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Author Topic: Apsley Pellatt Curiosities of Glassmaking 1849-Venetian Ball & French Millefiori  (Read 7772 times)

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Offline KevinH

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See also: http://renvenetian.cmog.org/object/millefiori-ball for an example of a "Venetain Ball" said to be made "about 1500"; 5.1 cm (2 inch) diameter.

Note that in the video in that link the CMoG "millefiori ball" is made by blowing a bubble and then covering with millefiori and a final layer of clear. The result is a "hollow millefiori ball". The "Venetian ball" illustrated in Pellatt's 1849 book is, of course, stated as "solid" and according to Pellat, made by "conglomerating the millefiori".

And as an extra point for the general discussion in this thread, the first example of "Venetain ball" that M linked to in the previous post is illustrated in Paperweights by Sybille Jargstorf, 1991, page 11. The illustration is included in a chapter headed "Hollow blown glass spheres". That was another of my earlier "reasons" for saying that "Venetian balls" were hollow - but as with my reading of the Kovacek text, I should have thought a bit more about that - it might be hollow, it might not.
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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Interesting. 
I wonder if Pellatt assumed they were solid (perhaps he thought of them as a bit like a giant bead), hence his description of how they were made?
Or, perhaps he had seen a millefiori paperweight (mid 19th century) as we know it and assumed the 15th/16th/17th century Venetian balls were made in the same way?

I was thinking that if the ones that have come to light are pierced through the centre, it would be more likely they would have been hollow. i.e. it was probably possible to pierce a hole top and bottom in the them, but to drill a hole through a 2 inch diameter ball was less likely to be successful in that day and age.
However, they managed to pierce through a bead so perhaps used the same technique that was used in that era, to pierce the larger millefiori balls?

I suppose it is possible that Pellatt assumed they were solid because he only read about them but never saw or handled one,  but later research has proved they were hollow?

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Offline flying free

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I've now read Jargstorf.

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Offline flying free

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 In many books I read, I find that it is vastly irritating and probably the cause of many 'myths' not to include sizes (at the very least) when referencing items - and more helpfully weight as well. 

   In this case it might be what has caused distinct confusion for 500 years among those discussing Venetian Balls for example.  Starting with Sabellico who should have given the size  of the item he was describing. (I've deleted that as having tried to translate Sabellico, I wonder if the misconceptions have arisen down to the way what he wrote has been translated, rather than the fact he didn't put sizes of items).

Having tried to do a translation from a text in the PK article I have linked in my post below, I'm curious as to whether Sabellico was actually describing a ball? 
Jargstorf appears to also query this but questions whether he was actually referring to 'little recipients made in such glass' (Jargstorf, Paperweights pp13) by which I understand she means small bowls etc.

My query from the translation would be was he actually really referring to the millefiori canes themselves, not balls or small glass millefiori items like bowls etc.


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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

Information on that link discussing the item (Museum inventory number from Basel I linked to above in post 29 .  It gives a different diameter size to the piece if I have read it correctly (the inventory number is the same 1917.824.)

It says the spherical item is 3.7mm not the 3.25mm given in the museum link I gave above.

Aus dem Katalog: Kat.Nr. 44, S. 124-127
Millefiori-Kugel
Venedig, 16. Jhdt.
Glas farblos und in verschiedensten opaken
und transparenten Farben. Gold.
Fehlstellen, geklebt, kleine runde Abplatzungen
D 3,7 cm
Basel, Historisches Museum, Inv.1917.824

It appears when translated via google (always difficult to ascertain whether the google translating is correctly done and correctly read by me) to say that these balls were solid.

The PK also gives a written Latin version from Sabellico.  When I translate that I find it hard to see where he is describing a ball?  It looks like he was describing millefiori canes?

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Offline flying free

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I have amended my reply no 33 (just in case it had been read just after I first wrote it).

I have just looked at the Sabellico translation again.

