also appear on a glass beaker in the National Museum, Stockholm. See Axel von Saldern, German Enameled Glass: The Edwin J. Beinecke Collection and Related Pieces (New York: Corning Museum, 1965), p.36 and fig.13.)
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 glasses and bottles which were used in much greater quantities.

The shape of this sprinkler is derived from silver objects more commonly found in the Middle East, where they were widely used to sprinkle scented water. Some metal sprinklers were made in the Middle East especially for the Italian market, which indicates that this practice must have spread to the West. Our sprinkler, however, was made in Venice.
Summary
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.

The shape of this sprinkler is derived from silver objects more commonly found in the Middle East, where they were widely used to sprinkle scented water. Some metal sprinklers were made in the Middle East especially for the Italian market, which indicates that this practice must have spread to the West. Our sprinkler was made in Venice and its unidentified European coat of arms, suggests which indicates that it was made as a special commission for an important patron.
Bibliographic References
  • Compare form with Hugh Tait, The Golden Age of Venetian Glass (London, 1979), No.84
  • Axel von Saldern, German Enameled Glass: The Edwin J. Beinecke Collection and Related Pieces (New York: Corning Museum, 1965), p.36 and fig.13
  • Barovier Mentasti, R. and Tonini, C. Murano, chefs-d'oeuvre de verre de la Renaissance au XXIe siecle. Paris: Gallimard, 2013.p.66
Other Number
8353 - Glass gallery number
Collection
Accession Number
1851-1855

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record createdDecember 13, 1997
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