Tuesday, December 20, 2016

King Louis XIV Breaks the Murano Monopoly and Gives Us Venetian Style Mirrors

By the time Venetian mirrors came into being in the late 15th century, the island of Murano had reigned as the world’s premier glass manufacturer for three centuries. The island had long been home to the world’s best glassmakers, in part precisely because it was an island. Artisans and glassmakers were isolated from much of the rest of the world specifically so that the secrets of Venetian glass would not find their way to other places. While Murano was something of a cage, it was for most of the glassmakers, a gilded one with a lifestyle many from outside would envy.

Although the techniques were certainly a critical element of the success of Venetian glass, in truth there were other factors that played a significant role as well, but there was no chance of their being easily stolen. Why? Because they included the unique salinity of the sea around Venice as well as the local salt and soda the glass was made from.

Besides the quality of the glass itself, the key process that made Venetian mirrors so sought after was a closely held secret called the Gold Dust Technique, where gold leaf would be inserted into the glass prior to the solidification process, leaving the gold leaf floating in the mirror's glass. Protected forever, the gold leaf added color and an eternal sparkle to the Venetian mirror.

By the middle of the 16th century Venetian mirrors were considered one of the most collectible forms of art in the world. It’s said that the mirrors were so sought after – and rare – that one would have been more valuable than a naval ship or a Rafael of the same size!

Gilded cages are, after all, still cages, and eventually three birds flew the coup. France’s Louis XIV succeeded in luring the Venetian glass makers to Paris and the monopoly of Murano glassmaking was history. Although the French quickly replicated some of the Venetian techniques, Venice and Murano would remain the world’s premier glass makers for centuries to come.

One result of the French breaking the Venetian monopoly was the fact that lower priced Venetian style mirrors became commonplace throughout Europe. It turned out that the market for a more affordable Venetian style mirror was considerable and demand was able to keep glass manufacturers across the continent humming for centuries.

Today Venetian style mirrors are still sought after, and we have a variety of them available. From beautiful classical styles to Art Deco and modern there’s a something for everyone… Just in time for Christmas!

The "Queen Anne" Venetian Style Mirror

"Bullseye" Venetian Style Mirror

"Rectangular Bullseye" Venetian Style Mirror

"Judy" Venetian Style Mirrored Coffee Table

"Hugh" Venetian style mirror

"Sevilla" Venetian style mirror

"Verona" Venetian Style Mirror

"Caroline" Venetian Style Mirror

"Angie 2" Rectangular Shaped Venetian Style Mirror

Early 20th century Italian Venetian Mirror
(Note:  This is a Venetian mirror, not a Venetian style mirror)

"Judy" Venetian Style Console Table

"Art Deco" Venetian style mirror

"Paris" Venetian Style Mirror

"Versailles" Venetian Style Mirror

"Milano" Venetian Style Mirror

"Roma" Venetian Style Mirror

"Classic" Venetian Style Mirror

"Etched Venetian" Venetian Style Mirror

"Octagonal" Venetian Style Mirror