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Jasper helmet-shaped ewer
Workshop of the Miseroni; Workshop of Vermeyen, Jan
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Workshop of the Miseroni
Vermeyen, Jan Workshop of

Jasper helmet-shaped ewer

Ca. 1600. Enamel, Jasper, Gold.
Room 079B

Vessel made up of two pieces of hardstone and three enamelled gold mounts. The larger piece forms the deep boat-shaped bowl, with the front raised, leaves on the rim, and a volute at the rear. A high S-shaped handle curves above the mouth and is connected to the body with a rectangular brooch-like appliqué. The bowl is joined with ring mounts to the short moulded stem, which ends in a flat oval foot with another ring mounted around the edge. The designs of the enamelling consist of jasmines, volutes and ribbons in black and white with touches of blue, all opaque. Following the description in the Spanish inventories, Angulo pointed out that the piece resembles a helmet when inverted, and was therefore formerly called a "morion". However, as Arbeteta emphasised, it repeats a model for a ewer that was very frequent in the Netherlands, where a similar design continues to be produced today.

As an example of the difficulties involved in identifying hardstones, this vessel was considered to be of oriental agate in the 1689 Versailles inventory; of oriental diaspore when described in 1776 by the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural; of yellowish agate with veins of oriental cornelian according to the Governing Committee of the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in 1839; of chalcedony with cornelian veins in the gemological study of 1989; and of jasper in the study carried out at the Restoration Workshop of the Museo Nacional del Prado in 2017.

Arbeteta noted that the design of the vessel is undoubtedly related to forms from classical Antiquity, filtered through the most imaginative designs of Enea Vico as reinterpreted by numerous followers such as Cornelis Floris, who published vessels with a certain similarity in their volumes in 1548. This piece is related to the curved and hull-shaped forms typical of the production of the Prague workshop of the Miseroni, whose director, Ottavio, preferred designs for vessels with volutes and large smooth surfaces, though with certain elements in relief that give the object an organic appearance. The short-stemmed foot is also a frequent model in the Miseroni workshop. Distelberger related this piece to a later vessel preserved at the Kunstkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 1640, which he considered to be by the hand of Ottavio. It is very similar in its strange shape, though prepared in this case for a stem or foot to be fitted. The mounting, Italian rather than Central European in taste, also seems to indicate the same provenance. The closest visual parallel to this piece is the common form of domestic ewer or jug that is still found in the households of Holland and Belgium, generally made of copper. The model is certainly an old one, and suggests a use of similar designs in the Netherlands that may be extendable to Central Europe.

The state of the work in the 19th century can be seen through the photography of Juan Laurent y Minier, Untitled, c. 1879, Museo del Prado, HF0835/54.

Technical data

Inventory number
Workshop of the Miseroni; Workshop of Vermeyen, Jan
Jasper helmet-shaped ewer
Ca. 1600
Chased; Enamelled; Carved
Enamel; Jasper; Gold
Height: 15.1 cm; Width: 16.3 cm; Base/bottom: 9.2 cm; Weight: 268 g; Ancho base: 5.7 cm; Bottom of the base: 5.1 cm
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 43.

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. 321.

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 [65].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 35.
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 [...] 35. Otro vaso en forma de morrion de piedra Diaspero Oriental, guarnecido el pie, base y asa de oro, esmaltado de negro, blanco y algo azul, regulado en una onza y dos ochabas de oro poco mas o menos.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 35.
Otro vaso en forma de morrion de piedra Diaspero oriental, guarnezido el pie, vaso, y asa de oro esmaltado de negro, blanco, y algo azul; regulado en una onza, y dos ochavas de oro, poco mas o menos, que con la piedra de dho vaso y su caja vale 6.359...12.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 35.
Otro vaso en forma de morrion de piedra Diaspero oriental, guarnecido el pie vasa y asa de oro, esmaltado de negro blanco, y algo azul, regulado en una onza y dos ochavas de oro poco mas ó menos, que junto con la piedra de dho vaso y su caja vale ... 6.359...12 [Conforme]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 117.
Un Vaso en forma de Aguamanil, con su pie todo de Piedra Agata con dos guarniciones en el pie, y asa de Color de oro Esmaltado, que tiene de alto por la parte del asa, ocho dedos, y medio, y Caja de Tafilete encarnado, (digo) negro.

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 50 A.
Numº. 50. / Prix contant Pistoles 50. / Un Vase en forme antique d'Agate d'Orient finement travaillé sur le devant duquel il y a un grand rond renversé, et sur le derriere deux manieres de consoles travaillées; Le tout porté sur un pied de mesme qualité, orné de deux cercles d'or emaillez et d'une anse d'or emaillé de noir et blanc, haut de quatre pouces et demi. Fellé / Valeur

Exhibitions +

Intercambio por las Colecciones Reales Españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras
09.07.2001 - 16.09.2001

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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