We can not conceive glass in Mallorca without Gordiola. Apart from a small number of pieces that correspond to the most primitive ideas that were conceived in glassmaking and that came to us thanks to the reproductions made by his first teacher, all that in art glassware is known in Mallorca is due to Gordiola. The historical-artistic heritage that seven generations of glassmakers who have succeeded each other and belong to this family, prove it.
The Gordiola Family
Investigating its origins, in 1719, from the Crown of Aragon, a young glassmaker settles in Mallorca and requests permission from the City of Palma to make a glass oven. The favorable report, dated August 16, 1719, grants the requested authorization. This furnace requested by Blas Rigal, was financed by a Catalan-Aragonese merchant named Gordiola.
After many stages, it was on the occasion of the International Exhibition of Barcelona, in 1929, when Gordiola turned its eyes to their primitive tradition, leaving aside the industrial chimera. There, in Barcelona, in the ovens erected in the Pueblo Español, the primitive glasses that the family tradition had preserved were reproduced.
In the last fifty years, the artisanal development has been wider and its glasses are represented on all continents. In the Utrech, Rio, Buenos Aires, Brussels, New York, etc. the successes have been spectacular because of the originality of the shapes and the chromaticity of their colors.
History of the Balearic glass
Among the discoveries due to chance and that over the course of the ages have been modified by the intelligent effort of man, the discovery of glass occupies a pre-eminent place. A detailed history of the applications of glass will absorb a very important part of the history of civilization.
To look for the origin of glass, we must go back to the ages of prehistoric civilizations, since there are indications of its knowledge. Now, the first documents that give reason to its existence, are prior to the fourth century.
The Phoenicians, the first merchants of the world, used the new product, discovered on the banks of the Belus River and when they settled on our Balearic coast, they installed their glass kilns during the 2nd century BC. of J.C., being this one of his most valuable contributions of the oriental culture.
Balearic artists evolved, creating new forms during the Greek and Carthaginian domination. The prodigious imagination, the manufacture of forms similar to those of pottery and the copy of originals imported from the Aegean helped to perfect the work in such a way and achieved the glassworks such splendor, that it is believed very successful to consider this time as the first Golden Age of Mallorcan glass.
The Arab domination also contributed some artistic conceptions, in developing the glassworks parallel to the ceramic manufacture.
After the Conquest of Mallorca by Jaime I of Aragón, the Balearic glassworks thrive again, which dates documentally in 1327 the first furnace during the reign of Jaime III in Calvià. Thanks to descriptions of inventories, it is believed that Mallorcan glasses of the 15th century were very similar to the Catalans.
The eighteenth century is decadent for Majorcan glassmaking. Illustration encourages national arts and rulers bring in foreign masters to teach local artisans. Meanwhile, Mallorcan glasswork receives a new influence from Central Europe.
The manufacture of luxury glass for the competition of gold and silver vessels was almost extinguished.
The glassmakers increased production to the detriment of quality. Only folk art survived, humble but funny, that still lives on today.