Glass Recipes of the Renaissance
EARLY GLASSMAKING - AN EXCITING INSIGHT
Hitherto most of our understanding of the practical aspects of medieval glassmaking has come from an English translation of Anton Neri's 1612 L'Arte Vetraria. This particularly applies to understanding the ingredients and recipes for the individual types of glass.
It has always been suspected that these were, at least in part, derived from earlier recipes. Over the last few decades, mainly due to the industrious research of Luigi Zecchin in the Venetian archives, other recipe books have been discovered. Because of their publication in Italian they have mostly been ignored by the English speaking world.
The discovery by Cesare Moretti and Tullio Toninato of yet another recipe book of circa 1560 let to their transcription of the text and a detailed comparison with the other known texts dating from the first half of the 14th century to 1644.
The complete Italian text has now been translated into English by Dr. David C. Watts and, with the assistance of Cesare Moretti, supplemented with additional notes to help explain the details of the glassmaking processes and materials used.
The original text, written in the form of an instruction manual for an apprentice, provides detailed instructions on the purification of the chemical ingredients used, the exact amounts required for a particular recipe, the type of pot to use and the state of the furnace. It covers plain glass and cristallo, coloured glasses, enamels an the manufacture of mosaics, particularly those involving gold and silver inclusions.
Comparison with other recipe books explodes the myths that Venetian cristallo and the base glass used for colours was always a pure soda glass and that cristallo was invented by Angelo Barovier.
Altogether, this text will revolutionise the understanding and thinking of those interested in the early processes of glass making.