Withens Goblet

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Object Name: 
Withens Goblet
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 24.9 cm; Foot Diam: 10.3 cm; Rim Diam: 9.9 cm
Not on Display
about 1680-1690
Web Description: 
Talented glassblowers in the Low Countries produced outstanding façon de Venise (in the manner of Venice) objects during the 17th century. Some of these glasses, whose stems contained twisted colored canes (rods of glass that are bundled together and fused to form a polychrome design that is visible in cross section), were similar to Venetian goblets with serpent stems. Many such vessels were made in the Netherlands and in Germany, some of them by emigrant Venetian workers. In the mid- 18th century, elaborate examples were being diamond-point engraved in Germany. It is likely that glasses of this type were sold in major commercial centers such as Brussels. The engraving on this goblet displays the longish strokes and stylized floral decoration that were characteristic of the 17th century. The name inscribed on the glass—Francis Withens— links this piece with the aristocratic Withens family, which is recorded in Leiden, the Netherlands, in the 17th and 18th centuries. The engraved date, “May 10, 1590,” suggests that this late 17th-century piece commemorates an anniversary, possibly the centenary, of a significant event in the life of a member of the Withens family. The only Francis Withens of whom we are aware was born about 1635 and educated at Saint John’s College, Oxford University. He became a member of Parliament in 1679, and he served as judge on the King’s Bench from 1683 to 1687. He died in Kent, England, in 1704. His family probably originated in the Low Countries. For more on the glass trade in the Low Countries, see Florent Pholien, La Verrerie au pays de Liège: Etude rétrospective, Liège: Aug. Bénard, 1899, p. 81.
Bonhams, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless glass; blown and finely engraved; the flared bowl inscribed on one side ‘FRANCIS WITHENS’, the reverse with ’10 MAIE 1590’ flanked by stylized flowers, and set within bands of leaf scroll; set on a coiled openwork stem composes of encased white and red canes and shaped into a double-eight figure with applied pincered and trailed ornament.
Collectors’ Focus: Venetian Glass (2011-09) illustrated, p. 90, #3, fig. 2; BIB# AI84223
Crabtree Collection Sold (2010-03) pp. 4-5; BIB# 79300
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2009 (2010) illustrated, p. 16, #7; BIB# AI79879
Fine British and European glass; Paperweights (2009) illustrated, #143; BIB# 112740