A rare Venetian enamel and parcel gilt decorated copper dish, circa 1500
Lot 301
A rare Venetian enamel and parcel gilt decorated copper dish, circa 1500
Sold for £121,250 (US$ 203,799) inc. premium
Lot Details
A rare Venetian enamel and parcel gilt decorated copper dish, circa 1500
The outer edge with a gilt decorated border of stylized rosettes and fronds, the well with an outer gadrooned border in white and an inner border in cobalt blue in an opposing direction of rotation, centred by a raised boss with similar gadrooning, the reverse in cobalt blue enamel with gilt highlights, 40cm diameter.


  • This dish conforms to a type first assigned to Venetian workshops by Molinier in 1861. Molinier noted the similarity between these dishes and the production of Murano glass, and later critics such as Lionello Venturi were able to demonstrate Venetian provenance of known dishes such as those in the Gualino Collection.
    The decorative schemes and motifs used in these dishes were very often derived from silver objects, and records show that in Venice enamellists and goldsmiths such as Giovanni Maria Leopardo and Galeazzo Mandello sometimes worked together on important commissions to produce works of the very highest quality. Some of these dishes feature central bosses decorated with either single or double family crests, possibly an indication that they were given as luxury wedding presents, and they were usually made with a matching ewer. The decoration to the present central boss is more unusual and compares closely to contemporary silver works. For example an important Spanish silver dish circa 1500, sold at Christie's in 2001, (London, 20 November 2001, lot 137) features a very similar raised central boss and has the Cuenca town mark, so can be firmly ascribed to this area. The present enamelled dish belongs to a type that are united in their exquisite workmanship and in the decorative elements that they employ, including various stylistic features derived from a number of different locations and traditions, from Spanish silver to Moorish and Islamic art. Enamelled dishes of this type are now exceptionally rare and are mostly in museum collections. A number were sold as part of the Collection Yves Saint Laurent at Christie's, Paris, 23rd February 2009. Other examples of this type of enamelled dish can be found in The Wallace Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Castello Sforzesco, (Milan) and in The Bargello (Florence).

    Related Literature: Vittorio Cini as Collector: the corpus of enamelware, Lettera da San Giorgio, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, number 25 September 2011-February 2012.
  1. Bruce Addison
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