During the 16th and 17th centuries, Venetian drinking glass was the last word in luxury, and glassmakers elsewhere in Europe, most notably in Germany and the Netherlands, vied to produce their own versions. An exceptional collection of 24 Venetian and façon de Venise glasses, as they became known, led Bonhams Fine Glass, Paperweights and British Ceramics sale in London on 1 December, making £280,710. It also produced the top lot of the day, an extraordinarily rare Dutch engraved façon de Venise wine glass made between 1660-1700 which sold for £125,250 having been estimated at £8,000-12,000.

The 482-lot sale made a total of £1,076,920, with 75% sold by lot and 91% sold by value.

Jim Peake, Bonhams Glass specialist, said: “The fragility of these glasses makes them remarkable survivors. It is rare for such a comprehensive collection to come to auction, so I was not surprised it attracted a lot of attention from collectors. The Dutch engraved façon de Venise wine glass which secured the highest price of the day, for example, was unique and keenly sought-after. It came down in the end to a battle between two very determined bidders, reflecting the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity it represented to acquire such a special glass.”

Other collections in the sale also produced strong results including:

• An exceptionally rare façon de Venise latticinio Kuttrolf (flask). Made in the last third of the 16th century, probably in the Low Countries, it was decorated with a loose-meshed network of lattimo threads. Loose-meshed latticinio decoration of this type is incredibly rare and no other Kuttrolf in this technique appears to be known. Sold for £72,250 (estimate: £8,000-12,000).

• An exceptional Venetian engraved latticinio goblet, late 16th century. No other latticinio piece decorated in this way with diamond-point engraving would appear to be recorded in the literature, making the present goblet a unique survivor and exceptionally important. Sold for £69,000 (estimate: £15,000-20,000).

Other sale highlights included a highly important Beilby enamelled armorial light baluster wine glass, dating from around 1765. It was long assumed that the arms on this glass – which was possibly made to commemorate a wedding – were pure invention but they have been identified as those of the Yeoman family of Dryburgh in Berwickshire. The Beilby workshop specialised in armorial decoration and their most celebrated productions are a series of royal wine glasses and goblets. Sold for £56,500 (estimate: £20,000-30,000).

3 December 2021