Painting glass in the early European style -Venice

I recently was thinking of stuff I did long ago, and if it could apply to my medieval bent. I remembered being in Chicago at the Art Institute last year, where I saw some medieval and Renaissance painted glass beakers from Germany and Italy. I thought of how I had painted things on glass (I once even had a paying commission for two martini glasses with a whimsical city theme!) But mostly I painted silly things for my own amusement – very happy root vegetables, rabbits, birds on phone wires….

But today at the craft store there were glass paints on clearance so I bought them, and sat down tonight with some pictures to inspire me, and here’s what I got from tonight’s try of a long-forgotten thing. I am pretty clumsy and have forgotten the nice ratios I used to have to thin the enamel, but hey, there it is….

I used the Aldrevandini beaker in the British Museum collection as my inspiration, since it’s mostly leaves, frankly, and not finely detailed pictures of people doing something fun or useful. I think I can almost handle leaves. A photo of it is at the bottom.

Thanet glass, front view
I used heraldry as a motif, like the original glass. Though mine is a little more wonky.
Thanet glass, side view
I used the floral and leaf motif from the original as well, and yes, they are parti-colored in the original one as well.
Thanet glass, side detail
Detail of flower-leaf-thing.
Thanet glass, three quarter view
Side-ish view of the jar, with leaves. The little yellow flowers are in the original as well.
Practice jar, painted enamel in the Venetial style
I used a jam jar for practice, especially fitting since it's one I am often teased about by a house brother, because I use it for the dragging about of cordials (I just hate corks for stuff you have to keep re-corking! Just give me a gol-darned screw top, period be dashed!) So I blinged it up Thanet style.

This is the piece which was the inspiration for the work. It’s obviously a totally different style of glass, not a jam jar, and it really shows that I need to thin out the enamel somewhat to get a finer line to work with, but overall, I think it’s not the worst start of things, given the last time I picked up a paint brush.


The Aldrevandini Beaker - British Museum
The Aldrevandini beaker is a uniquely well-preserved example from a group of glass vessels produced in Venice at the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century.


More to come, surely.


Italian Renn Hair

Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1488.  I wanted Italian hair to go with my dress, this was the basic inspiration, though I’m still mystified a little at the crimping and style… I used pearl beads in mine, because I felt that way, and my curls were larger and less organized. However, I think the idea was there.

Photo of Aneleda Falconbridge by Anne Wilder, 2009.
Photo of Aneleda Falconbridge by Barbara Turner, 2009


AoA – Alessandra da Montereggioni

A Canzone written for Alessandra da Montereggioni by Aneleda Falconbridge

Qual donna attende a gloriosa fama
di senno, di valor, di cortesia? *

Gather and hear, noble people of the Mighty East, of a Lady so kind that Petrach himself would have searched for words, one of such bliss as is seldom seen walking these low and mortal paths.

To those who love service, and too, chivalry,
we speak of a lady, and give our rationale

Of a spirit generous, of great morale
held in high esteem by all who are her friend.

We see this golden creature all around us
extending gentle hand with most noble grace
toward any task requested in this dear place
to see it through no matter how far its end.

She brings the new and kindly helps them to blend
in the crowd of brewers, dancers, sewers, cooks,
and shares the wondrous knowledge gained from her books
Her encouragement lights the paths many wend.

With golden threads she has sewn us up with love,
It is with sad joy we set free this sweet dove.

Thus it is the will of ever-right and kind King Gryffith and our resplendent and gentle Queen Aikaterine that Alessandra da Montereggioni becomes a Lady of our Court this day, the fifth day of the month of love, Anno Societatis forty-five, at the King and Queen’s Bardic Champions in the fair Shire of Endewearde.

(Italian translation) *Doth any maiden seek the glorious fame Of chastity, of strength, of courtesy? – Petrarch

Notes about the piece:

This canzone is written with 11 syllables per line, based on a style used by Dante, who wrote of Montereggioni.  Seemed like a good idea at the time…

The scheme is as follows:

I found these suggestions online:

First two lines: Define your subject and how you will speak with the reader
Second two lines: Convey the central theme, question, or conflict.
Third set of lines (broken into a quatrain): Convey your mood, sentiment, and stance

“Derived from the Provençal canso, the very lyrical and original Italian canzone consists of 5 to 7 stanzas typically set to music, each stanza resounding the first in rhyme scheme and in number of lines (7 to 20 lines). The canzone is typically hendecasyllabic (11 syllables). The congedo or commiato also forms the pattern of the Provençal tornado, known as the French envoi, addressing the poem itself or directing it to the mission of a character, originally a personage. Originally delivered at the Sicilian court of Emperor Frederick II during the 13th century of the Middle Ages, the lyrical form was later commanded by Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and leading Renaissance writers such as Spenser (the marriage hymn in his Epithalamion).”  (