24 June 2016
About this work
This ornate Venetian mirror is from the 18th century. The Venetian mirror was born on the tiny Italian island of Murano in Venice in the 15th century.
It was Venetian artists who perfected making clear plate glass. They also made modifications to the tin-mercury amalgam, adding gold and bronze in special proportions to make the images reflected even more beautiful. By the 16th century, nearly half of the island’s 7,000 inhabitants were involved in the glass-making industry, and it is still a glass-making center today. Murano’s techniques were so prized that master glass artisans were forbidden to leave by law, and it was only with great bribes that a few were convinced to travel to other countries and share their secrets. Read more.
Why is it in the Kettle’s Yard collection?
In A Way of Life, Kettle’s Yard founder Jim Ede writes:
This Venetian mirror was bequeathed to me by Leverton Harris, generous donor to the V&A and to the Fitzwilliam Museum. When I first hung it in our bedroom we could not sleep at night, it was like having the moon for company, so bright it shone. On our first weekend away from home I took it with me. An awkward companion, it has always astonished me how simply it fits into Kettle’s Yard.