The history of the Baroviers as renowned glassworkers in the island of Murano dates back to the late 13th century. It is believed the family migrated from Treviso and settled in Murano around 1291, following a law of the Republic which required the concentration and relocation of all glass furnaces to the island of Murano.
Jacobello was the first member of the Baroviers to work glass at the time.
His sons were Anthony and Bartholomew (mentioned in historical documents from 1348 as "Fiolari" (glassmakers). A son of Bartholomew, James, remembered as a master glassmaker and a furnace owner, was the father of Angelo Barovier.
During the European Renaissance era, Angelo Barovier (Venice, circa 1400-1460) was the most notable member of the Baroviers.
In 1455 he was granted exclusive rights by the Venetian Republic, to the production of a unique and intricate glass making technique which he solely developed and called "Clean Glass" known today as Crystal Glass or Venetian Crystal. Angelo Barovier is also believed to have originally developed the glass paste 'Chalcedony'. The Baroviers designed glass for Kings, Queens, Dukes and even the Medici.
Today, Angelo Barovier's surviving works are held in prestigious public institutes and museums worldwide, like the chalice below.
The Toso family had been well established as glassmakers in Murano since around 1350.
Between 1919 and 1920, a young Ercole Barovier who had studied medicine at university and worked as a radio operator during WWI, joined Vetreria Artistica Barovier & Co as a partner.
Although he did not train formally as a glassworker, he soon rose to prominence through his innovative murrine glass designs and work ethic.
By 1926, he had risen to the position of artistic director for the company.
In 1930, he produced his critically acclaimed award-winning “Primavera” series.
The Primavera series is characterised by a milky white 'Craquelé' glass with the addition of black or blue pasta 'vitrea' trim and decoration.
The Primavera series is a set of opaque colored glass objects and sculptures whose consistency is made to appear like ceramics.
There was a very limited production of this series due to the fact that it is an accidental derivative of glass mixtures and so can never be replicated.
The company became Ferro Toso Vetrerie Artistiche Riunite S.A in 1936 when Vetreria Artistica Barovier merged with Ferro Toso.
They specialised in Crystalline Glass, Mother-of-Pearl Glass, and gold-free Cornelian red Glass.
In 1942, the company was renamed Barovier & Toso with Ercole Barovier at the helm of design and production.
During a career spanning over 50 years as the owner, artistic director and head of design, Ercole transformed Barovier & Toso into the elegant glass powerhouse that it is today.
His designs and inventions, often involving extensive processes and various murrine techniques brought numerous international awards and worldwide recognition to the company.
Among his most coveted designs is the award winning 'Lenti' Glass series.
The Lenti is a form of dense thick walled glass (or cased glass) encased in several layers, often incorporating colours and (or) with flecks of gold or silver, usually with a bullicante exterior.
Meaning the interior layer is effectively encased in the exterior repeatedly for a denser looking glass.
Throughout the post war era, Barovier and Toso continued to produce aesthetically pleasing designs.
The Glass Tesserae series, a form of glass mosaic popular in roman times was one of the ways the company embraced art in the aftermath of war. The collection re-invented mosaic glass and excited the artistic vigour of a post-war Italy.
Beginning in the 1950s, along with other notable glass manufacturers like Achimede Seguso, Licio Zanetti, Venini, V. Nason, Barovia & Toso issued limited editions of exquisite glass sculptures inspired by or drawn from designs by famous contemporary and historical artists like Napoleone MartinuzzI, Angelo Barovier (15thc), Ermano Nason and many others.
Barovier and Toso designed many exquisite glass vessels and sculptures, mesmerising chandeliers, wall sconces, dazzling lighting and numerous luxurious decorative objects.
The combined generational knowledge, skills and science of glassmaking passed down through the millennium is what makes Barovier & Toso the master glass craftsmen they are today.