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Title: Glass
Author: Dillon, Edward
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          Transcriber's Notes

When italics were used in the original book, the corresponding text
has been surrounded by _underscores_, and when boldface text was use,
the corresponding text has been surrounded by =equal signs=. In two
instances, the letter N has been printed with a macron above it. This
has been represented as [=N]. Superscripted letters have been preceded
by ^ and when multiple letters are superscripted they have been
surrounded by {}. Subscripted letters and numbers have been preceded
by _ and surrounded by {}. Fractions have been separated from whole
numbers preceding them with a dash such that 1-1/2 represents one and
one half. The letters represented as H./W.E. were originally printed
with the H. directly above the other two letters.

Some presumed printer's errors have been corrected. These are listed in
a second transcriber's note at the end of the text.

                       THE CONNOISSEUR’S LIBRARY










                          EDWARD DILLON, M.A.

[Illustration: The Connoisseur’s Library]

                     NEW YORK: G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                        LONDON: METHUEN AND CO.



It is now nearly thirty years since the late Mr. Nesbitt wrote the
introduction to the catalogue of the glass at South Kensington. Some
years previously the description of the glass in the Slade collection
had been intrusted to the same gentleman. Since that time many works
treating of special departments of the history of glass have been
published in France, in Germany, and in Italy. Much fresh light has
been thrown upon the primitive glass of the Egyptians; our knowledge of
the glass of both the Near and the Far East has been revolutionised;
abundant fresh material has been provided for the history of Byzantine
glass, and the wanderings of the glass-workers from L’Altare and Murano
have been traced in full detail. Mr. Hartshorne, in his _Old English
Glasses_, has exhaustively told the story of our native glass from the
documentary side, and has described with the minutest detail the
wine-glasses of the eighteenth century. Apart, however, from the
introductory chapters of the last work, I know of no attempt of recent
years to give a general account of the history of glass—using that
term in the narrower sense—as viewed from the artistic side.

We have at hand in the British Museum a collection of glass that has no
rival elsewhere; only second to it is the collection at South
Kensington. It is in these collections that the history of glass must
be studied. I have from time to time in the following pages called
attention to the most remarkable examples. I hope that what I have said
may assist the student in threading his way through what is a rather
complicated history.

My best thanks are due to Mr. C. H. Read, who has charge of the glass
in the British Museum, for the facilities that he has afforded me in
the photographing of the examples in his department; not less to Mr. A.
B. Skinner, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, for similar
facilities at South Kensington.

I am indebted to Professor Church for much valuable information and for
some hitherto unpublished analyses of glass; to Lord Rothschild and to
Mr. Vincent Robinson, C.I.E., for photographs of examples of glass in
their collections; finally, to Signor Ongania, of Venice, for
permission to reproduce from Passini’s great work on the Treasury of
St. Mark’s some photographs of the glass there preserved.

                                                                   E. D.



 PREFACE,                                                              v

 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,                                               ix

 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS ON GLASS,                           xxii

 KEY TO THE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL LIST,                                 xxviii

 CHAPTER I. Introduction,                                              1

 CHAPTER II. Primitive Glass of the Egyptians and Syrians,            18

 CHAPTER III. Later Greek Glass and the Moulded and Cast Glass of
  the Roman Empire,                                                   43

 CHAPTER IV. The Blown Glass of the Roman Empire,                     59

 CHAPTER V. Early Christian Glass, Byzantine Glass, and the Glass of
  the Middle Ages in the East and the West,                           89

 CHAPTER VI. Glass from Anglo-Saxon and Frankish Tombs. The
  so-called Hedwig Glasses,                                          107

 CHAPTER VII. Mediæval Treatises on Glass,                           118

 CHAPTER VIII. Glass of the Later Middle Ages in Western Europe,     132

 CHAPTER IX. The Enamelled Glass of the Saracens,                    144

 CHAPTER X. The Enamelled Glass of the Saracens (_continued_),       161

 CHAPTER XI. The Glass of Venice—The Origins—Beads,                  174

 CHAPTER XII. The Enamelled Venetian Glass of the Fifteenth Century, 192

 CHAPTER XIII. Varieties of Venetian Glass—Early Literature,         200

 CHAPTER XIV. The French Glass of the Renaissance,                   220

 CHAPTER XV. The Renaissance Glass of the Spanish Netherlands and of
  Spain,                                                             240

 CHAPTER XVI. The Glass of Germany. The Green Glass of the Rhine and
  the Netherlands—Enamelled Glass,                                   251

