A PAIR OF GILT-COPPER-MOUNTED GLASS PILGRIM FLASKS

North Italian, probably Venetian

 

First half 19th century, in the manner of the Renaissance

 

 

Dimensions :  H. 22 13/16 in ; W. 9 13/16 in.

 

Provenance : Private collection




The gilded copper mount with repousse and openwork decoration of vegetable foliage and phantasmagorical characters, centered with a crest on both sides. Each with a lid surmounted by a finial representing the deer's head. Each gourd is adorned with two grotesque masks and link chains.

 

The so-called 'pilgrim's gourd' shape has its origins in the leather water bottle that the pilgrim or traveler in the Middle Ages transported with him. Very popular until the end of the sixteenth century, their manufacture enjoyed a revival of interest in the 1660s. Engravings of the time, such as the one representing the large silver buffet of the Rittersaal Berlin Schloss Martin Engelbrecht, circa 1708, suggest that these gourds were placed on side buffets during grand banquets. When placed with wine cisterns, they also served to decant wine.

 

Our pair is similar to one sold at the iconic Yves Saint Laurent collection for € 361,000 (Yves Saint Laurent Collection, Christie's, February 25, 2009, lot 502).