Stem Formations on Venetian and Façon de Venise Wineglasses
Venice became the dominant glass manufacturing center from the 15th to the end of the 16th century. Glass objects in the Venetian style are of the finest quality light weight glass with attributes like delicacy, elaborateness, colorfulness (enamel decoration) created by highly skilled glassworkers. Byzantine craftsmen and glassworkers played an important role in the development of Venetian glass when they migrated from Constantinople to Venice in 1204 and again in 1453. Towards the end of the 13th century, the center of the Venetian glass industry was moved to Murano. By the 16th century, Venetian artisans had gained even greater control over the color and transparency of their glass, and had mastered a variety of decorative techniques. Murano artisans used specialized tools in the making of their glass. Some of these tools include borselle (tongs or jacks used to form the hot glass), soffietta (known as a puffer and used to inflate a vessel after it has been transferred to the punty), pontello or punty (an iron rod to which the craftsman attaches the glass after blowing to add final touches), scagno (the glass-master’s work bench) and tagianti (large glass-cutting clippers). Near the end of the 16th century Venice started to lose control over the luxury glass market. By the 17th century Façon de Venise (in the style of Venetian glass) was adopted in many countries of Europe and England. It should be noted that at approximately the same time period as the Venetians, highly skilled glassworkers were also busy in Altare. It is quite difficult to make a distinction between glass objects made in Venice or Altare. It is sometimes stated that the spreading of the art of making sophisticated glass over Europe mainly came from trained glassworkers from Altare as there was a ban on the free movement of glassworkers from Venice. What we nowadays call Façon de Venise glass made in Spain, France, and the Netherlands can be seen as the combined contributions of glassworkers from Altare and Venice. The renaissance of glassmaking in Britain can also be attributed to glassworkers from Italy. It remains quite difficult and tricky declaring glasses of Venetian/Altarian origin or Façon de Venise. For some it is quite clear and others can fall either way. Verre de Fougère is a sub-type of Façon de Venise glass from France and refers to glass made using fern-ash as a flux. The ash can give a specific “smoky” ,brownish, ginger or sandy coloring to the glass.
Stemware: is drinkware that stands on stems above a base. It is usually made from glass, but may be made from ceramics or metals. The stem allows the drinker to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink.
Purpose: What this post will try to do is to describe stem formations on Venetian and Façon de Venise glasses using photographs of these vessels. This is an analogy of L.M. Bickerton’s book, “Eighteenth Century English Drinking Glasses an Illustrated Guide” which names the elements of stem forms.
Co-Author Theo Zandbergen
Below are pictures of Venetian and Façon de Venise wineglasses, clicking on a picture will open it to a larger picture with a short description of the glass and it’s stem. To come back to this page, click on the X in upper right hand corner. The series of numbers below correspond to the number on the bottom of each small picture. Clicking (link) on one of these numbers will bring you to another page with more in-depth information on that glass. Using your back arrow will bring you back to this page.