A blue glass dish imported from Venice

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A blue glass dish imported from Venice

This vessel was one of the most impressive individual finds among a 'hoard' of Elizabethan glass discovered in Paul Street, during excavations before the construction of the Harlequins Shopping Centre. It contained far more vessels than would be expected even in a large and rich household, and the find probably represents the shop stock of a glass-seller. This is the most important find of 16th-century glass in South-West England.

This fine dish of blue soda glass is undoubtedly an import, made in the manner of Venetian glass-makers (facon de Venise), and almost certainly at Venice itself. Its extraordinary feature is its decoration with enamel, which would have appeared gold on the blue surface. This, sadly, is now almost lost, but the pattern can be seen in oblique light. The central boss was decorated with a net of floral motifs, whilst the rim is painted with long oblique dashes. The vessel has recently undergone conservation at Exeter City Museums.

Acknowledgments: Exeter Archaeology Exeter City Museums

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