La Granja Factory ( Spanish, 1770 )

c. 1775–1825
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General Description

Glass has been made in the Iberian Peninsula since it was part of the Roman Empire. The sizable group of Spanish glass in the Reves Collection dates to the 18th and early 19th centuries and was probably produced at the La Granja factory. In 1728, a Catalan glassworker, Ventura Sit, built a furnace near the royal palace of La Granja in San Ildefonso. Queen Isabella Farnese was so impressed by his initial production of window and mirror glass that she built Sit a factory on the palace grounds. Besides plate glass, the factory also made chandeliers and tablewares for the Crown. However, the workshop constantly operated at a loss, and around 1760 a retail outlet was opened in Madrid in an attempt to bring in revenue. Despite continued losses, the La Granja factory remained in operation into the early 19th century.

The cutting and gilt decoration on this ewer are characteristic of La Granja wares. Spanish consumers were particularly fond of painted decoration applied in gold. Most of the examples in the Reves Collection possess such decoration. Besides its ornament, this vessel is interesting for its shape. Tall ewers with elongated spouts were first used in Asia and found great favor in India and the Islamic world. Given Spain's Islamic heritage, it is not surprising that the form was produced in glass for serving wine and other cool liquids.

Excerpt from

Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 83.