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Author Topic: 1852 description of the making of a millefiori?or cane?  (Read 317 times)

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Offline flying free

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1852 description of the making of a millefiori?or cane?
« on: April 06, 2016, 07:22:28 PM »
I wondered if you had all read about this before?  It seems to me a similar process to the making of a cane?

If not, this is an extract from a book written in 1852 Dodd, The curiosities of the industry and applied sciences.  The author was writing about mosaics made of glass and went on to write about a description made in the 18th century of two glass mosaic pieces (not known what era the mosaic referred to were made but the authors he talks about obviously made their description in the 18th century):

'The two specimens of glass mosaic decribed by Winckelmann and Count Caylus in the last century, seem to have been of a somewhat different kind, for they presented a complete picture on each surface.  They consisted of coloured glass fibres fitted together with the utmost exactness, and cemented by fusion into a solid mass.  Of these two specimens, each of which was about an inch long by a third of an inch broad one exliibited, on a dark ground of variegated colours, a representation of a duck; the outlines were decided and sharp, tlie colours beautiful and pure, and the effect veiy stiiking, from tlie artist having combined opaque with transparent glass; the most delicate pencil of the mmiature painter could not have traced more accurately and distinctly, either the circle of the pupil of the eye, or the apparently scaly feathers on the breast and wings. The other specimen was about the same size, and exhibited an ornamental device of green, white, and yellow colours, which were traced on a blue ground, and represented volutes, beads, and flowers. On whichever side these specimens were viewed a similar object was perceived; for the pictures were fonned of veiy slender fibres of glass, laid side by side, according to tlieir colours, and afterwards exposed to a heat just sufficient to fuse the whole into a cemented mass, without disturbing or injuring the tints of any one fibre.'

m

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Offline KevinH

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Re: 1852 description of the making of a millefiori?or cane?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 04:39:46 PM »
A direct quote of Winkelmann's text from his book Annotations on the History of the Art among the Ancients can be seen in the Google Books entry for: A Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and The Arts Vol. VIII, 1804 by William Nicholson.

In the quoted section from Winkelmann (see pages 233 - 235 of the google Books entry), it is stated:

Quote
... admiration in two small pieces of glass, which last year (1765) were brought to Rome. Each of them is not quite one inch long, and one-third of an inch broad. One plate exhibits, on a dark ground of variegated colours, a bird representing a duck ... ...

... ... The most delicate pencil of the miniature painter could not have traced more accurately and distinctly, either the circle of the pupil of the eye, or the apparently scaly feathers of the breast and wings, behind the beginning of which this piece had been broken. … … But the admiration of the beholder is at the highest pitch, when, by turning the glass, he sees the same bird on the reverse, without perceiving any difference in the smallest points; whence we could not but conclude, that this picture is continued through the whole thickness of the specimen; and that if the glass were cut transversely, the same picture of the duck would be found repeated in the in the several slabs; … …

... ... seems to have been formed, in the manner of mosaic works, of single pieces; but so accurately united, that a powerful magnifying –glass was unable to discover any junctures. … … … must have been executed by joining variously coloured filaments of glass, and subsequently fusing of the same into one coherent body.

That extra information about the "picture continuing through the thickness" and "mosaic works, of single pieces - filaments of glass" also fits exactly with mosaic picture canes made in Murano during the 1800s by Franchini, Moretti etc. who produced many round and oval portrait canes.

So yes, I think the items were a form of mosaic picture "cane" (but actually "slabs". And, from Winkelmann's statement of the two pieces being "brought to Rome in 1765" I suspect they were made in "ancient times" but first noted and discussed in the 18th century.

However, without seeing images of those "ancjent pieces" we do not know the exact shape they were formed in. But perhaps because Winklemann (and Caylus) did not specify "round or oval sections" I guess they really were thin rectangular "slabs" with images set in the larger faces of the slab.
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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Re: 1852 description of the making of a millefiori?or cane?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 06:44:00 PM »
it's fascinating isn't it? I have visions of 'ancients' holding a gob of glass and running away from each other to stretch it out to a cane as I've seen in the videos of Murano cane making.  Did they really do it like that? Amazing.
m

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