Court tazza in a leather case
Glass: Ottoman, before 1630
Mount: Pierre Delabarre, attr.
Paris, ca 1630
Glass, gold, enamel; leather case with gold tooling
Provenance: Gustaf Celsing the Older (1679-1743), Swedish envoy to the Ottoman Empire
Published in: Laue, G.: Tresor. Treasures for European Kunstkammer, Munich 2017, pp. 166-167, pp. 240-241, Cat. No. 49
In imitation of a rock-crystal vessel, this hexalobate glass tazza boasts engraved floral decoration and is gold-mounted. The pastel enamel colours on the pierced-work gold mount and the whimsically graceful form of the handle with its herm are typical of French work in gold ca 1630, especially of the work of Pierre Delabarre, a Paris goldsmith who was long regarded as the master of the dragons for his imaginative mounts. The glass, however, was made in the Ottoman Empire, not in France. It is impossible to reconstruct now how an Ottoman vessel came to be mounted in gold in Paris but this unusual twist probably goes back to a diplomatic exchange. The magnificent tazza was owned by Gustaf Celsing the Elder (1679-1743), who went into exile in Constantinople in 1709 with Carl XII of Sweden after the king’s defeat against Russia. Celsing stayed until 1714 in Constantinople, where he not only came into contact with Ottoman culture but also forged ties with various foreign envoys at the Ottoman court, notably the French ambassadors. At some time during his stay in Constantinople, an Ottoman or French dignitary must have given him this exceptional work of art, which has remained in the possession of the Celsing family at Biby Castle in Sweden on into the twenty-first century.