Thoroughly beautiful, genuine Venetian mirrors were difficult to acquire....
BITS ‘N’ PIECES
Painstakingly produced, the Venetian mirror was born on the tiny Italian island of Murano in Venice in the 15th century. Venetian mirrors were considered to be masterpieces of art and creating one was a highly involved process. Venetian mirrors were rarities, and the majority of them were custom made for royalty and nobles. Authentic Venetian mirrors were set in precious frames made of beveled glass borders skilfully adjusted securely into place with metal screws and could only be purchased from Venice, Italy. Thoroughly beautiful, genuine Venetian mirrors were difficult to acquire.
The quality and the proportion of the Venetian mirrors and their components, combined with the Venetian artists’ hundreds of years of crafting experience, made the island of Murano an extremely formidable opponent in the mirror making industry.
One reason the Venetian mirrors were considered so elusively beautiful was due to the top-secret manufacturing procedures developed by the Murano glass artisans. The Venetian glassmakers perfected the mystical gold dust technique: they inserted gold leaf into the glass prior to the solidification process, leaving the gold leaf embedded into the mirror’s glass. Protected forever, the gold leaf added colour and eternal sparkle to the Venetian mirror.
Another highly protected manufacturing secret was the “Lattimo” process. Lattimo is the name given for the translucent milky-white glass. This technique involves the use of lead to colour the glass. Over time, Venetian mirror makers perfected this process and achieved the skills necessary to manipulate a variety of effects within the glass. When artfully distributed throughout the glass, the Lattimo process breathed new life into the Venetian mirrors. Through the skillful manipulation of the golden dust technique and the Lattimo technique together, the creation of such details like artful borders, flowers and ribbons are possible.
Big Ben is the largest of the six bells in Westminster Palace, at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, England. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The tower was designed by Augustus Pugin in a neo-Gothic style. When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands 316 feet (96 m) tall, and the climb from ground level to the belfry is 334 steps. Its base is square, measuring 40 feet (12 m) on each side. Dials of the clock are 22.5 feet (6.9 m) in diameter. All four nations of the UK are represented on the tower on shields featuring a rose for England, thistle for Scotland, shamrock for Ireland, and leek for Wales.
Big Ben weighs 13.5 long tons. It was the largest bell in the United Kingdom for 23 years. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw its installation, or heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt. Four quarter bells chime at 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour and just before Big Ben tolls on the hour. The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup.
The tower is a British cultural icon recognised all over the world. It is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and parliamentary democracy, and it is often used in the establishing shot of films set in London. The clock tower has been part of a Grade I listed building since 1970 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.