It was the glass collection that received Miquel Mateu’s most direct and constant attention.
This is the most important glass museum in Spain, both as a collection by a single owner and as one of the most noteworthy private collections in the world. It contains more than 2.500 pieces of ancient glass, the origins of which range from Pharaonic Egypt to the 19th century.
The rich holdings of this collection include a large number of glass objects, featuring pieces from Venice, Silesia, Bohemia and La Granja de San Ildefonso (the glass and crystal factory of the King of Spain, located near Segovia), among others.
Also worthy of note is the collection of jugs. This is the largest collection within our collection of glass, as these pieces were customarily given as wedding gifts in Catalonia between the 17th and 19th centuries. A close look at them will reveal the actual sex of the jugs, which can be either male or female.
The display also includes pieces of archeological glass, opalescent glass, enameled glass and objects with uses of all sorts, from goblets to milk bottles for baby calves, as well as bugles, officers’ batons, cruets, milk extractors, spouted drinking vessels and more. Finally, the collection is complete with pieces associated with the world of perfume, such as sprinkling bottles, an object of Arabic origin that has survived to this day in Catalonia and which could be compared with today’s air fresheners, and the small perfume flasks, from Spain, England, France, etc. On display alongside the perfume bottles are other flasks from China, which were not used for perfume but rather for opium.
The collection of ceramics contains some 1.000 pieces, nearly all of which are from Spain and date from the 14th-19th centuries. These pieces include virtually the entire series of Catalan ceramics, as well as “artisan” tiles and the 16th-century skull tiles of the Convent dels Àngels in Barcelona.
Special mention must be made of the 18th- and 19th-century chocolate saucers, which were invented by Mancero, the Viceroy of Mexico, and used to drink thick hot chocolate.
Generally speaking, the collection boasts pieces representative of all of Spain’s traditional ceramics manufacturers. This includes the gilded ceramics collection with items dating from between 1500 and the 17th century from cities such as
Manises and Reus. There are also pieces from Alcora, such as the large plaque featuring the scene of the “Rest during the Flight to Egypt”, others from Talavera and Triana, with polychrome pieces that date back to the 16th century, and still others from Teruel, among other places.
Finally, the same exhibition hall contains the coin collection, featuring more than 2.000 pieces with a published catalogue, ranging from a series of drachmas from the Empordà area to another series of coins of the Spanish monarchy. One particularly exceptional piece is a singular coin of Hug IV d’Empúries, depicting a sword rather than a herald.