When I first saw photos of the new sandolo in Canada, I was impressed.
Here was a boat that had all the details - a fully carved passenger sandolo.
The boat was built in the Squero Tramontin, and was in fact the first sandolo to come out of that yard in over fifty years.
Roberto Tramontin gave extra attention to the details on this boat.
As I looked at the photos that Lorne sent me of his beautiful new sandolo, I noticed somethinig familiar about the scimier (that decorative piece that rests atop the seat back).
Lorne told me that the piece that rides on the seat back of his boat is
"the first known copy of the Royal scimier" - an impressive piece of "gondola art" in the private collection of the Tramontin family.
I'd seen that scimier before: in Gilberto Penzo's "La Gondola" (on page 173, to be exact), it is said to be about a hundred years old.
The "Royal Scimier".
I must admit that I'm not clear on the exact history of this piece,
but Lorne tells me that at the varo, many Venetians were nodding their heads in approval, and seemed proud of the scimier.
Here are a few photos showing some of the stages in the creation of this beautiful piece.
The design was drawn out on a single piece of wood,
the silhouette cut out,
and with age-old hand tools,
the craftsman gradually removed wood in small places.
Once the carving phase was completed,
a flat black base coat was applied.
Then a shiny coat of black was applied.
(my guess is that there were several shiny coats applied)
Finally, gold guilding and brilliant blue were added in the appropriate areas.
People look at gondolas and many other Venetian boats and just assume that the detail pieces are just fancy dress-up stuff, or as a shipbuilding friend of mine likes to say "decorative gingerbread", but in many cases there's history behind every detail.
Thank you Roberto - for bringing something beautiful into the world.