If you have been in Venice then you know the Murano Museum and its beguiling collection of Venetian glass, that old glass so vastly more beautiful in line and decoration than the modern type of, say, fifteen years ago, when colors had become bad mixtures, and decorations meaningless excrescences.
A bit of inside information given out to some one really interested, led to a revival of pure line and lovely, simple coloring, with appropriate decorations or none at all. You may already know that romantic bit of history. It seems that when the museum was first started, about four hundred years ago, the glass blowers agreed to donate specimens of their work, provided their descendants should be allowed access to the museum for models.
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This contract made it a simple matter for a connoisseur to get reproduced exactly what was wanted, and what was not in the market. Elegance, distinguished simplicity in shapes, done in glass of a single color, or in one color with a simple edge in a contrasting shade, or in one color with a whole nosegay of colors to set it off, appearing literally as flowers or fruit to surmount the stopper of a bottle, the top of a jar, or as decorations on candlesticks.
It was in the Museo Civico of Venice that we saw and fell victims to an enchanting antique table decorations formal Italian garden, in blown glass, once the property of a great Venetian family and redolent of those golden days when Venice was the playground of princes, and feasting their especial joy; days when visiting royalty and the world’s greatest folk could have no higher honor bestowed upon them than a gift of Venetian glass, often real marvels mounted in silver and gold.
We never tired of looking at that fairy garden with its delicate copings, balustrades and vases of glass, all abloom with exquisite posies in every conceivable shade, wrought of glass a veritable dream thing.
Finally, nothing would do but we must know if it had ever been copied. The curator said that he believed it had, and an address was given us. How it all comes back! We arose at dawn, as time was precious, took our coffee in haste and then came that gliding trip in the gondola, through countless canals, to a quarter quite unknown to us, where at work in a small room, we came upon our glass blower and the coveted copy of that lovely table-garden.
This man had made four, and one was still in his possession. We brought it back to America, a gleaming jeweled cobweb, and what happened was that the very ethereal quality of its beauty made the average taste ignore it! However, a few years have made a vast difference in table, as well as all other decorations, and to-day the same Venetian gardens have their faithful devotees, as is proved by the continuous procession of the dainty wonders, ever moving toward our sturdy shores.