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Rock crystal boat with a dragon, two fantastical creatures and wheels
Workshop of the Miseroni (?)
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Rock crystal boat with a dragon, two fantastical creatures and wheels

Ca. 1610. Copper alloy, Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz, Enamel, Gold, Silver gilt. Room 079B

A boat or “gondola” made up of various crystal pieces joined with mounts. The body is decorated with foliate spirals, ribbons and clusters of fruit, with a reserve on the prow where a candeliere with a termination is engraved. On the stern are two membranous wings from which the decoration emerges, with details like dolphins and two mermaids on the lower part. Rising above this body is the housing of the afterdeck, with four crystal plaques decorated with eagles among branches. A ringed head with the open mouth of a dragon or a feline animal emerges from the rear. The silver gilt mount has overlays of enamelled gold in white, red and black, with spirals and rosettes. Attached transversally to the body are two lateral handles in the form of bichas, fantastical half-woman, half-animal creatures. Below, a metal structure supports three crystal wheels.

The Milanese workshops produced other vessels mounted on wheels with a variety of functions on the banquet table, such as the one in the form of a long-tailed winged lion that is preserved at the Kunstkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 2331. There is another at the Musée du Louvre, R148, actually made up of two vessels resting on four wheels, perhaps a work of the Miseroni or their circle. Owing to the style of the mounting, Arbeteta thought this vessel at the Prado must have been made in about 1610, or in the first quarter of the 17th century, at a good workshop, since the execution is of a quality that is not matched by the rock crystal, although the artists have not resorted in this case to engraving insects as a means of concealing faults and impurities in the material. On the afterdeck, the scenes carved in the crystal are taken from an ornamental repertory by Paul Birckenholtz, active from 1561 to 1633, entitled Varii generis opera aurifabris necessaria.

The decoration is rich and well executed, similar to that of the Viennese amphorae at the Kunstkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 2392 and 2397, which also have ribbons with festoons and hanging fruits, motifs which the Milanese workshop mixes with the most vigorous scroll designs. Another technique observed is that of emphasising the foliage by having the lines of seeds adhere to their profile, as can be seen in the pair of vessels at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 2366 and 2364, with the same mounts, which can be related to certain vessels at the Musée du Louvre attributed to 16th century Milanese workshops. The bichas forming the handles have a design like that of the vases, O90 and O91, and the porringer, O87, at the Museo del Prado, as well as those of the ewer at the Louvre, MR 287, which is similar to the Spanish lipped pitchers. Missing parts: On the upper part, nine empty settings indicate that it once had stones, whose loss is already recorded in the 1689 Versailles inventory. Some of the spokes of the wheels are also missing.

Original state: Juan Laurent y Minier, “Drageoir en forme de navire, en cristal de roche taillé et gravé, montures d’argent et or avec émaux, XVIe siècle, règne de Henri III”, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/53 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

Gondola or galley with three winged serpents
Rock crystal / hyaline quartz, Enamel, Gold, 1570 - 1600
Barco de cristal con un dragón, dos bichas y ruedas
Albumen on photographic paper, Ca. 1863
Barco de cristal con un dragón, dos bichas y ruedas
Albumen on photographic paper, Ca. 1879
Barco de cristal con un dragón, dos bichas y ruedas
Gelatin / Collodion on photographic paper, Ca. 1879
Inventory number
Workshop of the Miseroni (?)
Rock crystal boat with a dragon, two fantastical creatures and wheels
Ca. 1610
Chased; Enamelled; Carved; Engraved
Copper alloy; Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz; Enamel; Gold; Silver gilt
Height: 20.5 cm.; Width: 36.5 cm.; Base/bottom: 23 cm.; Weight: 2360 g.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 182-183.

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. 217,218.

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. 18.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 65.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 136.
Vaso grande, hechura de varco

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 136.
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 [...] 136. Otro vaso hechura de barco con su popa todo de cristal de roca, con tres ruedas de lo mismo: en la popa tiene una cabeza de Dragon, a los lados dos vichas que sirven de Vadí, por pie las tres ruedas en que forma su carro, a cuyas ruedas le falta un rayo a cada una de las dos; una de ellas está quebrada, el juego del carro es de cobre dorado, las ruedas de plata, y en ellas cuatro listas de oro redondas esmaltadas, en el eje de la delantera y en la rueda de un lado tres rosillas esmaltadas de negro, rojo y blanco; en una de dhas ruedas le falta el oro, en la popa cuatro recuadros, y [...]

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 30-06-2020 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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