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Author Topic: Apsley Pellatt Curiosities of Glassmaking 1849-Venetian Ball & French Millefiori  (Read 6433 times)

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Offline KevinH

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M, when using google translate, always edit the copied text to ensure that line breaks (as initially shown in the google box) are corrected. When the full quoted Latin text in the PK article is tidied up for the line breaks, it produces the translation below.

Note that in this revised translation there is no reference to "weapons". And it starts to make a lot more sense throughout. But note the words I have highlighted in red. In most cases they are unrecognized as Latin and may be the result of incorrect scanning. Some highlighted words seem to be an odd translation attempt - such as for "vltraria" and "immitates" and also "Age" which actually is a Latin word meaning, "come!, go to! well!, all right! and "auf" which is another real Latin word meaning, "bear, carry, take, fetch etc."

Google version of translated text:
Murianum From this village, but those buildings belonging to the magnificence and grandeur of the city is far from clear. The length of a mile above. Vitrarius factories especially highlighted. First, he found a fine white crystal glass can lie, as soon as procacia men's minds and are not to be found on site of inertia, in a thousand different colors innumerable forms of matter began to flex. Hence, cups, bowls, pot, pots, pitchers, candlesticks, animals of every kind, the horns, the segments, with chains of gold, on the one side all areas of human pleasures, the life on this side, and that scarcely dared to amuse the eyes of the mortal nature we can everything that you would expect. There is a kind of precious stone, which is not vltraria industry immitates. Pleasant man and nature contest. What is more, they are the vessels of murina on the one side to you? Except for the the price. Age, however, which first came into my mind a short ball to include all kinds of flowers, which are blooming meadows dressed? But all of these things with maritime subiecere business, so that no one else had thought credible, it cheapens the excessive use occeperint. Not a single family house auf novice stuck found such a large part of the village glows factories.
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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I think it reads pretty well Kev to be honest, in either version.

To me I think:
It talks about there being a mile long area of glass production on Murano (or that Murano was a mile from Venice?), and that much of the industry in the area is involved with glass production (that many of the houses glow with the flames of producing glass (however that might be I suppose- i.e. furnaces or lampwork?), that no one is a novice as they are all involved?).  That everyone is involved with it.  That they produce a crystal clear glass that imitates rock crystal (i.e.man taking on nature  - crystal glass versus natural rock crystal).  That they also produce glass of many colours. They produce items of any kind/shape you can think of.  That they produce items with murrines in, which might be expensive ? 

and then also perhaps

That no other country thought these things were possible or that no other country knew how to produce these things? Or it could be a reference to the fact that the glass production was protected ( I think from memory that they were not allowed to divulge their secrets or to work elsewhere at that time other than Venice).

However

I'm not sure it helps the solid Venetian Ball question   ;D  and whether or not he really was talking about a spherical glass ball incorporating millefiori?
It does appear he wrote 'Well! however, which first came into my mind a short ball to include all kinds of flowers, which are blooming meadows dressed?'  but it's the 'short ball'  translated bit (brevi pila) that is the problem.

Did he mean a small ball (i.e a bead?)
Did he mean a short column (i.e. a cane?)
Did he mean a flat round circular slice (i.e a millefiori?)

The PK article does raise a question about something called a 'Rosette' - did you notice that?]
And 'brevi pila' translated from Italian means 'short stack'.
The more I think about it the more I think he was describing canes! which represent any different type of flower you could find in a meadow. (don't quote me)

And also - I keep meaning to say I'm really curious as to why the Corning showed how to blow a Millefiori ball (which would make it hollow) when it seems they were solid?  The one they show on that page that dates to 1500 and 5.1cm diameter.  But why would they show how to blow a hollow one?  Is the 16th century one they show hollow? it doesn't mention that at all.




