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Author Topic: Apsley Pellatt Curiosities of Glassmaking 1849-Venetian Ball & French Millefiori  (Read 7705 times)

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Offline flying free

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rather unfortunately this report is not dated but appears to have been done after 1979 since that is a dated reference source on the report.
file:///C:/Users/usr_16355/Downloads/EXAMINATIONOFAGLASSBEADFROMWINCHESTERHAMPSHIRE..pdf

It appears to read that the ball was solid because of discussion about the surface iridescence on the inner surface of the bead where it had cracked from what I can see.
It calls it a 'bead' and says it was 45mm in diameter and had an hole drilled through the centre with a hole diameter of 6.5mm.

This appears to be larger in diameter than one I found online (see Bonhams link) and which was described as a millefiori 'ball'  with a diameter of only 35mm
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22839/lot/8/

It also reads as though it were solid.
m

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Offline KevinH

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Although I have not yet returned to the things I said I was looking into, I thought the following might be of interest, regarding "Venetian Ball" (and paperweights in general):

The Glass Collector a Guide to Old English Glass, by Maciver Percival, New York, Dodd, Mead & Company 1919. I have a Second Edition copy, published by Herbert Jenkins Limited, London (no publication date). The text and image I refer to below are the same in both the New York and London editions.

Using the link above, search for "Venetian Ball" then click on the indicators at the lower edge of the display.  Or use the page navigation (point and click on the grey page edges) to locate pages 151 & 320. Page 151 is the start of the chapter titled "Curios".  The first reference to "Venetian Ball" is on page 152 but it is worth reading from page 151 to get some context in preparation for the section titled "Paper-Weights". Having looked at that section, check out page 320 and the associated image plate for Item 3.

And there we have it ... text on the "Venetian Ball" and an illustrated example to show how it was used in the late 18th / early 19th century.

Well, that was what at least one author told folk almost a hundred years ago! :)
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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 ;D
bottle made late 1700s?    :-\
or was it ? :-[  Never seen one that early.

Actually an interesting comment - but what about the sucking out of air, that appears to be what Pellatt wrote.
It's a bit strange but perhaps they were trying to communicate that it wasn't hollow. And perhaps that was the only way they could communicate about the glass being in liquid state when it was being worked, or something?

m

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Offline flying free

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not a 'ball' or big 'bead' but a bowl
Interested to see this one is labled as
'Millefiori dish ; Presumably Catalonia to 1550-1600 ; Formerly collection Thewalt , Cologne ; Photo : LVR - Centre for Media and Education ; Stefan Arendt , 2011'

http://www.smkp.de/sammlungen/glas/bestand/

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Offline flying free

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http://www.pressglas-korrespondenz.de/aktuelles/pdf/pk-2015-3w-romont-2015-baumgartner-reflets-venise.pdf

did I post this previously?  It's exhausting trying to translate it but does it raise a query over the date and the place of production definitely being Venice?

I think it also reference Sabellico's writings - is there more information in there perhaps?
I 'think' although someone will need to correct me, that it says these were all solid?

I 'think' it says that there may be mileage in all these piece being compared to see if it is possible to match any of the canes/filigrana they contain?

Looks like this might be an ongoing project :) somewhere maybe?

m

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Offline KevinH

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Yes m, you linked to the PK article a couple of times: Reply 34 & Reply 39.
KevinH

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oops - sorry.
m

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Offline KevinH

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I have created a new thread "Letter Weights" with some cross references back here.
KevinH

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Offline KevinH

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At last - my thoughts on “confusions” in Pellat’s Curiosities of Glass Making.
(Sorry for the length, but I have tried to make it fun as well as serious.)

Pages 109 & 110 cover short sections of text for “Venetian Ball” and “Mille-Fiori”. Pages 141 & 142 cover brief text describing Figures in colour plate VI. Fig 1 is a “Venetian Ball” and Fig 2 is a piece from either the bowl or foot of a 19th century French tazza formed from close-packed millefiori canes.

The text on page 110, for the “Venetian Ball” refers directly to Plate VI, Fig 1. The text for “Mille-Fiori” has no direct reference to Plate VI (but it does have its own line drawing).

After reading about the “Venetian Ball”, I had a look at its Plate VI image and then went back to page 110 to read about “Mille-Fiori”. The line drawing in the “Mille-Fiori” section shows a “double transparent glass cone” with millefiori canes inserted in the cavity between the walls of the “cone”. The text for that section describes how the “cone” is worked and can then be “shaped into a tazza, paperweight & co”.

