Vessel in the Shape of a Sea Horse

Vessel in the Shape of a Sea Horse

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Object Name: 
Vessel in the Shape of a Sea Horse
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 26.7 cm, W: 16.9 cm, Diam: 12.7 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
This spirited sea horse is a splendid example of a late 19th-century Venetian glassblower’s sculptural skill. With a few well-placed gestures, the craftsman captured the lively expression of this fantastic creature in glass. The sea horse has an elongated, hollow body that was blown of emerald green glass. Its head and its gracefully curling tail were tooled from the same bubble of glass. Yellow and black cane sections serve as eyes. The mane, wings, feet, and tail fin, as well as a row of scales along the creature’s back, were applied and tooled in colorless, gilded glass. The sea horse is mounted on a short, colorless stem that is attached to a blown emerald green pedestal foot with a folded foot-rim. The sculpture also exemplifies the complicated history of late 19th-century Venetian glass production and the uncertain business of attributing objects made during that period. The sea horse is illustrated in the catalog of designs of the Compagnia Venezia-Murano (CVM). This firm was a spin-off in 1877 of the Venice and Murano Glass and Mosaic Company Ltd., which had been co-owned by the famous Venetian entrepreneur and lawyer Dr. Antonio Salviati and a consortium of British financiers. After the breakup, Dr. Salviati continued to operate Salviati & C., which specialized in mosaics, and another company, Salviati Dr. Antonio, which produced blown glass. The sea horse appeared in the catalog of the Testolini company about 1890, bearing the same number it had been assigned in the CVM catalog. Beginning in the late 1890s, models featured in the Testolini catalog were almost identical with those advertised by CVM. This was still the case in 1910, when CVM was owned by Marco Testolini. In 1920, the Testolini firm merged with Pauly & C., which is still in operation today. Our sea horse is a rare early example of a glass animal figure conceived strictly as an ornamental object. The same model, with a few small variations, was employed in the 1890s to support the base of an elaborate glass bowl.
Galleria Rossella Junck, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless, transparent dark green, and colorless glass with gold foil decoration; blown, applied. Green sea horse with colorless and gold foil points, atop a colorless stem and green foot.
Suggestioni, Colori e Fantasie: Il Vetro Muranese dell'Ottocento
Piano Nobile del Caffe Pedrocchio 2002-11-06 through 2003-04-19
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2002 (2003) illustrated, p. 37; BIB# AI93609
Recent Important Acquisitions, 45 (2003) illustrated, pp. 214-215, fig. 23; BIB# AI59133
Suggestioni, colori e fantasie (2002) illustrated, pp. 246-247; BIB# 74261