A blog that I follow consistently, and often use as a reference for ‘treasure hunts’ in Venice, is that of Bluoscar: http://bluoscar.blogspot.com/ (Another, written by Fausto, a born and bred Venetian, deeply in love with his city, is http://alloggibarbaria.blogspot.com/ ) I can heartily recommend these to you, as well as many others listed on my Blogroll.
Some time ago, I wrote a post about some door knockers I had seen in Dorsoduro. They were quite different from other, more artistic examples you will see in Venice. These are the specimens I showed you:
A couple of days ago, I wrote to BluOscar, with a request to his friend Claudio, who displays deep knowledge of the door hardware to be seen in Venice. I hoped that Claudio could tell me something about these specimens. Well, of course he could, and the answer came back promptly.
Here (as translated by Google), is what he said:
Dear Yvonne, thank you for your kind praise and inform you that the clappers from you photographed belong to a minority of its kind on the doors of Venice: in fact they are both made of wrought iron, while most of the others in the Serenissima are fused copper alloy (bronze or brass), for obvious reasons of greater resistance of these materials to weathering (by) rich sea salt.
However, having visited the city several times, I must say that it seems to me that it was in Dorsoduro, for some reason, is concentrated the greatest amount of these iron structures (not sure if our expert friend Oscar has had the same feeling).
The first clapper heart-shaped part of the type called “ring-modified”, is made flat section with geometric practiced chisel; has an articulation of the type “snare” and, inferiorly, a knob for gripping by the hand , also decorated, typical of northern Italy but in particular the city of Venice. Typically these types of clappers were present in pairs, one for each door leaf, and also served as handles. The specimen photographed was probably the early sixteenth century.
The other clapper is of the type “hammer” which is why more properly defined with the name of “knocker”; has a massive body of quadrangular section and a handle of a now indefinable zoomorphic shape firmly secured to the body itself. This type was generally present in a single copy of one leaf of the door, while the other was placed a fixed handle. It too is anchored with an articulation of the same type as the previous clapper. For the great mass certainly possessed had to produce a large percussion. (I attribute) this example the Gothic style, immediately preceding the clapper to heart.
Keep in mind that these pieces have four or five centuries of life and therefore the doors that host them today certainly can not be the original, (are) long deteriorated, which is why the clappers, now exposed only for decorative reasons, may appear arranged in a manner improper.
So, thank you for the information so graciously shared by these two gentlemen (and all the many others who have helped me in the past). May 2013 be a year of wonders for them, and for all of my faithful readers.
Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti/e.