This exquisitely painted plate may look like porcelain but it is actually opaque white glass. Named 'lattimo' after the Italian word for milk, this plate was made on the Venetian island of Murano where artisans have been world leaders in glassmaking for centuries. A very upmarket souvenir, it is one of 16 plates bought by John Chute in 1741. Chute's Grand Tour of Italy extended throughout the 1740s where he commissioned and collected artworks that would eventually furnish The Vyne, his house in Hampshire . Chute is said to have visited the Murano glassworks in the company of fellow collector and antiquarian Horace Walpole and the Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Together the men commissioned three sets of plates with different views of Venice. The commission probably took place with the help of Joseph Smith who served as an intermediary between Venetian artists and English collectors. Some years earlier, Smith had acted as an agent for the great painter Canaletto, whose atmospheric scenes of Venice inspired some of the plate decorations. Because of its milky white appearance, 'Lattimo' was sometimes described as counterfeit porcelain, and was used as a ceramic substitute for items such as tiles, perfume bottles, tea cups and dinnerware. Perhaps the next best thing to viewing Venice on your walls was having it on your plate.
Plate, one of set of 16 (NT/VYN/C/254-269). Opaque-white glass painted in iron-red enamel with a view of the Grand Canal, Venice, showing the Church of the Displaced Carmelites and of S. Simeone Minore (from the engraving by Antonio Visentini (No.XI) in the series Prospectus Magni Canlis Venetiani (1735) after Canaletto).
Believed to be part of a set of Venetian 'lattimo' glass plates acquired by John Chute in 1741. Came into National Trust care as part of Sir Charles Chute bequest in 1956.