Murano glass vase
above: Murano Glass
vase by Seguso marked
Seguso Viro Murano

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Murano Glass from
The Glass Encyclopedia

A short explanation of Murano Glass:
Glass and glassmaking skills were spread thoughout Europe some two thousand years ago by the Romans who made bottles, vases, and hollow vessels in Rome for supply throughout their empire.

There was a decline in glassmaking when the Roman Empire fell, but the success of Venice as a trading centre attracted glass craftsmen from Syria and other eastern centres to Italy. Venice had established itself as a glassmaking centre as early as 450 A.D.

Probably starting with glass mosaic tiles, glassmaking continued to flourish in Venice. In the thirteenth century there was a Glassmakers' Guild, and in 1292 an ordinance was passed in the city which banished glassmaking to the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon. The reason was partly to protect other buildings from fires (which commonly started in glassworks - the Great Fire of London is believed to have started in a glassworks); and partly to retain a monopoly on the glass trade. The death penalty was used as a threat to keep glassworkers on Murano, and it was even forbidden to teach foreigners the trade secrets of glassmaking.

Throughout the middle ages Venetian glass led the world. Their great secrets included the formula for Cristallo glass, a very clear transparent glass which was particularly well suited to elaborate trailing and thinly-blown, intricate designs. They also used thinly sliced millefiori canes, and many of their designs were similar to popular Roman designs, albeit thinner and more delicate. Another of their great inventions was lattimo or milk glass, an opaque milky white glass. They made some white cups and beakers, but mostly lattimo glass was used in the form of thin canes to make elaborate lacy patterns in clear glass.

Murano supremacy in glassmaking was challenged and overtaken during the 19th & 20th centuries by glassmakers in Bohemia and England and later in Scandinavia. More recently, the Contemporary (Studio) Glass Movement was slow to take off in Italy, but is well in evidence there today.

There are many books on Murano Glass. Here is our selection which you should find interesting. Click on any of the book covers or title to read more about that book.

Lino Tagliapietra book Venini Art of Glass book Venini Light book Venice and US studio glass book AVEM book Murano and US artists book Fratelli Toso book Important Italian Glass Aureliano Toso Segusa Vetri 2014 Murano Island 2013 Lino Tagliapietra 2011 Exquisite Glass Ornaments VivaVetro 2008 Seguso by Pina 2007 Venini Glass 2007 Colours of Murano glass 2006 Murano Island of Glass 2006 Anzolo Fuga 2005 Murano Island Glass Murano glass Themes Murano glass book Murano history Seguso glass book Fratelli Tosso glass book Italian glass book Islamic Influence Venetian glass book Beyond Venice Venetian glass book Venini glass book Venini glass book Italian glass Italian glass book

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