Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on September 1, 2021

Venetian Covered Bowl with Gilded Masks And Prunts

of the Henk-Martin Goldschmidt collection

Origin: Venice, Italy Date: late 17th century

Description: Two handled bowl with cover and pushed-in bottom with pontil mark. The bowl has four small prunes and two masks. The handles have 16 small and 1 large lip (pressed together with the flat-nose pliers to form semicircular discs) each. The cover has four small prunes and two masks. The masks (mascarons) and three of the prunes carry traces of gold. A round knob enables the handling of the cover. The cover fits the bowl well but not tight. The masks depict neither lions nor human heads. No V-shaped frown on forehead is seen; they resemble more the image of masks.

Condition: intact, most of the gilding is missing

Dimensions:   Height bowl 7,0 cm, diameter mouth 8,1 cm, diameter foot 6,0 cm, diameter corpus 12,0 cm including the handles, weight 70 gram, capacity 251 ml, lightness ratio 3.6 (volume in ml divided by weight in gram as a measure of the lightness of the glass). Height cover 5,7 cm, diameter mouth 6,5 cm, diameter corpus 8,5 cm, weight 55 gram.

Origin: Venice, although different sources argue between various origin sites. For instance CMOG states ‘possibly Italy, possibly Belgium’, while Korf de Gidts states ‘made either in Antwerp or in Soop’s glasshouse in Amsterdam’ and Laméris on multiple locations ‘Venice’. On top of that the same sources all mention various periods: Corning “about 1500 – 1599”, Korf de Gidts “early 17th century” while Laméris states “second half 17th century” and later, after consultation of the castle Rosenborg images, proposes “early 18th century”.  

From my point of view I support the version that this was made in Venice in the late 17th century. The delicacy of both product and design do point towards Venice as the origin. And the lightness ratio points also strongly suggest a Venetian origin. The glass is extremely clear and thin and, of course the fact that this type was bought by King Frederik IV of Denmark himself on Murano, Venice in 1709, support the timeframe mentioned as well.

Additional information: The application of gold was quiet common. However the process needed special attention and was risk full: the gold was temporarily glued to the cold surface of the glass. The temperature was raised and a fusion between gold and glass was accomplished. With this object no second glass layer was applied, as is sometimes the case.

    On the left a mask from the bowl and on the right from the cover, with traces of gold.

Parallels: due to the presence of many comparable objects, one can conclude that this is a relatively standard design. For instance almost identical objects: Corning Museum of Glass (accession number 65.3.105), Korf de Gidts in Glass historical Magazine ‘De Oude Flesch, 137 (2014), 4-15, Laméris, Collection Engels-de Lange, number 47 (2015), 78-79. In the first of the four books Bichierografia from Maggi, the first drawing shows a great similarity. But also in Rosenborg castle, Boesen (numbers 6,7,9,12,13) as well as Theuerkauff-Liederwald (number 85) describe and show objects with similar characteristics regarding masks, gilded raspberry prunts, rims, ears, size, foot ring, ball knop, build-up and suchlike. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam has a similar beaker from Antwerp dated 1550 – 1600.  But also Museo Civico Christiano, Brescia and Museo Civico di Torino (number 56) house covered bowls with resembling features.

Provenance: acquired May 2018 from Laméris, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Discussion: a definite need for none-invasive physical chemical analysis including standardization to facilitate proper origin and period determination. The paper of Michel Hulst and Jerzy Kunicki-Goldfinger is an excellent start of such approach.


–  Summary of Peter Korf de Gidts lecture at the Minneapolis Institute of Art entitled ‘Venetian Glass and the development of Façon de Venice Glass in Amsterdam and Northern Europe’, Johan Soetens, Glass historical Magazine ‘De Oude Flesch, 137 (2014), 4-15

–  Gold Leaf, Paint and Glass, Frances Federer, foreword by William Gudenrath, Thomas Publications, London, 2012,

–  Gudmund Boesen, Venetian glass at Rosenborg castle, Kopenhagen 1960

–  Frides en Kitty Laméris, Venetiaans en Façon de Venise glas, 1500-1700, Amsterdam, number 41, 1991, page 71

–  Anna en Kitty Laméris, Op ien kusjen aen weerszijen, De collectie Engels-de Lange, Frides Laméris Kunst en Antiek, Amsterdam 2015

–  Anna-Elisabeth Theuerkauff-Liederwald, Venezianisches Glas der Veste Coburg, Die Sammlung Herzog Alfreds von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (1844-1900), Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg Luca Verlag Lingen 1994

–  Venetianske Glas Rosenborg, Mogens Bencard, Jorgen Hein, Rosenborg, number 30 and 135, 1984, pages 6, 61, 83, 88

–  Glasses with masks and lion head stems from Amsterdam’s soil, Michel Hulst, Magazin ‘Vormen uit vuur’, 221 (2013) 20-39

–  The Golden age of Amsterdam Glass. A chemical and typological approach to recognize Amsterdam 17th century glass production, Michel Hulst, Jerzy J Kunicki-Goldfinger in AIHV Annales 20th congress Fribourg, September 2015, pages 547-553

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