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Agate cup with one handle
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Agate cup with one handle

1650 - 1675. Agate, Enamel, Gold. Room 079B

Vessel made up of various pieces of agate with different tones and veining, some of them (lid and bowl) possibly recarved ancient pieces. It has a globular body formed by a deep bowl onto which a corresponding piece is fitted. The two pieces are joined by a strip of perforated gold with superimposed vegetable spirals decorated with translucent green and red and opaque white enamel. It had two handles, only one of which remains today, enamelled in the same colours, running with a serpentine design down the entire bowl before joining the knop. This knop, formed by the support ring of the bowl, a rope pattern of gold enamelled with touches of blue, and two rounded surface elements with a torus between them, rests on a tall stem with a polygonal neck and a small foot on top of a larger round one, with a broad mount of openwork leaves enamelled in green, white and blue.

Laurent’s photograph of the vessel stolen in 1918, no. 6 in the 1776 inventory of the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural (and no. 75 in Arbeteta’s catalogue), show the bird that must originally have been the finial of O14, described in the inventory drawn up by the Governing Committee of the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in 1839 as a white enamelled dove perched on a twig, with blue and red markings and two small spinels for eyes. Arbeteta suggested it might have belonged to a piece of jewellery, since a ring of braided gold wire was preserved on the top. The dove was possibly added in Paris before 1815, since some of these pieces could be completely dismantled and reassembled with different combinations of elements. In the meantime, vessel O14, no. 17 in the 1776 inventory of the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural (and no. 121 in Arbeteta’s catalogue), had a very elaborate flask added to it in Paris as a finial. The piece did not belong to it, and until the Peninsular War was a separate item listed in the historic inventories as a "cruet" or "small flask". It had a pair which was also placed after the Peninsular War on another vessel, stolen in 1918, with a stem in the form of a female figure, no. 31 in the 1776 inventory of the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural (and no. 113 in Arbeteta’s catalogue). During the restoration of the Dauphin’s Treasure in 2017, the finial "in the form of a cup" was removed, since Angulo had pointed out it was not original to the piece, a fact corroborated by historic photographs. That Agate flask with three handles is now exhibited separately, and has been given the inventory number O3487. What is original, on the other hand, is the finial with enamelled foliage and a small balustrade into which the flask was inserted, and which served as the pedestal for the dove which once surmounted the piece.

There are numerous vessels preserved at the Louvre which bear a relation to the mounting on the body of this piece. They include R. 141 and MR 140, with similar handles and a mount on the rim similar to that on the foot of the Madrid piece. Alcouffe moreover mentions MR 223, MR 224 and MR 231. The rope pattern mount with enamelled coils is found on various vessels at the same museum, including the small cup MR 258 and the flask MR 272, both originating in the Dauphin’s collection. This type of design appears in a repertoire published in Paris by Gilles L’Égaré in about 1663.

The state of the work in the 19th century can be seen through the photography of Juan Laurent y Minier, "Vase, agate calcédoine, montures d’or émiallé, XVIIe siècle, règne de Henri IV", c. 1879, Museo del Prado, HF0835/6 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

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Inventory number
Agate cup with one handle
1650 - 1675 (Mounting)
Chased; Enamelled; Carved
Agate; Enamel; Gold
Height: 23 cm.; Width: 14.2 cm.; Base/bottom: 10 cm.; Weight: 486 g.; Diameter of the base: 9.2 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 39.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, El tesoro del Delfín: alhajas de Felipe V recibidas por herencia de su padre Luis, Gran Delfín de Francia, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 328-329.

Arbeteta, L. Azcue, L., El Tesoro del Delfín, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2018, 2018.

Other inventories +

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 34.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 121.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 17.
Otro vaso, hechura de copon con su tapa, pie, remate y vasa, y una bola de piedra Agata, el pie algo endido, guarnecidas todas dichas piezas, con sus dos asas de oro, compuestas las asas de cartones, y hojas; en el remate un Paxaro sobre un ramo, esmaltado de blanco, pintado de colores: dos rubies pequeños por ojos, todo lo demas esmaltado de blanco, negro, rojo, azul y verde trasparente; regulado en quatro onzas poco mas o menos que con los rubies, piedra de dho vaso con su caja vale 11.125.

Inv. Real Museo, Escultura, 1857. Núm. 17.
Alhajas y efectos preciosos que se hallaban colocados en el Gabinete de Historia natural y trasladados al Real Museo de Pintura y Escultura de S. M., en virtud de Rl. orden de 11 de Mayo de 1839 [...] 17. Otro vaso hechura de copon con su tapa, pie, remate y base, y una bola de piedra ágata, el pie algo hundido, guarnecidas todas las dichas piezas, con sus dos asas de oro, compuestas las asas de hojas y cartones; en el remate un pajaro sobre un ramo esmaltado de blanco, pintado de colores; dos rubíes pequeños por ojos, todo lo demas esmaltado de blanco, negro, rojo, azul y verde transparente; regulado en cuatro onzas poco mas o menos.

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 08-07-2020 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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