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Rock crystal salver with lobed rim
Workshop of Metellino, Giovanni Battista
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Workshop of Metellino, Giovanni Battista


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Rock crystal salver with lobed rim

1670 - 1689. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz.
Room 079B

This piece has recovered its original appearance thanks to the recent identification of its foot and stem among odd fragments preserved at the Museo del Prado. It is therefore now shown whole for the first time since the 19th century. It consists of a shallow oval body with a diminished arch profile and ten lobes on the thick flange, on whose broadest part eight notches have been cut, possibly to hold double handles. In the centre is an oval moulding and the fitting for the baluster stem, which rests upon an unadorned oval foot. With its simple forms and the presence of certain small decorative features, like birds devouring insects, solitary insects and tendrils, all scattered around the surface in an attempt to disguise the impurities of the crystal, the piece can be ascribed to the circle of the late 17th century Milanese artist Giovanni Battista Metellino.

In the inventory that was made of the Dauphin’s collection at Versailles in 1689, the piece was given a very high value, since the crystal is of very fine quality. The large size of the tray also raised its price.

Both Louis XIV and the Dauphin owned a large number of objects from Metellino’s workshop. Besides the presence of insects and small birds on unadorned grounds, or decorated only with some vegetable motif, other characteristics of this workshop include the use of patterns that reach the very edges of the vessels, as though their development had been interrupted, and the use of undulating floral motifs, which sometimes raise the suspicion that a cracked vessel might have been reused. Also appearing on occasions are crudely carved human or animal figures, whose squat form gives them a faintly grotesque look. Schematic landscapes, vines, vine leaves and bunches of grapes are other frequent motifs on pieces of this type, which are complemented with inexpensive mounts, usually stamped or filigreed in silver gilt with a rope pattern running around the rim, with the addition of the occasional stone. These characteristics are shared by vessels O99, O106, O107 and O113 at the Prado. Louis XIV’s collection also contained a large number of vessels with these characteristics, some of which are preserved at the Louvre while others have vanished, although their appearance can be deduced from the descriptions in the inventories. Most of the pieces with these characteristics were acquired between 1684 and 1701, and the rest on odd occasions, as far as we can deduce from the records kept of the royal collections. Between 1685 and 1687, the king acquired numerous pieces directly from Milan, among them some cuvettes with handles that may be among the pieces preserved at the Louvre. There are items in Munich and Vienna that can be related to this group, and similar vessels are also preserved in Dresden. These were acquired by King Augustus II of Poland in Milan between 1724 and 1725 from the heirs of the decorative artist Giovanni Battista Metellino.

Technical data

Related artworks

Case for rock crystal salver with lobed rim
Leather, Wood, Metal, Silk, 1670 - 1711
Inventory number
Workshop of Metellino, Giovanni Battista
Rock crystal salver with lobed rim
1670 - 1689
Carved; Engraved; Esmerilado
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz
Height: 7 cm; Width: 29.4 cm; Base/bottom: 23 cm; Weight: 896 g
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 172.

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. 206-207.

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. 90.
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 [...] 90. Un genero de bandeja con su base y pie de cristal de roca abierta en ella unas avecillas, de las que algunas llevan ramos en el pico, la base labrada y el pie liso.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 90.
Un genero de vandeja con su vasa y pie de cristal de roca abierta en ella unas avecillas de las que algunas llevan ramos en el pico. La vasa labrada y el pie liso vale 4.080.

Listado de objetos robados del Real Gabinete de Historia Natural en 1813 y devueltos en 1816. Núm. 90.
Un genero de Bandeja con su basa y pie de cristal de roca, cubierta en ella unas avecillas de las que algunas llevan ramos en el pico; y la basa labrada; el pie liso vale ... 4.080 [Conforme]

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 59.
Una Copa ovalada, gravadas en ella diferentes Avecillas con pie de Christal de Roca sin guarnicion alguna. Tiene diez dedos de alto; y Caja como la antecedente [de tafilete encarnado].

Agates, cristaux, procelaines, bronzes, et autres curiositez qui sont dans le Cabinet de Monseigneur le Dauphin a Versailles. Núm. 8 C.
Numº. 8 / Prix contant Pistoles 180 / Un grand Vase ovale à dix godrons autour du bord gravé autour du corps d'oiseaux et mouches sur son pied à balustre ovale á pans. haut de six pouces huit lignes. long de dix pouces dix lignes sur huit pouces de large. / Valeur

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

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

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