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Giovanni Biondo is generally accepted as the builder of the first documented ship in a bottle ever made. There only real information we know about Giovanni Biondo was obtained from information he put inside the ships in bottles he made. It is possible that he built his ships in bottles for the Venetian Navy. The modles are very detailed with designs for Venetian First Class and Second Class line of battle ships. And, if in fact these are commissioned works then the craft did not begin as a folk art but as a work of a master builder.

 

1784Giovanni Biondo made his first ship in a bottle in 1784. The 1784 bottle is of a First Class Ship, a three-masted Turkish or Portuguese ship. It has the letters 'CGB' above an "F." On the prow sail it states: "gioni Biondi, fecit 1784.” The bottle is 45 centimeters high. It is now located in the Holsten Museum in Lübeck, Germany. The model was presented to the museum around 1880 as a gift from a captain in Krüger.

 

1786His second model was made in 1786 and it is of a model of a Second Class Ship. It is now in a private collection in Milan.

 

1792His third ship in a bottle was a 1792 bottle identified as the Fama. It is now in the Maritime Museum in Lisbon, Portugal. Inside the 1792 bottle the Artist included the statement: “captain Giovanni Biondo Veneto,” the title “Captain Giovanni Biondo of Venice.” Although he claims to have been a Captain there are no other records or logs to verify this. The absence of that record may lead us to believe that it is not true or simply a self-proclaimed title.  

 

These ships in bottles are amazing works of art built by a master craftsman and the bottles themselves were expensive glass blown by highly skilled artists.