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Work Wineglass

Department of Decorative Arts: Renaissance

Bowl with portrait, coat of arms and device: "SUR TOUTE/COHUSE"

© 1987 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Decorative Arts

Barbier Muriel

This large enameled wineglass is decorated with a profiled female bust and an inscription ("SUR TOUTE COHUSE") that suggests it may have been a wedding present. It is typical of the "façon de Venise" style, generally found on glasses made by Italian glassmakers settled in France.

Outstanding design

This large drinking glass is shaped like a chalice and has been blown in transparent, grayish glass. It consists of three parts, assembled while the glass was still hot: a triangular cup, a knotted ornamental stem, and a circular base. The stem shape is not usual in French manufacture. The sides are decorated with white and blue bands interspersed with dots of red enamel. The glass is part of a group ascribed to Italian glassmakers working in the Venetian style in France. Their forms vary and derive from the Venetian glassmaking tradition: chalice-shaped wineglasses, drinking glasses, goblets, ewers, and flasks. They are distinguished by their size, but also by a certain awkwardness of design not found in Venice at that period.

Enamel decoration

The glass is decorated with a portrait of a woman in profile on one side and an unidentified coat of arms on the other. The two designs are linked by a band bearing the inscription "SUR TOUTE COHUSE" (sic). The glass may have been a wedding gift representing the young bride. The decoration is encircled by a double blue line in the upper part and a single line of the same color in the lower part. The relatively unsophisticated nature of the design is never found in work from Venice; furthermore, the enameling technique lags behind that employed in Venetian glass, which, by 1550 or thereabouts, had abandoned this technique for other decorative devices.

The work of an Italian artist working in France?

By the second half of the fifteenth century, Venetian glassmakers had learned how to manufacture clear, colorless glass known as "cristallo". In the sixteenth century, "façon de Venise" glass, as it was called, spread throughout Europe. In the middle of the fifteenth century, glassmakers from the north of Italy settled in France and introduced Venetian techniques of glassblowing and decoration. In the middle of the sixteenth century, for example, Italian glassmakers (including Venetians) were employed at the glassworks of Saint-Germain-en-Laye established by Henry II in 1551. Glassmakers were also active elsewhere in France, especially at Nevers, where, in 1570, the brother of the Duke of Mantua, Luigi Gonzaga, established a colony of Italian glassmakers who enjoyed a flourishing trade.

Technical description

  • France (second half of the 16th century)

    Bowl with portrait, coat of arms and device: "SUR TOUTE/COHUSE"

  • Enamelled and gilded white glass

    Diam. 12 cm; H. 14.50 cm

  • Baron Charles Davillier bequest, 1883 , 1883

    OA 3111

  • Decorative Arts

    Richelieu wing
    1st floor
    French majolica
    Room 517
    Display case 3

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Additional information about the work

Inscription: "SUR TOUTE COHUSE" (sic)