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Glass goblet, engraved by Frans Greenwood

  • Detail of decoration on goblet

    Detail of decoration on goblet


Height: 24.200 cm

Bequeathed by Felix Slade (1868)

M&ME S 903

Room 46: Europe 1400-1800

    Glass goblet, engraved by Frans Greenwood

    Glass, probably Dutch, engraved in Dordrecht, around AD 1750

    Bacchic scenes and an inscription

    The colourless glass has an ornamental air bubble, or 'tear' in the stem. The bowl is almost entirely decorated with stipple engraving, a skilful technique that was fashionable in Holland in the eighteenth century, and probably inspired by mezzotint engraving. A design was produced by gently striking the surface of the glass with the diamond-point, and grouping the 'stipples', or dots, so that they form the highlights of the scene, standing out particularly well against the clear surface of the glass. All the glasses decorated in Holland were of lead glass, which was robust and clear, and well suited for decorative engraving.

    Bacchus is shown sitting on a barrel, surrounded with satyrs, fauns and other followers in a woody clearing. The inscription in Dutch on the stone slab beneath the tree is engraved in diamond-point, and relates to drunken revelry. Greenwood (1680-1761), who also signed the glass, devised the poem. Of English descent, he was a civil servant, and a gifted amateur in the art of engraving on glass. His earliest work used the diamond-point, but he is credited with the introduction of stipple engraving around 1722, a technique that was taken up by other Dutch engravers.

    The glass is inscribed:

    Het druiven bloet,
    Dat lieflyk zoet,
    Noemt Salomon een spotter.
    Die't gulzig drinkt,
    En brast'en klint,
    Wort vroeg benooit 'en zotter.
    F. Greenwood Ft.

    ('The juice of the grape, / that delightful sweet thing, / Solomon calls a mocker. / he who drinks greedily, / revels and toasts, / will quickly become befuddled and sillier. / F. Greenwood made this.')

    H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)


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    On display: Room 46: Europe 1400-1800

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