He appears from the translation I am reading, to describe a 'short ball'.  I wonder if that might be a flat cut cross section of cane, which could be described as a be a 'flat circle' (i.e. a 'short ball'?) - with 'short' being the translated word for a 'flat slice' (which would be low in height and hence short) and 'ball' being the translated word used to describe it being 'circular'?


Just wondering ...  ::)


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Offline KevinH

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Ha ha. It's fun isn't it.

I agree entirely that having no sizes stated in much of the literature is a problem. And having little in the way of provenance does not help either. However, so many books are "summaries" rather than "aids to analysis" - and that could easily be influenced by the publishers and their deadlines.

But, yes, to those of us who try to understand the details, a lack of size, weight, provenance etc. can lead to all sorts of guesswork and assumptions.

Sibylle Jargstorf is, in my view, a breath of fresh air in terms of raising alternative ideas and possibilities (and not just with "Venetian balls") instead of simply repeating long-held beliefs.

Another author, Paul Hollister Jr., in his 1969 book, The Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights, gave views on a number of points that some people at the time probably found rather challenging - including the idea that classic paperweight making began about 1842 and was probably simultaneous with work in Silesia-Bohemia. And his first comment (on page 1 of the book) relating to the "Venetian ball" stated:
Quote
The glass conglomerate of the Venetian ball, cylinder, or cube of the early 1840s is not a paperweight in the Classic sense.
The way I read that, is that Hollister was making a distinction between a) what collectors now call a "paperweight" and b) some decorative items that were probably based on the older "Venetian balls" mentioned by Sabellico. But even so, Hollister's sentence, taken out of full context, could appear rather contentious - "What? Did he just say that 'Venetian balls' were from the 1840s?"

But I digress (again). I must get back to my research notes and preparation of "brief comments" on all the questions.

But then again ... how about a comment on translation of Latin ... see next post.
KevinH

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Offline KevinH

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As stated by M, earlier, Sibylle Jargstorf gave an opinion that the Latin word “pila” could not only translate as “balls” or “columns” but also as “recipients”. And by “recipients” she was alluding to “little buckets” [cups, vessels etc.?]  and “small bowls”. The implication, in the way I read it, is that the “Venetian balls” of Sabellico (c1495) were therefore not actually the “conglomerated mass” that Pellatt wrote about in 1849 but were simply the millefiori canes decorating some “vessels” of the 15th century. If that is true then Pellatt’s illustrated “Venetian ball” may not have been as early as the 15th century.

Some of the literature indicates that the early “Venetian balls” were attributed (by museums etc.) through cane matching to “known wares” including cups, bowls etc.[vessels], from around the 15th / 16th / 17th centuries. And that would reasonably fit with Jargstorf’s idea.

Whether Sabellico, the Venetian historian who wrote the Latin term “… brevi pila …” actually meant “little balls” or “little columns” or “little bowls and things [vessels]” is still not settled – at least, not in the literature. So, in preference to Google translate and various online Latin dictionaries, I checked a Latin-English dictionary that I just happen to have at home: Cassell’s Latin Dictionary, 1955 edition, first published 1887. It gives …

Latin
1. pila – a mortar
2. pila – a pillar
3. pila – a ball (I – a ball to play with; II – any ball or sphere-shaped substance, a balloting ball)

English
a) mortar = a vessel, pila, mortarium
b) pillar, columen, pila (=support for a bridge, etc.), columna (= column)
c) ball, 1, pila; 2, the __ of the earth, terrae globus; the eye__,  pupilla; a musket __, lapis (as thrown by a ballista); 3, = a dance, saltatio

This appears to give credence to Jargstorf’s thought. The meaning of “mortar / a vessel” [bucket, bowl etc.] is certainly included. And if the entries in the dictionary are weighted by primary usage, then “pila = a mortar” is the primary meaning. But does “mortar” really translate into “vessel”, in the sense of a millefiori decorated bowl or cup etc?

