c. 1500
Enamelled and gilded tableware was the height of luxury, more for show than use. A sheet of copper was first hammered into shape. Next, various coloured pastes of finely ground glass were applied, then heated in a kiln until the glass fused. Finally, the elaborate gilding was added; this was delicate and could easily be damaged. These objects are traditionally said to be from Venice, but recent studies have questioned this. While the dynamic spiral pattern used here was a popular design, the Dove, or Holy Spirit, is an unusual touch, suggesting this plate was used in religious rites; most examples were for domestic use.


Prince Nicholas of Romania (1903–1978) [1]

by 1979 –
Germain Seligman, New York, United States [2]

E.V. Thaw, New York, United States [3]

1979/09/24 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from E.V. Thaw [4]

[1] Prince Nicholas of Romania sold the plate through Galerie Jürg Stuker, Bern, on May 21–30, 1964 [“Königliche Juwelen und kostbare Kunstschätze aus der Sammlung S.K.H. des Prinzen Nikolaus von Rumänien.” lot 162].

[2] The object is featured in John Richardson's publication “The collection of Germain Seligman” [privately printed for E.V. Thaw, New York, Artemis S.A, Luxembourg and David Carritt, London, 1979, cat. no 107].

[3] See note [4].

[4] The National Gallery purchased the enamel plate from New York dealer E.V. Thaw on September 24, 1979 [Accession log, NGC curatorial file].

c. 1500
Decorative Arts
enamel and gold on copper
24.5 cm in diameter
Credit line
Purchased 1979
Accession number