Notable Acquisition: Filigrana a retortoli Wineglass

Filigrana a retortoli Wineglass

Filigrana a retortoli Wineglass, Venice, about 1700, purchased in part with funds from Kenneth R. Treis, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation. 2014.3.24.

This wineglass is of the same type as the glasses in Rosenborg Castle that were given by the Signoria in Venice to the Danish king Frederick IV (1671–1730) in 1709. During the king’s journey home to Copenhagen, he passed through Berlin and visited Schloss Charlottenburg, where, in 1706, a spectacular porcelain cabinet had been unveiled. It housed the finest collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain owned by a European monarch at that time.

Later in 1709, Frederick and the Elector Augustus I of Saxony (1694–1733) paid a state visit to Frederick I of Prussia (1657–1713). It was accompanied by courtly entertainments that were held in Berlin, Potsdam, Caputh, Oranienburg, and Charlottenburg. It is quite possible that the idea for the glass cabinet at Rosenborg Castle was conceived during this visit.

The Rosenborg glasses are technically different from the earlier glasses. The latter are filigrana pieces consisting of two layers: a layer of canes on an inner layer of cristallo. With the exception of very large examples, the Rosenborg-type glasses are made of a single layer of glass consisting solely of canes. The wineglass illustrated here bears these characteristics, and it can therefore be attributed to Venice and dated to about 1700. This glass is thought to have been made at a glasshouse different from the one that furnished the glasses to the Signoria for the gift to Frederick IV.

View the full collections record.

Listen as William Gudenrath describes the filigrana technique.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: