This is a very rare Tudor silver-gilt casting bottle, dating to the 16th century A.D. It is decorated in the Mannerist taste, with humanoid masks and interlaced strapwork design. The design was likely inspired by the work of the Antwerp goldsmith Balthasar Sylvius, whos designs were employed by the Tudor court, from his many printed works (see here).
This small bottle, designed to hold perfumed water (of roses or rosemary oil). Casting bottles were a luxurious accessory for the fashion-conscious courtier, often given as New Year's gifts at the court of King Henry VIII and among the European aristocracy. Further examples can be found in the V&A (451:1, 2-1865, M.13:1-1986 and Loan:Gilbert.579:1,2-2008)
This example is decorated with enamel or polychrome in red and black, emphasizing the strapwork design and flowers. It retains both silver suspension rings, one fragment of the original chain, with part ropework twist and the other plain chain links (originally alternating). The inside rim is plain, thus originally this piece would have had a cork or leather 'stopper'. A nice piece with plenty of age, from the period of King Henry and Elizabeth Tudor.
OBJECT: Casting Bottle / Perfume Flask
CULTURE: Renaissance / Tudor
DATE: c. 1540 - 1580 A.D.
MATERIAL: Silver-gilt & Polychrome
SIZE: 52.84mm x 42.48mm x 13.83mm (53.85mm open)
WEIGHT: 25.6 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, of early scent bottles. Pittsburgh PA.
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