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Jasper boat-shaped cup with a dragon
Delabarre, Pierre
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Delabarre, Pierre

Paris, 1625, 1654

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Jasper boat-shaped cup with a dragon

1625 - 1654. Enamel, Bloodstone, Polychrome jasper, Opal, Gold Not on display

Vessel comprising four hardstone pieces and five enamelled gold mounts. The oblong bowl has a boat-shaped profile with gadroons at the ends. A leaf-shaped piece serving as a lip is joined to the body with a mount of leaves and rows of beads enamelled in white and sky blue. The stem consists of a heliotrope ball and a balustroid piece linked to a flat oval foot, with an adornment of rounded leaves and black festoons on the opaque white enamel. At the stern of the boat, rendered with great realism, is a dragon with enamelling on the skin, head and claws as well as the curled tail, which descends to the base of the bowl. The eyes are of opal. It appears to be by the same hand as the dragon handles once possessed by vessel O2 at the Prado, attributed to the silversmith Pierre Delabarre.

This vessel is one of the few that have undergone no volumetric alterations, although it is broken on the sides. This damage dates from before 1689, since the Versailles inventory states that it was fragmented into several pieces. It was included even so among the pieces destined for the King of Spain, but was still badly deteriorated when the case we know today was made for it much later. The state of the work in the 19th century can be seen through the photography of Juan Laurent y Minier, "Vase jaspe oriental foncé, montures d’or et émaux, XVIe siècle, règne de Henri II", c. 1879, Museo del Prado, HF0835/12.

The mounting of enamelled gold was attributed by Alcouffe to Pierre Delabarre, whose work is restricted to the circle of the collection of Louis XIV and his son, the Grand Dauphin. His is a piece with similar mounting at the Louvre, the so-called "Minerva ewer", MR 445. Also related to this piece is the very similar vessel MR 120 at the Musée du Louvre, probably dating from about 1630. The dragons, which closely resemble each other, are covered in painted enamel imitating a scaly skin. Their eyes are opals, they have long legs, they lack arms, and from each open mouth, bristling with fierce teeth, there protrudes a flickering tongue ending in an arrow point. A similar dragon also appears on the handle of vessel OA 10409 at the Louvre, closely related to O2 at the Prado. It is possibly inspired by the one accompanying Balthazar Le Mersier’s design for a bouquet d’orfèvrerie engraved by Moncornet in 1626, a sample of the then fashionable cosses de pois (pea pods) style (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Inventory number
O000003
Author
Delabarre, Pierre
Title
Jasper boat-shaped cup with a dragon
Date
1625 - 1654 (Mounting)
Technique
Chased; Enamelled; Carved
Medium
Enamel; Bloodstone; Polychrome jasper; Opal; Gold
Dimension
Height: 15.5 cm.; Width: 16.9 cm.; Base/bottom: 7 cm.; Weight: 258 g.; Ancho base: 6 cm.; Bottom of the base: 5.3 cm.
Series
Tesoro del Delfín
Provenance
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 26-27.

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. 351-352.

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

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 21.
Vaso hechura de varco

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 02-05-2019 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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