Glass Holders

No extant silver objects from the Ximenez household are known; however, thanks to the exact terms used by the author(s) of the probate inventory and the precise indication of the weights, it is often possible to get an idea of the appearance of the objects. The following entry is a good example:

"Twee silveren vergulden schroeven wegende sevenendertich ende een halve onchen."

The two "schroeven" with a combined weight of thirty-seven and a half ounces, are glass holders. These extremely extravagant items, characteristic of Late Renaissance and Baroque goldsmithing in the Low Countries, were designed to hold glasses, in most cases rummers (a type of large drinking glass with a studded stem), which were clamped into the "schroeven." We can find contemporary representations of glasses with their holders in paintings, for instance in Winter by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hendrik van Balen of 1616, where we see an example by the base of the column. Using tall and highly ornate "schroeven" was a way of emphasizing the ceremonial aspect of drinking. "Schroeven" are generally documented in pairs, as is the case with the Ximenez inventory. The glass holders owned by Ximenez were rather small: each weighed about 160 grams, whereas "schroeven" mentioned in other Antwerp inventories of the seventeenth century are usually listed at between 270 and 620 grams. There is only one seventeenth-century Antwerp glass holder in existence today: a "schroef" made by an anonymous Antwerp goldsmith in 1624-25 that came onto the market in 1997.

Lorenz Seelig, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (retired), Munich


Claessens-Peré, Anne-Marie. "About Silver and Anthony van Dyck." Zilver voor Sir Anthony. Ed. Anne-Marie Claessens-Peré. Exh. cat., Provinciaal Museum Sterckshof/Zilvercentrum, Antwerp. Gent: Snoeck, Ducaju & Zoon, 1999. 9-25, fig. 5.

Schroder, Timothy. Renaissance Silver from the Schroder Collection. London: The Wallace Collection, 2007. 182, Cat. no. 59.

Glass holder, Antwerp, 1624-1625, private collection.