 CHAPTER XVII. The Glass of Germany (_continued_). German Cut and
  Engraved Glass—The Ruby Glass of Kunckel—_Milch_ Glass,            276

 CHAPTER XVIII. Dutch Glass of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth
  Centuries,                                                         294

 CHAPTER XIX. English Glass of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth
  Centuries,                                                         299

 CHAPTER XX. English Glass of the Eighteenth Century,                321

 CHAPTER XXI. The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Glass of
  Persia, India, and China,                                          337

 CHAPTER XXII. Contemporary Glass,                                   356

 INDEX,                                                              361

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

        I. SYRIAN OR VENETIAN GLASS. Enamelled Beaker of slightly
           greenish glass with a few elongated bubbles. (H. 7-1/2 in.)
           The Virgin and Child enthroned between conventional lilies;
           on either side an angel holding a tall candle; beyond, the
           figures of St. Peter and St. Paul. Above, an inscription in
           Gothic characters—D[=N]IA MATER REGIS ALTISSIMI ORA P PA.
           From the Adrian Hope collection. End of thirteenth century.
           British Museum.                             (_Frontispiece._)


           (1) From Gurob, near Illahun, Upper Egypt. (H. 4 in.)
           Decoration of palm-pattern formed by double drag, on a
           sard-coloured translucent ground. Nineteenth Dynasty.

           (2) Amphora-shaped vase. (H. 5-3/8 in.) Pattern formed by
           simple drag, on opaque red ground. The body apparently turned
           on wheel. Handles of green transparent glass. Said to come
           from the Ionian Islands.

           (3) Small Jug of Oenochoë shape. (H. 5-1/2 in.) Palm pattern
           formed by double drag, on dark blue, nearly opaque ground.
           _Provenance_ uncertain. From the Slade collection.
                                                      (_To face p. 22._)

      III. EGYPTIAN GLASS PASTES. British Museum.

           (1) Scarab of dark blue paste with white veins
           imitating _lapis lazuli_. (L. 3-1/2 in.) From Thebes.
           Later Empire.

           (2) Vase for cosmetics, in shape of column with papyrus
           capital. (H. 3-3/4 in.) Slade collection.

           (3) Plaque of ‘fused mosaic.’ (L. 3-1/4 in., about 3/8 in. in
           thickness.) From the cemetery at Denderah. Ptolemaic period.
                                                      (_To face p. 32._)

       IV. (1) Small bottle (‘lachrymatory’). (H. 3 in.) Glass of
           various colours arranged in wavy lines, and now in part
           iridescent. Probably from a Greco-Roman tomb. Slade

           (2) Bowl of thin white glass, finished on the lathe. (Diam.
           3-3/4 in.) Probably from a late Greek tomb.

           (3) Spherical vase of pale blue transparent glass. (H.
           3-3/8 in.) The mark of the two parts of the mould into which
           the glass was blown is visible. Decoration of dolphins,
           fishes, etc., on bands. Probably Roman, first century A.D.
           Slade collection. 1, 2, and 3, all in British Museum.
                                                      (_To face p. 45._)

        V. TWO BOWLS OF MILLEFIORI ROMAN GLASS. Probably Roman, first
           century A.D. British Museum.

           (1) Madrepore pattern, in dark purple ground. (Diam. 5 in.)

           (2) Breccia pattern, in purple ground with white scrolls.
           From the Durand collection. (Diam. 5-1/4 in.)
                                                      (_To face p. 50._)

       VI. (1) Beaker with oval bosses, formed by blowing into a mould
           with apertures. (H. 5 in.) Clear white glass. Said to have
           come from Constantinople. Greco-Roman, first century A.D.

           (2) Tall-necked flask of pale green transparent glass. (H.
           6-3/4 in.) Maze-like pattern, formed by blowing into mould.
           Greco-Roman. From Melos.

           (3) Small octagonal pyx, or case for cosmetics. (H.
           6-1/4 in.) White opaque glass (but probably originally
           transparent); blown into mould. From Sidon. Probably first
           century B.C. 1, 2, and 3, all in British Museum.
                                                      (_To face p. 56._)

           Mount Carmel). Probably about first century B.C. Pale green
           glass, with iridescence. British Museum.

           (1) Vase for cosmetics in shape of double column. (H.
           5-1/4 in.)

           (2) Vase with six handles. (H. 4-1/4 in.)