First confusion – why would a “double-walled cone with canes in its cavity” be the method used to make a paperweight? I could understand that a bowl or foot of a tazza might be formed that way, but even then there is a problem …

Having returned to the Plate VI details, I noticed that the Fig2 was, in fact, a piece of a millefiori tazza (19th century French). The corresponding text said the “cones” [a misprint for “canes”] were “inclosed  in white transparent glass, as described in the manipulatory portion of the work (see page 110).”

Aha! Back to page 110 then.

There it is: “the air is sucked out of the double-walled case [or “cone”], as further explained in the cameo illustration”. Checking the reference to the “cameo illustration” confirmed the method of enclosing a sulphide in a bubble of glass from which the air is sucked out to collapse the glass around the sulphide. So, no doubt, then. When the air is exhausted from the “double-walled cone” the walls will collapse and hold the millefiori canes as an “homogenous mass”.

But hold on a minute! I recalled the text from page 109 about the “Venetian Ball”. It definitely said that it was made by “conglomerating” pieces of filigree packed into a “pocket” of transparent glass. And the “conglomerating” was achieved by sucking the air out of the “pocket”.

Second confusion – was the “pocket” of glass, as used to make the Venetian Ball, the same thing as the “double-walled cone” as shown in the line drawing for the “Mille-Fiori” work? After all, the “Mille-fiori” section did say the “homogenous mass now conglomerated” could be used to form a paperweight.

Third confusion – switching my thoughts quickly back to the tazza, I re-examined the image for Fig 2 of Plate VI. Yes, sure enough, the millefiori canes were not set up as a jumble of pieces all lying in various directions. They were set very neatly such that the pattern on the ends of the cane slices could be seen through both the top and underside of the bowl / foot. So … how did the glass worker manage to drop the tiny pieces of cane slices into a double-walled “cone” such that they fell (or slid) adjacent to each other and always in the same plane?

Something odd is going on. In fact, it all sounds a bit odd to me!

Conclusion
The “double-walled cone” process for encasing millefiori canes (and also lengths of filigrana?) may possibly have been used as described by Pellatt to form a type of paperweight. But I doubt it. And I doubt its use for such as a tazza, also.

I feel sure that the two sections on pages 109 & 110 of the book, and their own corresponding images and descriptions in the Plate VI details, must be kept separate. There should be no mental link between the two sections via millefiori canes, or by any similar sounding “air extraction” process.

Pellatt’s “cameo incrustation” process for encasing a sulphide by sucking out air from a single-walled “pocket” of glass was successful for his own products. And, instead of the “double-walled cone” procedure, the “single-walled pocket” idea could conceivably have been used to form the basis of the “Venetian Ball”. It is feasible that a blown cup could be constructed such that the outer layer of canes and filigree were kept in the desired position while the central, and less visible, part just consisted of a compressed mass.

However …

When I think about how the “Venetian Ball” may have constructed, it seems much simpler for the “ancients” to have used a procedure similar to modern ones – and also similar to those of Bigaglia for his so-called “1845 first paperweights”. I have asked someone about this – they have handled some Bigaglia weights and they kindly told me how they appeared to have been made. The process was checked by looking through the base of the weights, which showed a small section of clear glass around which a few layers of canes and filigree (and aventurine?) were set. My interpretation is as follows:

Start with a small gather of clear glass on the iron. Now pick up a layer of millefiori canes and filigree such that the clear glass is fully coated. Apply heat, then pick up another layer of canes and filigree. Maybe each layer would be marvered to make it smoother before the next layer is added. Repeat the layering as necessary and add a final coating of clear. Now shape into the sphere, cube, or whatever. Voila! A solid ball of jumbled canes and filigree.


(I am still keeping an open mind on all of this – I might be mistaken in my ideas.)
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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I haven't followed it very well and it's very late but that's going to have to be a very tiny 'start' gather for a large 'bead' of 2.5cm or 3.5cm diameter isn't it, which is the size of a couple of them (c.?17th century) I've linked to?

It is however, exactly the process I used to make my paperweight, although that was not rolled in millefiori but in coloured 'frits'(2 layers). I've just attached mine because I'm proud of it and managing to get it to hold a nice shape  ;D not because it adds anything  :-[



m

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