- Museum number
Ball, glass, spherical; millefiori; hole through centre; clear glass background with polychrome canes, predominantly blue, red and green with traces of gilding; one side slightly decomposed.
- Production date
- 16th century
Diameter: 4.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- There are four other millefiori balls in the collection.
Others can be found in Veste Coburg and elsewhere. For one of these see E. Landolt and F. Ackermann, 'Die Objeckte im Historischen Museum Basel', Basel, 1991, no. 61. These authors quote Marcantonio Sabellico, 'De situ Venetae urbis', 1495, as saying that these balls were a speciality of Venetian glassworking; they also note others in documents including an inventory of 1578.
This ball is described by Payne Knight in his Manuscript (under Bronzes), where he records that it was given to him by Sir Joseph Banks and describes it as 'a specimen of those works in this material, for which the ancient Phoenicians of Sidon were once so famous, and which they brought here to exchange with the barbarian natives for the gold of Ireland and the tin of Cornwall' (quoted Clarke and Penny 1982), but a note by J.B. S. Morritt added to Knight's catalogue reads 'I have since bought beads exactly similar, also perforated like this at Florence. They were of old Venetian manufacture, & adorned old Italian cabinets as knobs. They are no longer made now & I was told that the secret by which the enamel was embedded in the glass without being fused was now lost'. Apsley Pellatt in 'Curiosities of Glass Making', London, 1849 records them as having been made in Venice in 1500. (Clarke and Penny 1982).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Ploughed up. Labelled: 'Identified as 'K' for the Bequest of Payne Knight (22nd Sept 77) whose collection was registered 1824 (see f.81 Beads 1 in catalogue)'
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number