           (3) Vase with handles and stringings of cobalt-blue. (H.
           8 in.)                                     (_To face p. 60._)

     VIII. BOWL OF OLIVE-GREEN GLASS, carved in high (detached) relief.
           Mounted on metal stand and with metal rim. Deep red by
           transmitted light. Subject—The Madness of Lycurgus. Probably
           Roman, about third or fourth century A.D. From the collection
           of Lord Rothschild.                        (_To face p. 73._)


           (1) Jug of pale olive glass, with iridescence. (H. 8-3/8 in.)
           From Colchester.

           (2) Vase of olive-green glass, with two handles, each ending
           in quilled attachments. (H. 9 in.) From Bayford, near
           Sittingbourne.                             (_To face p. 86._)

        X. GILT GLASS OF THE CEMETERIES. Fifth century A.D. British

           (1) Part of a bowl, the sides ornamented with small
           medallions of gilt glass. Subjects—Adam and Eve, Sacrifice
           of Isaac, Jonas, the Three Children, Daniel, etc. (Max.
           dimension, 6-1/2 in.) Found near the Church of St. Severinus,

           (2) Disc from base of bowl. (Diam. 3-3/4 in.) Below, Christ,
           between Timothy and Hippolytus; above, St. Paul, St. Sixtus,
           and St. Laurence, standing between torque columns.

           (3) Portraits of Bride and Bridegroom—Orfitus and
           Constantia; with figure of Hercules and congratulatory
           inscription. (Diam. 4 in.)                 (_To face p. 91._)

       XI. BYZANTINE GLASS, from the Treasury of St. Mark’s, Venice.
           (Reproduced from Passini, _Tesoro di S. Marco_.)

           (1) ‘Balance-pan’ lamp of clear glass for suspension. On the
           silver rim, an invocation to St. Pantaleone by the Bishop of
           Iberia. (Diam. 10-1/2 in.)

           (2) Ellipsoid lamp, for suspension. Common glass, carved in
           high relief with shells, fishes, etc. Silver rim, with
           cloisons for jewels and sockets for candles. (Chief diam.
           8 in.)

           (3) Paten, or more likely ‘balance-pan’ lamp. Greenish glass,
           incised with a series of concentric rings. (Diam. 7 in.)
                                                      (_To face p. 96._)

      XII. CANTHARUS-SHAPED VASE of sky-blue, bubbly glass. (H.
           6-1/4 in.) Probably a chalice. _Circa_ fifth century A.D.
           Found at Amiens. From the Pourtalès collection. British
           Museum.                                    (_To face p. 98._)

           Mark’s, Venice. (Reproduced from Passini, _Tesoro di S.

           Pear-shaped vase, set with ‘false’ metal spout and handle, to
           resemble an ampulla. Carved in low relief, in imitation of
           rock-crystal—design of two sheep-like animals amid
           conventional foliage. (Glass alone 4 in. in H.)
                                                     (_To face p. 101._)

      XIV. BYZANTINE OR LATE ROMAN GLASS, from the Treasury of St.
           Mark’s, Venice. (Reproduced from Passini, _Tesoro di S.

           _Situla_ of greenish glass, carved in high (detached) relief
           with a hunting scene. Below, a raised grating, supported on
           rods of glass (_diatretum_ work). H. 11 in.
                                                     (_To face p. 102._)

       XV. GLASS BEADS. British Museum.

           (1) Cylindrical beads with white and yellow pellets: (i) Blue
           glass with satyr-like mask; (ii) opaque greenish glass.
           Probably from Cyprus. Greek or Phœnician.

           (2) Two Chevron beads. _Provenance_ uncertain. Slade

           (3) Three chains of beads, from Frankish tombs in the
           Rhine-Moselle district.                   (_To face p. 108._)

      XVI. ANGLO-SAXON GLASS. Prunted Beaker of olive-green glass.
           (H. 11-1/8 in.) From burial-mound, Taplow. British Museum.
                                                     (_To face p. 111._)

     XVII. ANGLO-SAXON GLASS. (1) Conical cup of pale green glass, with
           applied threadings. (H. 10-1/4 in.) From Kempston,
           Bedfordshire. British Museum.

           (2) Drinking-cup of olive-green glass. (H. 8-1/2 in.) From
           Faversham, Kent. British Museum (Gibbs Bequest).
                                                     (_To face p. 112._)

    XVIII. HEDWIG GLASS (so-called). Two views of a cup of nearly
           colourless glass (H. about 4 in.), carved in relief with
           lion, griffin, and shield. German or Oriental; thirteenth
           century, or perhaps earlier. Now mounted on Gothic metal
           stand, which is not shown. Germanic Museum, Nuremberg.
                                                     (_To face p. 114._)

      XIX. MEDIÆVAL GLASS FURNACE. Reproduction of a coloured miniature
           from a manuscript, written probably in 1023, of Rabanus Maurus
           (_De Originibus Rerum_), preserved in the library at Monte
           Cassino.                                  (_To face p. 124._)

           bluish-green glass, from the Germanic Museum, Nuremberg.

