Glass tankard with silver-gilt mounts

From London, England, AD 1548-49

'à façon de Venise' ('made in the manner of Venice')

By the second quarter of the sixteenth century, Venetian glassmakers had developed an entirely new type of decoration, composed of opaque-white lattimo ('milky') canes which are actually embedded in the glass itself. In the simplest use of the technique (a fili), white canes are incorporated into the colourless body of the glass, forming a series of parallel lines. In a more complex decorative scheme, the plain white canes (a fili) alternate with canes of twisted pattern (a retorti). This tankard features blue and white vetro a retorti

The decorative glass made in Venice and in northern Europe in the ‘façon de Venise', was highly valued in England from the mid-sixteenth century; a number are listed in royal inventories, mounted in silver gilt. Although the technique of this tankard is of Venetian glass, the form is derived from contemporary northern European pottery, particularly of the type known as 'Malling' tankards. Documents record that in 1549 there were eight glassmakers from Murano (Venice) working under contract in London: it seems likely that this is one of their products.

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More information


A. Dawson, 'Recent acquisitions of Post-medieval ceramics and glass', Burlington Magazine-6 (May 1988)

L. Syson and D.F. Thornton, Objects of virtue: art in Rena (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)


Height: 12.800 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1987,7-2,2


Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund


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