The brothers Barbin and the venetian mirrors

Domenico and Marco Barbin, glass masters, active in Murano in the seventeenth century. Escape to France, produced Venetian mirrors in Nevers

Marco e Domenego BarbinDomenego and Marco Barbin, glass masters, were born in Murano in 1648 and 1637 respectively. Both were sons of glass master Zorzi de Zuanne, known as ‘Barbin’, and his wife Francesca.

In 1665, attracted by the generosity of Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the brothers escaped to France, in the company of their more renowned brother Gerolamo and handful of other glass masters from Murano. Unlike Gerolamo who worked for “la Manufacture Royale des glaces de miroirs”, the duo never arrived in Paris, stopping in Nevers instead to produce Venetian mirrors at a local factory. After just a few months, they obtained the go-ahead from the Venetian ambassador and returned to their native island.

After his Parisian experience, Domenego continued to work as a master glass blower, while Marco, known as Gaban, worked for a short stint as a quari (frame) and mirror maker at one of the island’s furnaces before becoming a glass salesman throughout the Venetian countryside. He would later pass this trade along to his own son Domenico. It should be noted that Marco had another son named Isidoro, who married Elisabetta Torsia, and who would become the first in a series of Barbin Deputies, Gastaldi and Camerlenghi.