The Dauphin’s Treasure

Crystal jug with Narcissus and a mermaid on the handle
Octagonal coffer with engraving and cameos

One of the most spectacular collections in the Prado is the "Dauphin’s Treasure", which is so named as it belonged to the Grand Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XIV of France and father of Felipe V. The Treasure arrived in Spain on the Dauphin’s death when it was inherited by his son, the first Spanish Bourbon monarch.

The Treasure comprises more than 120 objects from the 16th- and 17th-centuries. Most are vessels for drinks or foodstuffs -mainly sweets or sugared fruit- and in general these objects would have had a decorative function.

The most striking pieces are those made from hardstones, primarily agates and jaspers as well as objects in jade, lapis lazuli and turquoise. Particularly notable is the Onyx Salt Cellar with a Gold Mermaid by a 16th-century French goldsmith, the Lapis Lazuli Cup with enamelled Dragons, and the Dragon Boat.

The objects made in rock crystal are carved with a wide variety of designs, from simple arabesques to biblical scenes. Outstanding pieces are the Twelve Caesars Dish, the Harvest Cup, the Hunting Cup, the Moses Cup and the Four Seasons Cup.

A series of caskets, cups decorated with applied cameos and loose cameos completes the collection. Among the latter are portraits of Richelieu and Henri IV.

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