A large Venetian naval lantern, that would once have been mounted on a naval vessel to send light signals to the rest of a naval fleet. A grand lantern such as this would have been owned by a nobleman, and they were often converted to hanging lanterns - as this one has been - to hang in the entrances of grand palazzi. Remarkably similar lanterns can be seen Andrea Vicentino's monumental painting of the Battle of Lepanto in the Palazzo Ducale, painted in 1595.
Rare surviving gilding. 17th century. Converted to electricity in the early 20th century.