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Offline flying free

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this from the British Museum
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=27626&partId=1&technique=17292&page=1

It is described as a 'ball' and is 1 inch in diameter.
Curators Comments say:
'There are other millefiori balls in the collection: OA 5196, WT.1153, 1154. See Baumgartner 2015 cat.44 for discussion.'

ball

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Object typeball term details
Museum numberS.803
DescriptionBall, millefiori glass; canes of blue, red, green, purple and white embedded in background of pale, semi-transparent blue.
DateEarly 16thC
Production placeMade in: Venice(Europe,Italy,Veneto,Venice (province),Venice)
Materialsglass term details
Techniquemillefiori term details
DimensionsDiameter: 2.5 centimetres
Curator's comments: There are other millefiori balls in the collection: OA 5196, WT.1153, 1154. See Baumgartner 2015 cat.44 for discussion.
BibliographyTait 1979 161 bibliographic detailsBaumgartner 2015 cat.44 bibliographic detailsTait 1991 p. 164, fig. 209 bibliographic detailsNesbitt 1871 p.134 bibliographic details
LocationNot on display
Acquisition nameBequeathed by: Felix Slade biography
Acquisition date1868
DepartmentBritain, Europe and Prehistory
Registration numberS.803

See also this link
Where they say there are 4 other balls in the collection - there are two photographs
The one in this link is 2" in diameter - the description says it is 'slightly flattened and worn around the pontil mark.
Dates to 17th century.
Looks suspiciously like a paperweight to me  ;D
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=27627&partId=1&technique=17292&page=1

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=27627&partId=1&technique=17292&page=1

This one is 3.5cm - has a hole pierced through the middle
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=27208&partId=1&technique=17292&page=1

This one is 4cm - also has a hole pierced through it
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=27207&partId=1&technique=17292&page=1

Obviously I'm just adding these so people can see what items are called 'balls'.  But it doesn't help us know if this is really what Sabellico was referring to.

And in fact on this one the notes say (my bold of an interesting comment) :
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=26614&partId=1&technique=17292&page=1

'There are four other millefiori balls in the collection.
Others can be found in Veste Coburg and elsewhere. For one of these see E. Landolt and F. Ackermann, 'Die Objeckte im Historischen Museum Basel', Basel, 1991, no. 61. These authors quote Marcantonio Sabellico, 'De situ Venetae urbis', 1495, as saying that these balls were a speciality of Venetian glassworking; they also note others in documents including an inventory of 1578.This ball is described by Payne Knight in his Manuscript (under Bronzes), where he records that it was given to him by Sir Joseph Banks and describes it as 'a specimen of those works in this material, for which the ancient Phoenicians of Sidon were once so famous, and which they brought here to exchange with the barbarian natives for the gold of Ireland and the tin of Cornwall' (quoted Clarke and Penny 1982), but a note by J.B. S. Morritt added to Knight's catalogue reads 'I have since bought beads exactly similar, also perforated like this at Florence. They were of old Venetian manufacture, & adorned old Italian cabinets as knobs. They are no longer made now & I was told that the secret by which the enamel was embedded in the glass without being fused was now lost'. Apsley Pellatt in 'Curiosities of Glass Making', London, 1849 records them as having been made in Venice in 1500. (Clarke and Penny 1982).'

m

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Offline flying free

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Kev, what did you think of the doorknob comment in the V&A notes?

m

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Offline KevinH

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Sorry m, but I have temporarily lost touch with this info (a couple of other projects claimed precedence).

Which comment about a doorknob are you referring to? And did you mean "V&A"?
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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I know ... I post too much information  :-[ sorry  ;D

But this info in the V&A notes on Millefiori Balls

[Mod: edited to point to earlier post rather than have another copy of text - see Reply #42, final paragraph]

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Offline KevinH

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Thanks, I missed reading that full text (even though you did highlight it.)

1. The info comes from the British Museum site, not the V&A

2. The comment about "beads exactly similar" seems to me to simply refer to similar canes in larger sized beads. I would not want a cabinet with a not-really-spherical "ball" as a drawer-pull or cupboard-knob. I would much prefer a well made round bead. But without a drawing or photo of the "knobs", we can't really say what Mr Morritt was describing.

