As the trend for home improvements continues into 2021, after a surge in online sales for objects d’art and homewares in 2020, Nicholas Wells Antiques is delighted to bring to your attention one of our masterpieces. The green, blue, and red really drew my eye in, and bright colours are one of the key features of Murano, as well as the exquisite craftsmanship that goes into each piece. Minerals are used in the making of the glass and these minerals melt along with the glass, resulting in specific colour shades; blue from cobalt, red from gold, green from iron. Multi – coloured glass is a technique called chalcedony, which was developed by noted artisan Angelo Barovier in the 15th century.
Murano pieces range across vases, sculptures, jewellery, mirrors, and chandeliers, which is the object of focus here. Murano is an island in Venice, Italy and glass has been made there since the 13th century and glassmaking in Venice as a whole has taken place for one thousand years and counting. It’s often on the tourist trail for visitors to the Venetian city and it really shouldn’t be missed, if you are ever down that way. Being in Venice really feels like you are in one of the original European tourist destinations. Just the experience of traveling from one island to another via boat is special in itself. And of course, new glass is being blown in Murano all the time.
Murano glass blowing is a gold standard still learned by glass artists all over the world as part of their training, much like the techniques of other crafts from particular countries, such as chefs learning French cuisine, for example. Venetian glass is melted and moulded, unlike rock crystal or lead glass which is cut, and all glass objects involve the work of at least two artisans, meaning there is more than one maker. Despite the delicate nature of glass, the process by which it’s made requires hard physical graft and glass blowers suffer considerable respiratory ill health for their art, working in factory like conditions for much of their careers, next to furnaces that melt sand up to 3000 degrees. The glass making recipe and process was protected under law for many hundreds of years by the Venetian glass guild and penalties for leaking these secrets could result in execution. Napoleon closed the factories but there was a resurgence in the 19th century, which leads us to the strong art market that Murano still has today.
Murano glass has become much rarer in 2020, as Covid19 has seriously affected the industry as tourism has slowed down and the furnaces have been turned off as restrictions came in. And even if some furnaces have now re opened, the process of making glass involves close contact of glass artisans, as the piece is passed from one maker to the next in the incredibly intricate dance of production. There are glass studios across the world where you can go and view contemporary glass being made, one such studio being London Glassblowing in Bermondsey, where glass is on display in the front gallery shop, with live timed displays of glass blowing at the rear. It really is quite a special experience. If you can’t wait for covid 19 to settle down to book a trip there, you can always search the many YouTube videos online to have a sneak peek of how glass is made in the meantime. Murano glass is owned in collections all over the world, and this particular piece is now available. It’s a splendid example of Murano and a piece from the 19th century, and a chandelier of this size and complexity is rare, especially when made of glass. Even when not lit, the individual pieces of glass reflect the light in the room, making the chandelier glisten from every angle, it would brighten up any living space. It is in excellent condition and intact and dimensions are 210 cm high and 140 cm wide. Made up of floral and foliate elements, originally the piece would have held wax candles but the piece has been modernized to hold electric candles. Our fine art shipper will carefully pack and send the chandelier to your home, anywhere in the world. Click here to see more information about our Murano Masterpiece: Murano Chandelier