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Rock crystal salver with pierced border and ten engraved stems
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Rock crystal salver with pierced border and ten engraved stems

Ca. 1615. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz, Silver gilt Room 079B

An oval salver or tray made up of seven pieces of rock crystal, identical in structure to O104. There are variations in the decorative composition, the work of the same Milanese workshop, recognisable by the flowers on the ends of the central spiral patterns. On this piece, however, the clearly Baroque decoration has, to borrow Arbeteta’s phrase, burst its banks. Moreover, the gentle curve of the tendrils is here transformed into straight lines that fit uneasily into the undulating rhythms of the tray and its crest, now fragmented and partly lost. Some rock crystal vessels at the Louvre, such as OA 35, have the same pattern of lines of lush foliage on their engraved decoration, though without rosettes. The openwork brim is an outstanding demonstration of true virtuosity in the carving of hyaline quartz. In spite of the poor quality of the crystal, it is superbly cut, even if the design is not altogether balanced. The work on the brim of this piece is possibly related, as Arbeteta suggested, to the design of the crest, a fashion which took hold in Spain in the 1610s and produced numerous pieces of jewellery with openwork patterns of confronted C shapes. There are many surviving examples in enamelled gold and bronze that come from the designs used in silversmiths’ examinations, especially the famous Llibres de Passanties of Barcelona, whose second volume contains several related drawings, like the one by Ioseph Jordan dated 1616. The plaques and medallions preserved in the collections of the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan, the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Museo Cerralbo and Museo Sorolla in Madrid, the Museo Marés in Barcelona, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and numerous ecclesiastical collections like that of the Basilica of El Pilar in Saragossa, as well as private collections, give some idea of the general acceptance of this fashion. In many cases, the cresting is emphasised with somewhat larger structures of openwork C shapes, curiously producing the same effect as the support frames of these trays. These crests belong to a general tendency that is interpreted in this case on another support, rock crystal, rather than silver. As prototypes of this pattern, we might mention the tray with cresting designed by Nicolaus Schmidt, made in Nuremberg in about 1592 and now in the Kunstkammer at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 1138, or the many trays, mirror frames, stoups and capezzali (small bedside pictures) that were made in copper gilt with embedded enamels and corals in the south of Italy, especially Trapani. These domestic pieces, nearly all dating from the first decades of the 17th century, were finished with very similar cresting, which grew larger in later production (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

Rock crystal salver with gadrooned decoration
Rock crystal / hyaline quartz, Silver gilt, Ca. 1600
Rock crystal salver with pierced rim and four
Rock crystal / hyaline quartz, Silver gilt, Ca. 1615
Case for crystal salvers
Leather, Wood, Metal, Cloth, 1650 - 1711
Inventory number
O000105
Author
Anonymous
Title
Rock crystal salver with pierced border and ten engraved stems
Date
Ca. 1615
Technique
Chased; Carved; Engraved; Esmerilado
Medium
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz; Silver gilt
Dimension
Height: 3.7 cm.; Width: 30.5 cm.; Base/bottom: 21 cm.; Weight: 567 g.; Ancho base: 14.2 cm.; Bottom of the base: 7 cm.
Series
Tesoro del Delfín
Provenance
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 167-169.

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. 334-336.

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

Other inventories +

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 99.
Dos vandejas iguales de christal de roca

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 05-06-2019 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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