Antonio Salviati, Vase, ‘Facon de Venise’, 1888. Blown glass (pagliesco). 2/ goblet, 1889. Murano, Venice, Italy. Via Maas Museum
In 1859 Dr Antonio Salviati set up a Murano company to revive traditional Venetian glass. In 1877 the company split into a London-based firm and his own glassworks. The initial success of the firm relied much of the writings of the English critic John Ruskin’s in which he declared the glass of Venice to be vastly superior to the English cut crystal that dominated the market.
At first, renaissance designs were copied at Salviati. Soon, the contemporary taste for eclectic historicism and fantasy brought a new flavour. Dragons, dolphins, seahorses and twisted filigree patterns dazzled with technical bravura.