Object Details




Willem Jacobsz van Heemskerk (Dutch, 1613 - 1692)




1675 - 1685


Dark green glass with diamond point-engraving; modern silver-gilt mounts


23 cm (9 1/16 in.)

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The words Pan e vin e va cantando(Bread and wine and merriment) float around the body of this bottle in fluid script, elaborately engraved with supple and complex flourishes. On the underside of the vessel, another inscription adds: kan't Brood en [...] Wijn niet doen? Wat Zouts kan't Mael vergoên (If bread and wine fail to do so, a little pinch of salt can save a meal).

In the mid-1600s, calligraphic engraving, such as the lettering around this vessel, was mainly the hobby of wealthy amateurs in the northern Netherlands. Both men and women enjoyed practicing their calligraphic skills by decorating bottles, plates, beakers, and other glass vessels with elaborate lettering. One of the most accomplished of these was Willem Jacobszoon van Heemskerk, who engraved and signed this bottle on its base. Heemskerk was an able engraver and an inspired designer who covered the surface of his glass vessels with pithy adages in delicate script. He built up the elegantly spaced characters and abundant scrolls from parallel scratches made with a diamond point.


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