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Ref  LW2  'Has Means'

A most unusual Stuart crystal slide, circa 1680. All of the Stuart crystal slides I have seen over the past 35 years have either had a memento mori or a romantic theme. This is the first I  have seen with a theme inspired by Greek mythology, depicting Europa and the Bull. The myth of Europa, who gave her name to a continent, has fascinated writers, historians and artists throughout the centuries. According to Greek mythology, Zeus became infatuated with the striking beauty of a Phoenician maiden, Europa. In order to avoid the anger of his jealous wife Hera and to seduce the girl, Zeus metamorphosed into a white bull. Whilst the young maiden and her attendants were on the shore gathering flowers, Europa saw the bull, whose behaviour was compliant and gentle. She caressed him, bedecked him with flowers and eventually climbed onto his back. Zeus seized the opportunity to abduct Europa and carry her off across the sea to the island of Crete. There he revealed his true identity and ravished Europa, who later gave birth to Minos, King of Crete.

This slide contains colourful enamel figures on a ground of woven pale blue silk [representing the sea], enacting the myth of Europa's abduction. The scene is within a surround of flat-cut garnets and covered by a densely faceted rose-cut rock crystal. Europa sits on the bull's back as he swims away with her over the waves. Her handmaidens reach out to Europa from the shore, desperate to save her. Below the figures is the wonderfully sardonic motto : Has Means. This means Zeus in the guise of a bull has the 'means' to travel and the 'means' to abduct the maiden. Typically 17th century colourful botanical enamelling to reverse and an early 19th century gold pendant fitting. The slide measures one inch by one inch and is a fascinating one-off.

sold 

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Antonio Carracci - Rape of Eur
Europa and the Bull by Agostino Carracci

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