- Museum number
Goblet; glass; conical bowl on folded bell-foot; three enamelled male figures in masquerade: three chief 'Masks' from the Italian theatre known as Commedia dell'Arte, Magnifico [or Pantaloon?] duelling with the servant, Zanni, watched by the Dottore [Doctor], narrow grassy strip painted in bright yellow and green; above: gilt and enamelled scale pattern border; narrow gilt band where foot joins bowl.
- Production date
Diameter: 122 millimetres
Height: 193 millimetres
Weight: 300 grammes
- Curator's comments
- For two beakers of very similar form (but slightly larger) decorated with the arms of Mattheus Spennesberger and Ursula Müllerin and an unidentified coat-of arms respectively, see A-E Theuerkauff-Liederwald, 'Venezianisches Glas der Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg', Coburg, 1994, nos 167,168. Both these are tentatively attributed to Hall in Tyrol, c. 1570/80 and end of the 16th cent. respectively. Under cat. 167 is a long list of comparable pieces, two dated 1590 and 1591, which does not include the BM example. Cat. 166, a fragmentary glass (foot missing) is also related. It would seem that the perceived awkwardness of this glass lies in its not being Venetian rather than in anything else, though the decoration would seem all the more remarkable as so Venetian. Masquing figures do appear in miniatures in friendship albums in German-speaking lands at end of 16th Century and have currency elsewhere, or were drawn in Venice by foreign artists, eg Arent van Bolten. Tait however argues for a Venetian origin; "it would seem to be a curious subject for a German patron to commission from a local glasshouse to produce for general sale." but he was uncertain about its origins or that of the group of glasses with enamelled figures to which it belongs, which may [more recent research suggests] turn out to be S. German or Tyrolean.
The characters would appear to be identified in Julius Goltzius' print, dated in the plate 1581, showing Courtesan between Zanni and Magnifico. The glass is illustrated in M.Katritzky, The art of commedia: the study in the Commedia dell'arte with special reference to the visual records, Amsterdam 2006, plate 339. This is how she describes the figures.
The glass may be German as the commedia had a high reputation there with travelling troupes of Italian players in cities. See Dora Thornton, “Venice or façon de Venise? Two enamelled glasses in the British Museum”, Study Days on Venetian Glass, 2013-2014, eds. Rosa Barovier and Cristina Tonini, Venice, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2014, pp. 127-139. But see also Rosa Barovier and Cristina Tonini in the same volume, "Tools to Study Glass", pp.15-17 for the attribution of this glass to Venice.DFT
See lampworked figures from the Commedia in the KHM, KK 2705, 2711, 2714. DFT
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 19 Jul-25 Nov, London, BM Shakespeare: Staging the World
1987 6 Jun-12 Jul, York, Yorkshire Museum, A Taste of Venice
2018 -2019, 6 Sep - 20 Jan, London, BM, G35, I Object
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Commedia dell'Arte (?)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number