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Lapis lazuli goblet with enamelled dragons and boy
Taller italiano; Delabarre, Pierre
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Taller italiano
Delabarre, Pierre
Paris, 1625, 1654

Lapis lazuli goblet with enamelled dragons and boy

XVI century. Enamel, Lapis lazuli, Opal, Gold. Room 079B

Goblet comprising three pieces of lapis lazuli and enamelled gold chasing. The oval body has a wide concave moulding in the upper border while the lower part is decorated with a bas-relief of egg-and-dart motifs. The thick knot forming the stem rests on an oval base, with incised ovolos. It is surrounded by an adornment of enamelled gold in various colours. At the front, a white enamelled boy seems to hold the goblet aloft, between two open-jawed half-dragons with opal eyes, mobile red tongues and short, feathered wings. The knot is covered with bunches of fruit, ribbons and garlands, the whole apparently supported by two pairs of dolphins between scallop shells. Features now missing include the two large dragons that once formed the handles of the goblet, one of the boys and the foot with fretted ovolos and small mascarons, all in enamelled gold, which were stolen in 1918.

The lapis lazuli of the goblet´s body and base is of high quality, and is possibly Afghan in origin; the pyrite veins stand out like golden clouds against the intense blue. The veining is similar to the elaborate nef, MR 262, in the Louvre, which may have been made at same workshop. With regard to the carving, Arbeteta links the profile and the decoration with a set of high-based goblets with high bases -some single solid pieces- also featuring egg-and-dart motifs and a bell-shaped profile. These pieces resemble the glass goblets and cups made in the first half of the 16th century, held by the Museo degli Argenti in Florence, Inventario Gemme 1921, No. 531 and No. 724. All this points to Milan, or at least to Milanese craftsmen such as Gasparo Miseroni, who specialised in carving lapis lazuli. The Louvre has a similar goblet with a low base, MR 264, carved in lapis lazuli of poorer quality. The decoration is similar, with double egg-and-dart motifs in the skirt and concave ovolos in the moulding of the rim. It comes from the old collection of Louis XIV and it is similar in size, albeit somewhat larger.

In terms of the significant adornment decorating the goblet, the stolen dragons -which can be seen in the photographs taken by Clifford and Laurent- enable an attribution to be made: they are similar to the dragons on the Prado´s O3 goblet and the Louvre´s two vases, MR 120 and MR 130, while the half-bodies of the stem resemble those of the "Minerva ewer", MR 445, also in the Louvre; all of these came from the collections of Louis XIV and his son, the Grand Dauphin. Its lavish adornments were attributed to a hypothetical "master of dragons", whose signature on the base of the MR 445 vase in the Louvre was identified by Alcouffe as that of Pierre Delabarre, a silversmith active in around 1630, who must have died before 1713. According to Arbeteta, his distinctive style echoes the aesthetics of the Fontainebleau School, popular in the latter half of the 16th century.

The state of the work in the 19th century can be seen through the photography of Juan Laurent Minier, "Coupe ovale, lapis oriental, montures d’or émaillé et mat avec reliefs et sculptures, XVIe siècle, règne de Henri III", circa 1879, Museo del Prado, HF0835/1 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

Case for the lapis lazuli goblet with dragons and children
Leather, Wood, Metal, Velvet, XVII century
Taza de lapislázuli con dragones y niño
Albumen on photographic paper, Ca. 1863
Lapis lazuli goblet with enamelled dragons and boy
Albumen on photographic paper, Ca. 1879
Inventory number
Taller italiano; Delabarre, Pierre
Lapis lazuli goblet with enamelled dragons and boy
XVI century (Goblet); 1625 - 1645 (Adornment)
Chased; Enamelled; Carved
Enamel; Lapis lazuli; Opal; Gold
Height: 16.8 cm.; Width: 28.5 cm.; Base/bottom: 21.5 cm.; Weight: 3533 g.; Ancho base: 13.2 cm.; Bottom of the base: 9.7 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Ciervo, Joaquín, El Tesoro del Delfín. Alta orfebrería venida a España en 1734, Anuari de les Arts Decoratives, XLII, 1923, pp. 153, 176.

Verlet, Pierre, Les gemmes du Dauphin, Art de France. Revue annuelle de l'art ancien et moderne, 1963, pp. 149, 152, il. 27.

Steingräber, Erich, Schatzkammern Europas, Munich, 1968, pp. 37, il. 9.

Alcouffe, Daniel, Le ''Maître aux dragons'': les créations de l'orfèvre parisien Pierre Delabarre, Revue de l'Art, 1988, pp. 52-53.

Departamento Didáctico-Pedagógico, Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989, pp. 1-8.

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 24-25.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, Nuevas noticias sobre las 'Alhajas del Delfín' (II), Boletín del Museo del Prado, 13, 1992, pp. 24.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, El Real Sitio de La Granja de San Ildefonso: retrato y escena del rey, Patrimonio Nacional; El Viso, Madrid, 2000, pp. 50-52.

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. 212-213, nº 62.

Alcouffe, Daniel, Les Gemmes de la Couronne, Reunion des Musees Nationaux, París, 2001.

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, 'Asia en las colecciones reales españolas'. En:, Oriente en Palacio. Tesoros Asiaticos en las Colecciones Reales Españolas, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2003, pp. 195, 198.

Sánchez-Ramon, Mar, Oriente en Palacio: Tesoros Asiaticos en las Colecciones Rey, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2003, pp. 198.

Arbeteta, Letizia, 'P. Delabarre, Botteghe granducali o manifattura milanese. Coppa con delfini, draghi e bambino' En:, Lapislazzuli. Magia del blu., Sillabe, Livorno, 2015, pp. 320 n.37.

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. 4.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 62.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 4.
Un vaso grande aobado hechura de taza, con su vasa, y pie de Lapislazuli, agovonado dho vaso, el pie en ondo con guarnicion de oro, la vasa con dos sierpes o Dragones con alas de las que falta una: dos muchachos quatro Delphines, quatro conchas y quatro festones: por asas tiene dos Dragones tambien con alas, una de stas falta, y otra está suelta; todo de oro esmaltado y pintado de colores: los ojos de los Dragones son Girasoles, y no pudiendose tocar lo mas de ello, ni pesar se regulo por quinze onzas poco mas o menos, y vale con la piedra del expresado vaso y su caxa 22.312 ... 10.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 4.
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 [...] 4. Un vaso grande aovado hechura de taza con su base y pie de Lapiz-azuli, gallonado dicho vaso, el pie en onda con guarnicion de oro, la base con dos sierpes o dragones con alas, cuatro delfines, cuatro Conchas y cuatro festones. Por asas tiene dos Dragones tambien con alas, una de estas falta y otra está suelta; todo de oro esmaltado y pintado de colores. Los ojos de los Dragones son girasoles, y no pudiendose tocar lo mas de ello, ni pesar, se reguló por quince onzas poco más o menos.

Exhibitions +

Lapislazuli. Magical Blue
09.06.2015 - 11.10.2015

Oriente en Palacio. Tesoros asiáticos en las colecciones reales
01.03.2003 - 30.06.2003

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

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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