Antonio Salviati (1819-1890) led the revival of blown and mosaic glass in Venice in the second half of the 19th century. Inspired by his work on the restoration of the mosaics at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, Salviati opened his first glass business in 1859 together with the expert glass technician Lorenzo Radi. Having gone through various iterations, his firm by the end of the century held significant international recognition. In England they occupied impressive showrooms in the most fashionable parts of London and produced mosaics for Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the Albert Memorial in Kensington and the Albert Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle. The United States has always been a privileged market for the Salviati firm, and it produced in 1901 what was the largest mosaic in America, at Stanford University Memorial Church. His memorial portraits of Presidents Garfield and Lincoln are in the U.S. Senate Collection, Washington D.C.
The mosaic workshop was founded by inviting the mosaic artist, Enrico Podio, from Rome. He came from a family specialising in mosaic and micro-mosaic work. The most famous member of the family was Luigi Podio who had made miniature micro-mosaics for the renowned Roman goldsmith, Pio Castellani as well as for his children and heirs, Alessandro and Augusto. The latter were all creators of beautiful pieces of jewellery in archaeological style as well as being collectors and antique dealers in their own right. The Castellani family enjoyed a close friendship and professional relationship with Salviati and Alessandro Castellani was Salviati's consultant on ancient glass-making techniques.
The firm exhibited all manner of chandeliers, plaques, mirrors, and tabletop articles in blown, chalcedony, and mosaic glass at all the major International Exhibitions; their numerous awards include a Gold Medal in Paris 1867, a Grand Medal of Honour in London 1869; and 13 medals at the International Exhibition in Vienna 1873.
The present mirror bears close comparison with another mirror by Salviati, now in the Tragor Ignác Museum, Vác, Hungary. The present mirror has floral designs that are more elaborate than those on the Tragor Ignác mirror, and clearly the crest on the Tragor Ignác mirror depicts the Rialto Bridge rather than the Lion of St Mark. A smaller Venetian mirror, of different form but also floral and pictorial micromosaic, was sold Christie's London, April 29 2010, lot 265 ($63,832).
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