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Author Topic: victorian scramble paperweight ????  (Read 1935 times)

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Offline Grady

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victorian scramble paperweight ????
« on: August 21, 2015, 03:57:19 PM »
Hi, I bought this paperweight at a boot fair last weekend. On Line research has brought me to think it may be victorian and to this forum. Your opinions or help in identification would be appreciated. Thank you Grady

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Offline tropdevin

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2015, 08:46:48 PM »
Hi Grady.  It is a Murano paperweight.  The clarity / brightness of the colours suggests to me it is no later than mid 20th century.  I would have thought it was 1950s - 1970s - certainly later than Victorian.
Alan
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Offline glassobsessed

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Offline tropdevin

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2015, 07:27:42 AM »
***

Hi.  I am not convinced that either of those two pieces are mid 19th century.  The dated Murano paperweights from Bigaglia are well documented, and tend to use canes as well as ribbon, and have duller colours and poorer quality glass (eg the one below).  I think the clearer glass and brighter colours came along later.  They may be late 19th century...but the style continues to this day.

Alan
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Offline rocco

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2015, 11:04:38 AM »
I have a -- possibly -- stupid question: wouldn't the snapped-off pontil suggest a date at least pre 1940?
IMHE there is not much Murano glass post WW2 with a base finish like that.

I noticed that there are quite a few "antique" Venetian scramble weights with a base like that around, which are not necessarily Bigaglia, but might still be quite old...
I would think that there may have been other glassworks on Murano copying the style? Or was Bigaglia the only producer of paperweights there in the 1800s?

Michael

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Offline tropdevin

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2015, 11:18:06 AM »
***
Hi.  I think you are right about the base finish - the great majority of pieces made post WW2 have a polished base.  I have seen a few that had 1930s - 1940s millefiori canes with a gently concave polished base, and the odd one with a pontil scar, but nearly all are flat polished.  Regarding other makers besides Bigaglia, I am not sure that anyone has a definitive answer.  I believe that he is the only one widely referred to as making paperweights, but that does not rule out others.

Alan
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Offline rocco

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2015, 11:22:16 AM »
Alan, thank you very much for your reply!
Attributing Murano glass from any era seems a minefield ;)

Michael

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Offline KevinH

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2015, 03:15:39 PM »
When I saw this thread, before any replies were added, my initial thoughts were:
a) Hmm, looks too bright to be 19th century
b) Surely, it couldn't be a modern Chinese version - I think they do make "triple" or "knopped" weights like this?

Alan's first thoughts were along the same lines as mine. Then John's links to the "Weights-n-Things" examples made me think again.

And now I simply don't know!!

When I first became interested in paperweights, I understood from collectors and dealers that "Venetian / Murano" weights were separated by their general "look and feel". Those that were similar in style to "Bigaglia" weights and had a lack of brightness about them, were 19th century and known as "Venetian". Anything that was brighter and had a rather thicker glass coating, or an obvious "dome", were 20th century and known as "Murano".

And I also learned that 19th century examples could be separated into "Bigaglia" (by cane and twist matches to signed examples) and "later 19th century".

Maybe, with the extra knowledge and research of recent times, those generalized separation criteria are not very reliable. But do we really have enough evidence to be sure? I don't know.

The only thing I would add in detail is that the OP's weight and the first one that John linked to seem to have a very similar base finish, which to me looks half "cracked off" and half "fire polished" (hard to tell without close up images).

For elimination purposes, I tried tried to find some examples of modern Chinese examples but even Alibaba is not coming up with the ranges they used to show!!
KevinH

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Offline rocco

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2015, 11:19:58 AM »
Interesting thoughts, Kevin.

Not a second would I think the paperweight in question is Chinese.
As far as I have learned, base finish of Chinese paperweights is quite distinctive, regarding both the old 1930s ones and the newer / modern ones; I have never come across a Chinese paperweight with a broken pontil like that.
And I think I have never seen a Chinese scramble weight with these long pieces of "latticino" and twists.
The variety of twists and canes in Chinese paperweights seems rather limited, too.

And what I don't really see either is a huge difference in the brightness of colours between this knobbed paperweight and antique Venetian ones.
If you look at this Bigaglia weight, it is hard to imagine something much more colourful with the strong pink, blue and yellow canes >> http://www.theglassgallery.com/files/past-auctions/auction-56/004.jpg

As to when the weight which started this thread may have been made, I am as cluesless as you ;)
There seems to be a huge gap in knowledge between the classic period Venetian paperweights and the Murano paperweight production post WW2.

Michael

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Offline tropdevin

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Re: victorian scramble paperweight ????
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2015, 11:33:08 AM »
***

Hi.  I agree that the paperweight you have linked to looks very bright...a little too bright, in my opinion.  The image will have been processed, and it is easy to make changes that enhance the appearance excessively.  Here are three images of the same Bigaglia paperweight - only one looks like the actual paperweight does in the hand, but unless you are holding it you would not be sure which was most accurate.

Alan
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