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Author Topic: maker of this hourglass  (Read 1749 times)

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Offline Bernard C

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maker of this hourglass
« on: February 25, 2005, 08:17:22 AM »
There is a photograph of an "Egg Timer" on p25 of Nigel Benson's Glass of the '50s & '60s, Miller's, 2002.

Nigel describes his example as "Egg timer by Paolo Venini, Venini & Co., c.1960s, ht 19cm/7.5in, £150-180/$225-270".


Early on the morning of Thursday 24th February 2005, I happened to be tuned to the British TV channel BBC1 as I was enjoying a bedtime cuppa, and found myself watching a film set initially in Venice.

This was a fairly unremarkable romantic drama entitled A Secret Affair, made by a Dublin film company in 1999, and based on a novel of the same name by Barbara Taylor Bradford, presumably well-known to aficionados of romantic novels.   I found it enjoyable in a mindless sort of way, until I realised that the producers had overdosed on clichés, from when it became highly entertaining.    For example, stone cottage + babbling brook + stone bridge + red pillar box + flock of sheep + black and white sheepdog + old shepherd in flat hat and tweeds, and you are fairly certain of the location.   But, just in case there was someone out there who couldn't quite grasp the message, they added in, yes, you guessed, brass band music!   Every thirty seconds or so in the Venice scenes they were either eating spaghetti or there were gondolas in the background, just in case you did not recognise the canals, bridges, architecture and lack of motor vehicles.

Anyway, back to my story.   The heroine turns out to be a glass buyer, a trifle unrealistic for someone so beautiful and pliable, but never mind, it's fiction.   She visits a glassworks with her new lover, and they watch a glassmaker making, you guessed, a Venini egg-timer.   So he buys it for her (magically annealed, full of sand and finished!), and it crops up through the rest of the film to remind her of his love, with the heroine constantly turning it upside down to watch the sand flowing through.   Full of symbolism.

I actually managed to hit "RECORD" on my video control, so have been able to study this shot of a glassmaker at work.   I had expected it to be a stock shot, but it could just possibly be an actual shot of a Venini glassblower making an egg-timer.   I forgot to record the closing credits, so am unable to say whether or not there was an acknowledgement for Venini.

That's all, Bernard C.  8)
Happy New Year to All Glass Makers, Historians, Dealers, and Collectors

Text and Images Copyright 200415 Bernard Cavalot

Offline Bernard C

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maker of this hourglass
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2005, 01:48:26 PM »
As the question was still on my mind, I emailed Venini.
Quote from: "I"
I am a British glass dealer, and recently watched the 1999 Irish film "A Secret Affair", set partly in Venice, and starring a Paolo Venini egg-timer.   In the film there was a short clip of a glassblower.   Was this a stock shot added by the producers, or was it a genuine shot of one of your talented glassblowers making an egg-timer?

This morning I received a very prompt reply.  
Quote from: "Monica Cavaletto of VENINI S.P.A."
Dear Mr Cavalot,
As far as we know the film was not shot in venini but in another Murano glass factory, at the time of the shooting (august) we were closed for our summer holidays.
If you wish to see the PAOLO VENINI hourglasses, please enter in our website and download our catalogue.
Should you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
Very best regards ...

So we now know five things:
1. As newtothis said in the original posting, they are hourglasses, not egg-timers.
2. The Murano glassmaker shown in the film is not making a Venini hourglass.
3. Venini hourglasses are still being made.
4. Don't arrange your visit to Murano at the height of the summer if you want to see glass being made.
5. Venini has a very friendly PR department.

Finally, the similarity of surnames is pure coincidence.   My own ancestry on the male side is Basque, according to my grandfather's research.   Nevertheless it is rather pleasing to receive a message from a lady with such an impeccable name!

Bernard C.  8)
Happy New Year to All Glass Makers, Historians, Dealers, and Collectors

Text and Images Copyright 200415 Bernard Cavalot


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