An early Venetian enamelled and gilt armorial pilgrim flask, circa 1492
Lot 3
An early Venetian enamelled and gilt armorial pilgrim flask, circa 1492
Sold for £55,250 (US$ 92,865) inc. premium
Lot Details
An early Venetian enamelled and gilt armorial pilgrim flask, circa 1492
The flattened ovoid form with tall slender neck, decorated on both sides with the arms of Bentivoglio within a circular frame of gilt simulated lappets embellished with blue and red dots and four outer petal motifs, the sides decorated with a large lozenge imbricated with scrolls and enamelled dots between two opposing pairs of loop handles, the neck with two gilt imbricated bands flanked by white dot borders, set on a spreading foot with folded rim painted with a simulated blue and white ribbon band, 35.5cm high (gilding worn)


  • Provenance:
    Lord Astor of Hever, sold at Sotheby's, 18 July 1983, lot 139

    This flask may have been made to celebrate the marriage in 1492 of Alessandro Bentivoglio (1476-1532), the third son of the Lord of Bologna, and Ippolita Sforza (1481-1520), daughter of Carlo Sforza, Count of Magenta.

    Two similar pilgrim flasks with the arms of Bentivoglio and Sforza can be found in the Museo Civico Mediaeval, Bologna (see A. Gasparetto, Il Vetro di Murano (1958), p.83 and fig.21 and G.Mariacher, Glass from Antiquity to the Renaissance, p.119, no.54). Another, originally in the Biemann Collection, Zurich, formerly from the Rothschild Collection in Paris, is illustrated in the catalogue Mille Anni Di Arte Del Vetro A Venezia (1982), p.87, pl.81.

    Flasks of the same form bearing the simulated ribbon or cable band to the foot and gilt and enamel decoration of similar inspiration to the armorial examples cited above are in the Musée du Louvre and in the J.Paul Getty Museum (see C.Hess and T.Husband, European Glass in the J. Paul Getty Museum (1997), pp.87-88). A further example was sold at Bailly-Pommery & Voutier, Paris, 10 December 2004, lot 90 and another is in the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (see R.J.Charleston and Michael Archer, Glass and Enamels (1977), pp.91-3, no.17). These are decorated with a large roundel on each side formed of concentric zones of imbricated design etched in gold leaf and enlivened with blue, red, green and white enamel dots. They also bear lozenge-shaped panels of gold leaf to the narrow sides with similar enamelling.
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