A rare surviving piece of genuine Venetian "Ice Glass," attributed to the Barovier Furnaces of the 1890s. This magnificent spherical ice glass vase was once a lamp; the abusive hole which accommodated the lamp rod has been superbly restored by a now deceased master craftsman. The repair is so well done that it is only detectable after one has been told of it. Both the beauty and the attributed parallel history of the piece are worthy of inclusion in a museum collection.
It measures 6.5" (16.51 cm) high, and apx. 8.5" (21.59 cm) diameter, with rim at 2.25" (5.71 cm) to the outside of the collar. Applied ruffled, crystal collar is combed and included with gold; the pair of applied crystal leaf handles are also included with gold, and there is a small amount of gold in the applied crystal foot, which is, itself, made of ten pinched and combed standing sections.
For a bit of history, we turn to Sheldon Barr's Book on Venetian Glass...in 1895, five years after the death of Salviati and his assigning the Salviati furnaces to the Baroviers, several rejuvenating elements "...added new dimension to the production of the Barovier Family." One of those new elements was the "...introduction of a new color to the glassmaker's repertoire, a bright blood red...." It was the same blood red of this rare and striking ice glass vase.
The method of creating ice glass was first developed in Venice in the mid-16th Century.In an effort to give their prized "cristallo" [see "Glass Terms According to Barclay" at the very end of our blog] the Venetian glassmakers tirelessly experimented with new methods, eventually inventing "ice glass." A new, hot gather of glass, after a brief initial shaping, would be plunged momentarily into cold water. It was then gently reheated and the the final blowing resumed, causing all of the tiny cracks in the glass to spread, weblike, and enlarge, creating the crackled, glistening appearance of frosty ice. Our sparkling Ice Glass example is circa 1895-1900.