A double-overlay two-colour glass 'blind man's buff' snuff bottle
1780-1820 6.4cm high.
Treasury 5, no. 1003
A two-colour glass overlay 'figures in garden' snuff bottle
Barely translucent dark brown (appearing as black in normal light), translucent turquoise-blue, and semi-transparent milky white glass; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; carved as a double overlay with a continuous rocky landscape scene with a pine tree, a blossoming prunus tree, and bamboo, one main side with an open pavilion beneath the balcony of a country house, with a young servant stirring a pot on a rocky ledge while another holds a covered jar towards him and a man brings another covered jar from beyond the open pavilion, the other main side with three children playing blindman's buff, one climbing a rocky promontory to avoid being caught, the neck with a band of pendant formalized plantain leaves 1780-1820 Height: 6.4 cm Mouth/lip: 0.69/1.62 cm Stopper: tourmaline; gilt-bronze collar chased with a formalized floral
Condition: Two small, shallow flake-chips to inner lip and some insignificant nibbling; abrasion on footrim; a minor chip, barely visible, on the rocks to the left of the servant with covered jar; surface overall with a pattern of wear from use. General relative condition: remarkably good
Provenance: Janos Szekeres Sotheby's, New York, 5 June 1987, lot 51 Robert Kleiner (1992)
Exhibited: New Orleans Museum of Art, October 1980 Creditanstalt, Vienna, May-June 1993 Hong Kong Museum of Art, March-June 1994 National Museum, Singapore, November 1994-February 1995
Although decorative in intent here, the pines here are well composed and well balanced. While simple, they work well in their illustrative role, with trunks curving this way and that, sufficient dividing branches to indicate trees, and bark suggested by surface detail. The rocks are stylized, exaggerated, and textured with repetitive patterns, including a series of parallel incisions echoing those on courtly carvings of the Official School (see Treasury 2, no. 308, for instance). This comparison emphasizes the similarities between many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century hardstone carvings, made for or at the court, and their glass equivalents, and is hardly surprising, since they were often carved in the same lapidary workshops, by the same hands. This colour combination is rare for the group and remarkably effective as, indeed, are those of practically all the double overlays of this group. Only one other of this imposing colour combination is recorded (Stevens 1976, no. 230).