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A PAIR OF VENETIAN AVENTURINE GLASS HANDLES

Details
A PAIR OF VENETIAN AVENTURINE GLASS HANDLES
Mid-18th century

Of tapering faceted form and slightly marbled brown tint flecked with a profusion of copper crystals, with ribbed scallop-edged ferrules, the blade stamped GR beneath a crown for Daniel Gurney, the fork with two tines
3in. (7.5cm.) and 2 3/4in. (7cm.) long (2)

Lot Essay

Called 'Avventurina' or 'Stellaria' in Italian, this glass is found in dark-purple as well as the present reddish-brown tint. Such glass was known in antiquity, but the process of its manufacture became lost; however, was accidently rediscovered (It. ventura = chance) at Murano in the 16th century and for the next two hundred years was a popular medium for small decorative items such as cutlery handles, boxes and other miniature objects perhaps intended for display in a 'cabinet of curiosities' rather than for use. Cf. the pair of small faceted silvergilt mounted wine-glasses sold in these Rooms on 22 November 1988, lot 95 and the three-tiered sweetmeat-stand with German giltmetal mounts sold by Christie's Geneva on 15 May 1990, lot 85A

For further discussions on aventurine glass see Hugh Tait, The Golden Age of Venetian Glass, p. 94 and Robert Charleston, 'Glass Souvenirs of the Grand Tour', The International Ceramics Fair and Seminar Catalogue, 1989, pp. 25-26 and ibid, p. 26, pl. 4
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