An important early latticinio jug, probably English, circa 1675

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Lot 21*
An important early latticinio jug, probably English, circa 1675

Sold for £ 22,500 (US$ 28,212) inc. premium
An important early latticinio jug, probably English, circa 1675
The helmet-shaped bowl decorated in vetro a fili and a retorti with opaque-white twists and ribbons, with an applied folded-over rim in clear glass, a small pinched pouring lip and an applied spirally ribbed s-scroll handle also in clear glass, set on a clear quatrefoil knop between collars and a spreading foot with a folded rim, 13.8cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private Collection, France, by repute from a family of English extraction
    With Christopher Sheppard, London
    Private Collection, USA

    Illustrated by Dwight Lanmon, The Golden Age of English Glass (2011), pp. 60-61, cat. 1.

    This jug is closely related in form to the example in the Cecil Higgins Museum, Bedford, which bears an applied raven's head seal at the base of the handle. The Cecil Higgins jug, reproduced here (fig.1) is unquestionably English in origin and was produced by George Ravenscroft circa 1676-77. The similarity in the appearance of this and the present jug is discussed by Lanmon (2011), p. 61, fig. 31 and by Christopher Sheppard and John Smith, Glass from the Restoration to the Regency (1990), p. 11. The marked Ravenscroft jug is not a latticinio example and is instead produced entirely from clear glass with ribbing. The very close similarities in form suggest that the present lot is also of English manufacture. The spirally ribbed handle is very unusual and appears to be a particularly English feature found only on jugs of this type. Another clear glass jug, very similar to the Cecil Higgins Museum example but slightly taller, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, accession no. C.528-1936, and is illustrated by W. B. Honey, Glass (1946), pl. 51b.

    The jug in the present lot was analysed by portable X-ray fluorescence under the auspices of the Corning Museum of Glass and the results published by Lanmon (2011), pp. 316-322. This established that it is of a potash-soda-silica composition containing an addition of approximately 5% lead oxide. Glass of this type was produced by adding to the silica component heavily refined (lixivated) soda-rich plant ash, together with a small quantity of lead. Purification of the plant ash by lixivation ensured that salts and impurities such as iron, which would have had a detrimental effect on the quality of the glass (for example, producing a green tint), were removed. However, components which stabilise the glass, such as lime, were also removed in this process and this rendered the glass susceptible to crizzling. Lead was presumably added in an attempt to prevent crizzling, but without an additional stabiliser such as lime, this would have been unsuccessful. The opaque-white latticinio threads are opacified by calcium antimonate, produced through the addition of antimony in oxygen-rich furnace conditions.

    The results of Corning museum's analysis of this jug have been corroborated by a recent XRF examination carried out for Bonhams by Cranfield University's LARA. Whilst the composition of the glass used by Ravenscroft remains unclear, the unusual composition of this jug suggests that it may be an early experimental piece.
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An important early latticinio jug, probably English, circa 1675
An important early latticinio jug, probably English, circa 1675
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