The Apple Store’s Victorian Mosaics

Halfway up Regent Street, just before you get to Oxford Circus, is one of central London’s Apple Stores, purveyors of high tech electronic goods to the masses.

But to look up at the front of the building that houses the shop is to travel back to the late 19th century and to the business of Antonio Salviati, an Italian glassmaker and mosaicist.

Originally from Vicenza, Salviati helped restore the mosaics in St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, then took Venetian glassmaking skills around the world. By 1867, Antonio Salviati had already installed Venetian mosaics in more than fifty churches (catholic and protestant) in England and the company had showrooms around the world – including in the cities (Paris, New York, St Petersburg and Berlin) listed on frontage of their Regent Street location.

As well as numerous churches, the firm’s work in London includes mosaics in the central lobby and the monarch’s robing room in the Houses of Parliament, in the V+A, on and inside the canopy of the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, and the altar screen that depicts the Last Supper that is behind the High Altar in Westminster Abbey.