No other author that I am aware of has made the link that Jargstorf did. Other authors touch on the “sphere / column” question, ignoring the “vessel” idea, but without definite conclusion. However, Hollister, in The Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights, page 12, says in reference to the Sabellico text:
Quote
(Translation by Paul Perrot Three Centuries of Venetian Glass, Corning, New York, 1958, p.17.) Perrot says, “The word ‘ball’ might refer to a type similar to the late 15th century enamelled millefiori globe at the Sigmaringen Museum, Germany, or it could be translated as ‘column’ and refer to the millefiori canes themselves.”
The idea of “column” meaning “length of [millefiori] cane” is mentioned by various authors. And it would tie in with Jargstorf’s idea. But others seem to favour a meaning of “pedestal” or “stand”, which seems odd to me because it would suggest that some people believe Sabellico’s “… brevi pila …” were all “little stands”! [I will have to review those references, as the idea of “little stands” does not make sense to me.]
KevinH

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Offline flying free

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I do see what you mean and it is quite possible that doing a direct word by word translation will give the correct meaning.
Alternately however, analysing a direct translation of one word individually takes the words out of the phrase of context.  And it could well be that within the context of reference, the phrase has a different meaning.

So for example- I directly pasted the Pressglas Korrespondenz latin transcript into Google translate.
and what came up was the translation below.  You will see I have highlighted the word 'weapons'.  That word taken on it's own, and put into google, translates as 'vessels'.  However, I think the use of the word 'weapons' fits just as well within the context of the fact that maybe he/they saw the technique of 'millefiori' development as a secret weapon in their arsenal of glass developments. (It mentions 'apart from the price' - perhaps indicating they were expensive to make and hence sell?) It does read to me as though he is 'bigging up' the glass industry on Murano.  What do you think?

On the other hand the word vessels might transform the sentence into ' what about the Murrine vessels'?  Except for the price. '  Perhaps indicating he was talking about vessels with Millefiori or murrines in them and they were expensive.

Unfortunately the following sentence including the word 'Age' is difficult to translate.  Age just keeps coming up as 'age' which doesn't fit.
If I lift the whole sentence but take out hte word 'Age' it reads:
'
vero cui primo venit in mentem brevi pila includere
omnia florum genera, quibus vernantia vestiuntur
prata?'


translating to:
'may include the first ball of truth which has come to your mind in a short time
flowers of all kinds, in which the greening clothing
Meadows? '

or on a second translation where I move the gap between the word 'Age' and the next word giving one space only it translates as
'Age, however, which first came to mind include a short ball
flowers of all kinds, in which the greening clothing
Meadows? ''


Full text copied and translated as one on google here:
 

'Murianum From this village, but those buildings
majesty and grandeur of the city is far away
belonging to it. The length of a mile
clear. Vitrarius factories especially highlighted.
First, he shows a fine glass can be found
crystal white lie, as soon as they are procacia
the tempers of men, and to be added it has found,
no inertia, in a thousand different colors innumerable
forms of matter began to flex. Hence cups
on the bowl, pot, pots, pitchers, candlesticks, all
kinds of animals, the horns, the segments, with chains of gold, on the other
all areas of human pleasures, whatever they may be on the one side
and that hardly dared to delight the eyes of mortal life
you would expect. There is a kind of precious stone,
that there is vltraria industry immitates. pleasant
Man and nature of the conflict. What about murina
Here are the weapons? Except for the price Age is the first to come to mind include a short ball
flowers of all kinds, in which the greening clothing
Meadows? But all of these things with the sea
subiecere business, so that no one else credible
thought that the excessive use of worthless occeperint. nor
One family house auf novice stuck found
a large part of the village glows like factories.'



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Offline flying free

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Just for information:

with regards my comments quoted below about the 'Venetian Ball' in the Basel Museum, the PK article also says it has a continous drilled hole through it of 4mm diameter.


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

Information on that link discussing the item (Museum inventory number from Basel I linked to above in post 29 .  It gives a different diameter size to the piece if I have read it correctly (the inventory number is the same 1917.824.)

It appears when translated via google (always difficult to ascertain whether the google translating is correctly done and correctly read by me) to say that these balls were solid.'

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