           (1) Prunted cup for holding relics.

           (2) Wax cover to above, with seal of the Abbey to which it
           belonged.                                 (_To face p. 137._)

      XXI. Do.    do.

           (1) Small cup with pap-shaped prunts.

           (2) Cup with conical cover, containing relics.
                                                      (_To face p. 137._)

     XXII. SARACENIC GLASS. Pilgrim bottle; brownish, amber-coloured
           thick glass, enamelled and gilt. (H. about 8 in.) On the
           flattened back a rose-wheel design. Long preserved at
           Würzburg; said to come from Mesopotamia. _Circa_ 1300 A.D.
           British Museum.                           (_To face p. 153._)

    XXIII. SARACENIC GLASS. Tall-necked bottle; decorated with enamelled
           and gilt medallions, Chinese phœnix, etc. (H. 17-1/2 in.) The
           inscription has been read ‘Glory to our Lord the Sultan, the
           wise, the just, the warrior King.’ Bought in Cairo. _Circa_
           1300 A.D. Victoria and Albert Museum (Myers Bequest).
                                                     (_To face p. 154._)

     XXIV. SARACENIC GLASS. Victoria and Albert Museum.

           (1) Small lamp of clear white glass, a little decayed on
           surface. (H. 8-1/4 in.) Enamels of white, red, and yellow
           with gold, sparingly applied—horsemen with falcons; gold
           frieze on rim and foot. Stated to have come from a Christian
           monastery in Syria. Late thirteenth or early fourteenth
           century. Myers Bequest.

           (2) Vessel for oil. Probably to be suspended in a large
           mosque lamp (lantern). (H. 6-1/2 in.) Pale greenish-blue
           glass, with remains of the gilding that formerly covered it.
                                                     (_To face p. 156._)

      XXV. SARACENIC GLASS. Beaker enamelled with frieze of three
           polo-players, between two bands with inscription in Arabic,
           both in praise of ‘our Lord the Sultan’ (without date or
           proper name). About 1300. The silver-gilt foot and cover are
           probably Augsburg work of the early sixteenth century. From a
           reproduction in water-colours of the original in the _Grüne
           Gewölbe_, Dresden.                        (_To face p. 162._)

     XXVI. SARACENIC GLASS. Mosque lamp (H. 16 in.) from Cairo. Clear
           white glass with many bubbles. Eight handles for suspension.
           Design of lotus-blossom, etc., outlined in opaque red, and
           the interstices filled with translucent blue enamel. Early
           fourteenth century. Victoria and Albert Museum (Myers
           Bequest).                                 (_To face p. 168._)

    XXVII. (1) DRINKING-CUP (Diam. 5-1/2 in.) of honey-coloured glass.
           In centre, enamelled figure of ‘the angel who serves the wine
           to the faithful.’ Angel’s wings and surrounding band, gold
           upon a lavender-blue ground. Persian in style, but according
           to M. Schefer, possibly made at Ermenas and enamelled at
           Aleppo. Probably fifteenth century. British Museum.

           (2) HOLLOW SPHERE of honey-coloured enamelled glass.
           (Diam. 4 in.) Ornament of chain of mosque lamp. _Provenance_
           unknown, but probably from Northern Syria. British Museum.
                                                     (_To face p. 172._)

   XXVIII. VENETIAN GLASS. The Aldrevandini Beaker. (H. 5-1/8 in.) Thin
           clear glass with black specks, enamelled with three shields
           bearing the arms of South German towns: (1) Three stag-horns
           in fesse, azure; (2) argent, three keys in fesse, gules; (3)
           per fesse argent and sable, in chief a bar. Between,
           apple-green leaves outlined in white. Some enamelling also
           inside. Inscription in Gothic letters. About 1300 A.D.
           British Museum.                           (_To face p. 179._)

     XXIX. VENETIAN GLASS. The Berovieri Cup. (H. c. 8-1/2 in.) _Coppa
           Nuziale_ (marriage cup) of deep-blue glass, enamelled and
           gilt. The heads of bride and bridegroom in medallions.
           Between, (1) a procession of knights and ladies approaching
           a fountain; (2) bathing in fountain. Attributed to Angelo
           Berovieri. About 1440. Museo Civico, Venice.
                                                     (_To face p. 194._)

