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Heliotrope drinking vessel with cover and gold handles
Workshop of the Miseroni
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Workshop of the Miseroni

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Heliotrope drinking vessel with cover and gold handles

Ca. 1610. Enamel, Bloodstone, Gold.
Room 079B

Vessel made up of three pieces of hardstone and five enamelled gold mounts. The body, with an oval mouth and irregular semicircular profile, undulates across six broad gadroons. So too does the cover, rather smaller and almost flat, surmounted by a turned motif terminating in an acorn. The mount joining the two pieces is formed by a broad band pierced with vegetable spirals and cruciform motifs enhanced by white enamel filling. A very narrow upper moulding has a pattern of perpendicular bands. The same pattern is used to decorate the two handles of the bowl, whose openwork scrolls are met by two bars running from the base of each handle and parallel to the bowl to end at the volutes. The very short stem is formed by a torus covered by a gold ring mount with a central frieze of flowers. The foot is flat.

The mounting on the foot was stolen in 1918. It repeated the adornment of the lip, with the same moulding of bands above, and another of ovals and bands on the outer rim. The orifices for incrustations that are visible on the vessel were already empty by the late 17th century, when the piece was described in the Versailles inventory of 1689. The state of the work in the 19th century can be seen through the photography of Juan Laurent y Minier, "Vase agate sardoine, montures d’or avec émaux et pierreries, XVIe siècle, règne de Henri II", c. 1879, Museo del Prado, HF0835/19.

Made in about 1610, the cup could belong to the sphere of aesthetic influence of the court at Prague, a reflection of the taste for white enamel filling as found on some pieces by Jan Vermeyen, since series of models for silversmiths with very similar designs were published at the court. Nevertheless, Arbeteta has pointed out that this version of the ornamental model is inspired by French designs, whose lines are less pure than their Northern European counterparts, with spirals and naturalist vegetable motifs starting to predominate after the 1610s. The pattern of the mounts is of the ornamental type known as “silhouettes”, a sort of combination of pointed leaf scrolls with numerous recesses, sometimes mingled with spirals, rows of beads and small flower motifs. They were designed to be executed on a black ground tooled out of the metal. Among the best known series, such as those of Corvinianus Saur (c. 1555/1560-1635) and the monogrammist PRK, the closest to the current design is perhaps that of Pierre Nolin (d. 1650), active in the first half of the 17th century, who published the reverse side of a cross with similar cartouches and spirals. Other French series in the same style, by then fashionable in Europe, are the one published in 1612 by Jean Morien (d. after 1649), and that created by Jacques Hurtu (act. 1584-1635) in 1619, the same year as Jean I Toutain published his own series in Châteaudun. Similar pieces are preserved at the Musée du Louvre and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. All these examples can be linked to the influence of Ottavio Miseroni and his production of the first decade of the 17th century in Prague.

Technical data

Inventory number
Workshop of the Miseroni
Heliotrope drinking vessel with cover and gold handles
Ca. 1610
Chased; Enamelled; Carved
Enamel; Bloodstone; Gold
Height: 12.5 cm; Width: 13 cm; Base/bottom: 12 cm; Weight: 288 g; Ancho base: 5.5 cm; Bottom of the base: 4 cm
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 46.

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. 181-182.

Arbeteta, Leticia, 'Tesoro del delfín. Una herencia de la familia real francesa' En:, Los tesoros ocultos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2017, pp. 248-276.

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

Azcue Brea, Leticia, Rarezas y lujo para deslumbrar: el Tesoro del Delfín., Ars & Renovatio.Centro de Estudios de Arte del Renacimiento, 7, 2019, pp. 504-519.

Tortajada, Sonia, Sobre la identificacion de materiales pétreos el Tesoro del Delfín, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXVII, 2019-2021, pp. 53-68 [64].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 44.
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 [...] 44. Otro vaso seisavado con sus medias cañas y filetes pies y tapa de piedra Adronico guarnecido de oro con sus asas de lo mismo, tallado y esmaltado de blanco, regulado en dos onzas y cuatro ochavas de oro poco mas o menos.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 44.
Otro vaso seisabado, con sus medias cañas, y filetes, pies y tapa de piedra Adronico, guarnezido de oro, con sus asas de lo mismo tallado, y esmaltado de blanco; regulado en dos onzas y quatro ochavas de oro poco mas o menos que junto con la piedra de dho vaso vale 6.718...24.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 44.
Otro vaso seisabado con sus medias cañas y filetes, pies y tapa de piedra Diaspero, digo Adronico guarnecido de oro con sus asas de lo mismo, tallado y esmaltado de blanco, regulado en dos onzas y quatro ochavas de oro poco mas ó menos, que junto con la piedra de dho vaso vale ... 6.718...24 [Conforme]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 46.
Una Copa abarquillada, y acanalada con su pie, y Tapa de Piedra Agata, del color de la antecte. [verde] con tres guarniciones dos assas, y remates de color de oro esmaltado, que tiene su todo siete dedos de alto; y Caja de Tafilete negro.

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 53 A.
Numº. 53 / Prix contant Pistoles 60. / Un Vase de Jaspe verd couvert en forme ovale á six godrons avec ses deux anses en consoles fendües d'or emaillé de blanc; sur son pied á balustre de mesme qualité, garni d'un cercle d'or aussi emaillé de blanc comme autour du couvercle terminé par une pomme d'or emaillé de blanc. Haut de quatre pouces et demi, long de cinq pouces et large de trois pouces et demi. / Valeur

Inscriptions +

Scrap of paper. On underside

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 30-04-2022 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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