From the mid-15th century Venice dominated the European tableware market with exotic, beautifully-made glasses that were exported widely. To contemporaries, 'Venetian' was a term denoting both quality and style - though by the late 16th century, 'Venetian-style' glass was being made in Antwerp, Amsterdam, London and other European centres, as well as in Venice.
'Venetian-style' glass was very clear and colourless ('cristallo') - though now it often appears cloudy or greyish. Opaque white, bright blue and other deep colours also appear. Glassblowers often used ribbed or patterned moulds - for example, to make beakers or drinking-glass stems - and pre-formed glass 'canes' of contrasting colours to produce striped or mesh effects. Some glasses were gilded, enamelled or engraved.
The Museum's collection is particularly important for studying the final stages of the 'Venetian style' in the 17th century. For 'Inghistera' bottles (made in Venice and elsewhere from the 15th century), see the Medieval section.
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