After years of absence and months of restoration by NERI, in the last days the lantern of Punta della Dogana has returned to its original home in Venice.
The lantern was made in the oldest and most important foundry in Venice, in the mid-19th century; the possibility to date and discover the origins of the lantern comes from the painstaking historical research carried out over the years by the Fondazione Neri – Italian Museum of Cast Iron.
The logo and the marking that came to light while the Punta della Dogana lamp - which was initially made to be a beacon – was being restored. After comparing the signs with the mark on a Venetian post from the exhibits of the Italian Museum of Cast Iron, it was found to come from the Hasselqvist foundry. Founded by the Swede, Teodoro Hasselqvist on 28 May 1851, the foundry was given a license to operate from the Council of Venice, using a new steam-operated boiler made in Belgium, benefitting from the abundant raw material that used to arrive in Venice from England.
The foundry was then bought up by Engineer Neville in 1858, who changed the factory marking on all iron work, creating the historically famous: Privilegiata e Premiata Fonderia Veneta Di Enrico Gilberto Neville & C. with headquarters in Venice.
Thanks to this research, it has been possible to date the lantern of Punta della Dogana to somewhere between 1851 and 1858.
According to the restorers at Neri, the newly re-installed lantern is most probably the original and not a copy.
This opinion is the result of analysis that has taken into account the techniques used to assemble the different parts, such as the nails in the lantern, for example.