3. Also of interest is Morritt's final comment: "... the enamel being embedded in the glass without being fused ...". How could the enamel (canes) be "embedded" in the glass but not "fused"? Did he mean the canes were loose? Or perhaps he was he in awe of how the canes were seemingly all whole and not fully squashed into each other?
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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1.  Sorry

2.  But what sized bead are we talking about here?  A drawer pull or knob is hardly likely to be useful if it is the size of a bead on a beaded necklace (which is what I think of when someone mentions the word 'bead'). Am I under a misapprehension of what other people think of as a 'bead'?

3. I think he just meant that they appeared to be 'separate' and individual cane bits suspended in the glass ball.  Rather than a series of murrines/canes placed next to each other and fused to form a solid layer as you might find in murrine/millefiori bowls for example (items that he might have had an understanding of how they might have been made).  And was in awe of 'how did they do that' as you say without the canes misforming or squashing.

Perhaps he really had no idea how it was made  - that's eminently possible given Pellatt (in 1849) thought it unknown enough to explain to his audience/ readers how a millefiori ball was made (at a time before millefiori paperweights were on the market big time)

Or perhaps he understood how they 'might' have been made, but was questioning the detail of the technique for making them and looking for specifics on how they really were made?  Most people (friends unconnected with glass) have no idea who a millefiori paperweight is made at all and couldn't even begin to conceive how it might be made.

By the way, just for dating context on that paragraph -

Payne Knight (1750 -1824)

Payne Knight was I believe Richard Payne Knight  (15 February 1750 – 23 April 1824)  who left a collection of items including bronzes to the British Museum.  So his Manuscript, referred to within that para, obviously was written within that period i.e. not later than 1824.

Morritt (1771 -1843)

The British Museum says of Morritt:
'John Bacon Sawrey Morritt (politician/statesman; British; Male; 1771 - 1843)

Also known as
Morritt, John Bacon Sawrey

Biography
Of Rokeby; MP; traveller and scholar. From 1794 to 1796, accompanied by his tutor, Robert Stockdale, he travelled through Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, where he acquired a number of antiquities. Morritt inherited a large fortune, including the estate of Rokeby, which his father had purchased in 1769 from Thomas Robinson. The so-called Rokeby Venus, a seventeenth-century painting of the toilet of Venus by Diego Velázquez, now in the National Gallery, London, was formerly in his possession.

Bibliography
J. B. S. Morritt, The letters of John B. S. Morritt of Rokeby … in the years 1794–96, 2nd edn (1985) [with introduction by P. J. Hogarth]
'


Neither appear to be specialist glass collectors or authorities on glass.  Therefore I wonder if their comments are of the 'general' observational nature of a collector of rarities of interest,  rather than coming from a 'expert or specialist glass authority' point of view?
I don't wish to be rude to them, but the fact they had lots of money or had many rare items doesn't make their comments an authority on how something was made does it?

It also leads me to question:
a) how similar really were the beads Morritt bought to the Millefiori ball left by Payne Knight to the British Museum? 
b) Did they even date from a similar period to the Millefiori Ball?  He does say '
They are no longer made now & I was told that the secret by which the enamel was embedded in the glass without being fused was now lost.', and clearly since he died in 1843, that comment was written before then.  However, they might have dated to late 18th (when he was on his travels and collecting his antiquities- or were they no longer making beads or millefiori bead in Murano by that time?), or 16th century when the Millefiori Ball dates from.  We don't know. 

We all know items that look superficially similar to other items but could be centuries apart in age.

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Offline TanToday

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Which comment about a doorknob are you referring to? And did you mean "V&A"?

As for Apsley Pellat doorknobs, I happen to own one, it was just referenced ->((Featured in article by Tad McKeon and Jim Barton in the 2016 ANNUAL BULLETIN OF THE PAPERWEIGHT COLLECTORS ASSOCIATION, INC. , Page 11, figure 17 }}

For reference, here are some quick shots of the doorknob:

Size is 2.58 inches wide, by 2.85 inches long, 11.4 ounces in weight.


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Offline KevinH

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Thanks Tan.

Good to have an image in the GMB of a doorknob by Apsley Pellatt. However, the "doorknob" under discussion, was a millefiori type "Venetian ball", or perhaps a larger Venetian bead, possibly dating to around 1500 that was supposed to have been used as a knob for a cabinet.
KevinH

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