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Octagonal rock crystal tray with four engraved dolphins
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 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

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

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 108.
Canastillo ochavado...

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 21-02-2020 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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