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Venetian Glass

Returning to Italy, and to its purer style, before briefly proceeding to trace the first causes of the general decline of revived Classical Art, we propose glancing at one or two branches of industry it would be unfair to altogether pass over. The first and most interesting of them is that of Venetian Glass - a commodity which helped to spread the fame of Venice far and wide over the habitable globe.

Ornaments designed for Marquetry by Fay, ia the style of Louis Seize.

The taking of Constantinople by the Turks, in 1453, drove the skilled Greek workmen then to Italy; and at that period the glass manufacturers of Venice learned from the exiled Greeks the modes of enriching their productions by coloring, gilding, and enamelling. In the early part of the sixteenth century, the Venetians appear to have invented the art of introducing threads of color and opaque white (latticinio) glass into the substance of the articles they manufactured, forming beautiful and enduring enrichment, suitable, from the lightness of its character, to the delicate form of the objects to which it was applied.

The secret of this art was most jealously guarded by the State and the severest penalties were enacted against any workmen who should divulge it, or exercise their craft in any other country. On the other band, the masters of the glass-houses at Murano received great privileges, and even the workmen were not classed with ordinary artisans. In 1602 a gold coin was struck at Murano, with the avowed object of handing down to posterity the names of those who established the first glass-houses on the island; and from it we learn that they were the following: Muro, Leguso, Motta, Bigaglia, Miotti, Briati Gazzabin, Vistosi, and Ballarin.

For about two centuries the Venetians contrived to retain their valuable secret, and monopolised the glass trade of Europe; but at the commencement of the eighteenth century, the taste for heavy cut glass began to prevail, and the trade was dispersed to Bohemia, France, and England.

Panels designed by Fay, in the style of Louis Seize.

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