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Small rock crystal ewer with children and snake-shaped handle
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Small rock crystal ewer with children and snake-shaped handle

1550 - 1575. Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz, Enamel, Gold, Silver gilt, Ruby. Room 079B

The pair of O76, this vessel is composed of three pieces of rock crystal and two partly enamelled silver gilt mounts, both similar to O74. The globular body is made up of two pieces assembled with a moulding. The upper part is smooth while the lower one, with a bas-relief decoration of helicoidal gadroons and darts, is joined to the round foot. The piece is completed by two upper mounts forming a neck and lid in enamelled silver, with an arabesque embedded in opaque blue enamel. The finial is a small spray of flowers in enamelled gold with a ruby, a stone which also appears in the overlaid cartouches. The lip is formed by a seated boy sculpted in the round who is holding up a conch, while the handle emerges from another seated boy holding two coiled serpents. The piece is an example of the aesthetics of the so-called “Fontainebleau School”.

This piece belongs to a group of vessels whose carving and mounts are thought by Alcouffe to be French. All datable to the third quarter of the 16th century, they follow the models for vessels designed by the Parmesan Enea Vico and published in 1543. Found in different European collections, they share a number of characteristics. They are pieces carved in rock crystal with very similar mounts. The crystal sides of the vessels are generally thick, with helicoidal gadroons and dart patterns. The mounts, both gold and silver, are adorned with figures of children sculpted in the round, coiled serpents, conches, eagles and dolphins. Partially decorated with enamels, these elements are common to them all. The arabesques on the mount are inspired, like the mount on the foot of vessel O74, by models published by Sylvius in 1554, which can be related to the variations of Etienne Delaune, published in about 1575.

The Museo del Prado has the photograph by Juan Laurent y Minier, Vase, cristal de roche taillé et gravé, montures d’or et émail, XVIe siècle, règne de Henri III, c. 1879. Museo del Prado, HF0835/47 (L. Arbeteta, in press).

Technical data

Related artworks

Small rock crystal ewer with a boy, without a handle
Rock crystal / hyaline quartz, Enamel, Gold, Silver gilt, 1550 - 1575
Inventory number
Small rock crystal ewer with children and snake-shaped handle
1550 - 1575
Chased; Enamelled; Repoussé; Carved; Mounted / set
Rock crystal / Hyaline quartz; Enamel; Gold; Silver gilt; Ruby
Height: 14 cm.; Width: 9 cm.; Base/bottom: 7.2 cm.; Weight: 488 g.; Diameter of the base: 4.7 cm.
Tesoro del Delfín
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Catálogo de las Alhajas del Delfín, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1989 (ed.rev), pp. 121.

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. 147,148.

Azcue Brea,L. Simal López,M. Cardito,Y., 'La participación de piezas del Tesoro del Delfín del Museo del Pradoen la Exposición Histórico-Natural y Etnográfica' En:, Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2017, pp. 295-308

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. 60.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, Tesoro del Delfín, 1746. Núm. 24.

Inv. Gabinete Historia Natural, 1776. Núm. 116.
Dos vasos pequeños a modo de vinageras ...

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 116.
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 [...] 116. Dos vasos pequeños a modo de vinagreras de cristal de roca, labrados a relieve, unos gallones y filetes la tapa y pie de plata y oro esmaltado de azul y verde, con dos muchachos en las asas dos culebras doradas en cada una con sobrepuestos de oro esmaltado de verde, azul y rojo, su remate en la tapa y en las cuatro piezas con cuatro rubies.

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 079B (On Display)

Update date: 27-06-2020 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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