Venetian paperweights were probably first produced on Murano around 1843 at a time when Venice was still part of the Austrian Empire. The first examples were seen in 1845, when Pietro Bigaglia exhibited paperweights - and other glassware - at the Exhibition of Austrian Industry in Vienna. Bigaglia’s weights incorporated millefiori, silhouettes and figure portraits made by Giovanni Battista Franchini and later, his son, Giacomo. The Franchini family also made paperweights - mainly scrambleds. Apart from “GBF” other initials have also been found, although it has not proved possible to determine who these makers were.
19th Century paperweights are usually referred to as Venetian. The term Murano is generally applied to later, 20th Century, paperweights.
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