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Octagonal rock crystal tray with four engraved dolphins
Metellino, Giovanni Battista (Workshop of)
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Metellino, Giovanni Battista (Workshop of)


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Octagonal rock crystal tray with four engraved dolphins

1600 - 1630. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz, Brass.
Room 079B

Glove tray composed of nine rock crystal plaques, one in the centre in the form of an elongated octagon, and eight trapezoidal ones around it on a framework of gilt brass, forming an octagonal flange with a crest of pointed double volutes and peaks. The very sober decoration, designed to enhance the transparency of the crystal, consists of bezels that emphasise the angles. Along these are some insects, a bird, and, distributed axially, four clusters of fruit hanging from ribbons, while two dolphins and two sea horses alternate on the central plaque. The vessel rests on an octagonal foot. It is feasible, as Arbeteta suggests, to attribute this piece to the circle of Metellino, characterised by his small motifs of insects, birds and tendrils on unadorned or simply decorated surfaces, but the quality of both this piece and O106 at the Prado is superior to that of the products we know to have come from this workshop. A similar piece is preserved at the Louvre, OA 62B.

Although the Spanish word used to describe this object, “azafate”, is an apt description of its appearance, since its original meaning is that of a small openwork basket, the term used in the Versailles inventory is gantière, or glove tray. It is therefore meant for leaving gloves, or being presented with them, a use it shares with O106 of the Dauphin’s Treasure. Trays of this kind were very frequently used in 17th century Spain, and their use may well have extended to France, perhaps through the constant presence of queens of Spanish origin such as Anne and Marie-Thérèse of Austria.

Technical data

Inventory number
Metellino, Giovanni Battista (Workshop of)
Octagonal rock crystal tray with four engraved dolphins
1600 - 1630
Gilded; Carved; Engraved; Esmerilado
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz; Brass
Height: 10.1 cm; Width: 34.1 cm; Base/bottom: 30.5 cm; Weight: 2031 g
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 171.

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. 208.

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.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 108.
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 [...] 108. Un canastillo ochavado de nueve piezas de cristal de roca, abiertos en el unos pajaros y flores, en la mayor cuatro delfines, ocho de dichas piezas arminelladas a ala funda guarnecida toda de unas molduras de latón y ocho pies, de cobre todo dorado, y regulado el oro, laton y cobre.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 108.
Un Canastillo ochavado, de nueve piezas de cristal de roca abiertos en el unos Pajaros, y flores, y en la mayor quatro Delfines: ocho de dhas piezas arminelladas a las fundas, guarnezido todo de unas molduras de Leton, y ocho pies de cobre todo dorado; y regulado el oro, Laton, y cobre, vale 1.320.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 108.
Un canastillo ochavado de nueve piezas de cristal de roca, abiertos en él unos pajaros y flores, y en la mayor quatro delfines; ocho de dhas piezas arminelladas á las fundas, guarnecido todo de unas molduras de laton y ocho pies de cobre todo dorado; y regulado el oro laton y cobre, vale ... 1.320 [Falta un pedazo; lo demás está bien]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 60.
Un Azafate, compuesto de nuebe piezas de Christal de Roca, engastado en color de oro, con Cinco Piezas de lo mismo. Tiene cinco dedos de alto, y Caja de Tafilete encarnado.

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 75 C.
Numº 75 / Prix contant Pistoles 20 / Une grand Gantiere á huit pans composée de neuf morceaux de cristal garnis de moulures de cuivre doré, portée sur huit pans de mesme, gravé au fond de quatre monstres marins. haute de trois pouces et demi, longue de douze pouces et demi, et large d'onze pouces et demi. / Valeur 30 M

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 30-04-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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