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Beaker

Artist/maker unknown, German

Geography:
Made in southern Germany, Germany, Europe
Probably made in Franconia, Europe

Date:
c. 1651

Medium:
Soda-lime glass with painted enamel decoration

Dimensions:
Height: 7 1/2 inches (19.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 214, American Art, second floor, Case 18, Continental Glass

Accession Number:
1938-23-72

Credit Line:
The George H. Lorimer Collection, 1938

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Label:
This German drinking vessel, or Humpen, commemorates the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which marked the end of the Thirty Years War. Although this type of glass could sometimes be large enough to hold several quarts of beer, it was meant to be used by an individual drinker. It is missing its original cover.

Additional information:
  • PublicationGlass

    This drinking beaker, or humpen, celebrates the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, marking the end of the Thirty Years' War. The design was adapted from an engraving by Matthäus Rembold in which the device of the trefoil base symbolizing the tripartite agreement had actually been borrowed from an engraving of 1632 depicting another alliance. The figures joining hands represent the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III (center), the young king of France, Louis XIV, and Queen Christina of Sweden. God the Father blesses the alliance from above, and a prayer for the continuation of peace, and the date 1651, are painted on the reverse side. Glasses with this design seem to have been made and enameled in Franconia in southern Germany, where there were a number of glasshouses in the Fichtelgebirge area. The painting style closely resembles that found on the salt-glazed stoneware of the same region, and the glass may have been decorated in shops that worked for both the pottery and glass industries. Existing glasses are dated between 1649 and 1655, after which the subject undoubtedly lost its immediacy.

    The large size of these glasses is evidence of gargantuan drinking habits, at least on occasions of special festivity, when toasts required the emptying of the glass at one draught. When not in use, the glasses with their covers (missing here) would have been ranged in a row on a high shelf around a banqueting room. The inventory mark of a crown and a number on the base of this and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1938-23-69 indicate that they were both from the same ducal household; a comparison with similar marks on glasses in the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, indicates that they came from the castle in Dessau. Betty Elzea, from Guides to European Decorative Arts: Glass (1984), p. 10.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.