From 1660 until the end of the Venetian Republic (and, indeed, a few years after) the furnace owners in Murano were obliged to give work to all the qualified glass masters or to grant an unemployment benefit to those for whom they had no work. A special group called the Office of the Comparto (i.e. Subdivision) – consisting of representatives of both owners and glass masters – met at the beginning of the working year, charged with the responsibility of sharing out the excess workers equitably among the different furnaces. They had to consider the size of the individual operation and the number of masters already directly employed by the owner. Every year they had to present a listing for every type of manufacture – crystal, glass rods, plate glass and, at one point, even enamels – carried out at every furnace under the owner’s name, listing also the number of crucibles and the names of all the masters, both contracted and assigned. The earliest lists that have come down to us are from the years 1678-79, 1679-80 and1680-81 and provide a snapshot of glassmaking in Murano at the time. These lists are presented here in their entirety, together with comments on the mobility of the owners and masters, with some examples of the problems arising from the non-keeping of the contracts between owners and masters and the forced assignment of unemployed masters. The 17th century saw the decline of the façon de Venise in glass factories all over Europe, i.e. the weakening influence of Venetian glass as a model of international style. The glass art of this period witnessed the birth of different and national characteristics, and production dominance passed from southern to northern Europe. Various factors, both social and historical, favoured these changes: the rise of Protestantism and a prosperous “citizen” class in the Netherlands, as well as the decline of papal power and the relatively minor political importance of Italy, which during the century lost her leading role. Glass had always been a means for creating elaborate and fanciful works of art, with often very limited practical features and with a delicate structure that minimized the possibility of preserving it intact over time. During this period the need arose to reconcile the aesthetic with the practical functions, and objects were produced that were robust at the same time satisfying a formal point of view, thanks to a wealth of decorative techniques. The Venetian glassworks had experimented with decorative enamels and used diamond point for creating conventional engravings. In Germany and the Netherlands, enamelling and engraving techniques were used more widely. Even the engraving wheel, frequently associated with diamond point, was used by both amateur and professional craftsmen. The skilled glass masters of Murano, employing techniques already known in this century, introduced new decorative motifs and elaborate and sometimes bizarre shapes. The specific characteristics of glass produced in Murano reflected the trends of the baroque style that embraces all types of artistic expression. The purity of the light of Renaissance glass, often colourless, changed, while the basic 16th century shapes remained, with the addition of glass threads of red, yellow or blue, often worked with pliers, used to decorate the stems of the glasses, or to form ridges on the handles and the mouths of ampoules and pitchers. Lozenges featuring busts of primordial lions might be hot pressed occasionally onto the bowls. Glass became an expression of the free imagination of the artist who sought, above all, magical effects, and the object was no longer conceived in terms of its use. Often the originality of shape and the richness of decoration would make it more difficult to work the articles. The emigration of Murano glass workers, already recorded in the 16th century, was accentuated in spite of the Serene Republic’s strict laws. France, Flanders, Holland, England, Germany, Austria, Denmark and, in the East, Persia and the island of Cyprus were the top destinations for the rich earnings on offer. The immigrants, who in the previous century had already launched the production known as façon de Venise, adapted themselves to the demands of local tastes. In the 17th century they showed a marked preference for rich decorations with ridges, scrolls and other applications, especially on the large goblets. These migrations caused a state of uneasiness that the producers of Murano did not fail to denounce to the authorities, which enacted a series of decrees to restrict the importation of foreign glass, created with the help of the emigrant Venetian masters, arriving from external manufacturers. The plague of 1630, and the consequent labour shortage, forced manufacturers to enter into partnerships with foreigners and, twenty years later, the economic crisis pushed the master glassmakers to call for capital investment from non-Muranesi to maintain the running of the furnaces. In the rest of Europe, the proliferation of the façon de Venise is evidenced by the famous verres à serpent – large wine glasses with intricately plaited glass stems in the form of a snake – produced in the Netherlands, in Liège, Brussels, Germany and elsewhere.