      XXX. VENETIAN GLASS. (1) Lamp for suspension, enamelled with studs
           of white on coloured ground. (H. 11 in.) Shield with _stemma_
           of Tiepolo family. Early sixteenth century. Museo Civico,

           (2) Stemless cup of thin clear glass. (H. 5-1/2 in.)
           Decorated with scrolls, lions, and birds, in ‘painted’
           enamel. About 1450. Dug up while excavating the foundations
           of the new Campanile. Museo Civico, Venice.
                                                     (_To face p. 199._)

     XXXI. VENETIAN GLASS. Flower-vase. (H. 11 in.) Transparent,
           colourless glass, slightly greyish, with tendency to
           deliquescence on surface: threading and studs of
           cobalt-blue. Probably sixteenth century. British Museum.
           (Slade, _ex_ Bernal collection.)          (_To face p. 200._)

    XXXII. VENETIAN GLASS. Spherical vase (H., with ‘made-up’ foot,
           9-1/2 in.) of opaque white glass, decorated with gilt scrolls
           and bosses and a pair of rudely drawn mermaids. Sixteenth
           century. British Museum. (Slade, _ex_ D’Azeglio collection.)
                                                     (_To face p. 203._)

   XXXIII. VENETIAN GLASS. Pilgrim’s bottle. (H. 6-1/2 in.) Design
           (Cupid fishing, and Venus and Anchises) painted in blue on
           opaque white (_lattimo_) ground. Early sixteenth century.
           Museo Civico, Venice.                     (_To face p. 204._)

    XXXIV. VENETIAN GLASS, enamelled and gilt. Early sixteenth century.
           British Museum.

           (1) Plate of thin glass. (Diam. 7 in.) In centre a shield
           with oak tree, green and gold on blue ground. (? Rovere
           arms.) Round margin a ring of delicate pattern in powder
           gold. Early sixteenth century. (Slade collection.)

           (2) Tazza of thin glass. (Diam. 6 in.) Coat of arms in
           lozenge in centre, surrounded by ring with flowers in oval
           medallions—apple-green, dull red, blue and yellow enamels.
           Powder gold band round margin. (Slade, _ex_ Bernal
           collection.)                              (_To face p. 214._)

     XXXV. FRENCH GLASS OF RENAISSANCE. British Museum. (Slade

           (1) Statuette of Louis XIII. or XIV. (H. 4-1/4 in.) Opaque
           white glass with coloured enamels. Probably made at Nevers.
           Seventeenth century.

           (2) Statuette of man with muff. (H. of figure, 5 in.) Opaque
           white, porcelain-like glass, on a copper base. On stand of
           white Dresden china, partly gilt.

           (3) Small burette (H. 5 in.) of dark greenish-blue
           transparent glass; the body and neck splashed with green,
           white, and red enamels. Gilt berry-like bosses on body.
           Probably sixteenth century.               (_To face p. 233._)

    XXXVI. SPANISH GLASS. Victoria and Albert Museum.

           (1) Vase of pale bottle-green glass; four handles with
           quilled edges. (H. 6-1/2 in.) From the South of Spain.
           Sixteenth or seventeenth century.

           (2) Jug of white transparent glass (H. 8-1/2 in.), made at
           S. Ildefonso.

           (3) Vase of transparent glass, slightly greenish. (H. 6 in.)
           Two handles with quilled edges. From the South of Spain.
           Sixteenth or seventeenth century.         (_To face p. 245._)

   XXXVII. GERMAN GLASS. Roemer of green glass; berry prunts on waist;
           the foot built up of glass stringing. _Circa_ 1600. Germanic
           Museum, Nuremberg.                        (_To face p. 254._)

  XXXVIII. GERMAN GLASS FURNACE. Sixteenth century. From Agricola,
           _De Re Metallica_, Basle, 1556.           (_To face p. 260._)

    XXXIX. GERMAN GLASS. _Willkomm Humpen_, enamelled in colours with
           the _Reichs-adler_. On the wings, as recorded by an
           inscription on the back, the arms of the various members of
           the Holy Roman Empire. Dated 1656. Greenish glass; below
           margin, a ring of ‘powdered’ gold, between beading of white
           and blue enamel. British Museum (Henderson Bequest).
                                                     (_To face p. 264._)

       XL. GERMAN GLASS. British Museum.

           (1) Beaker of clear white glass. (H. 5-1/2 in.) Enamelled
           with double eagle, white and blue, with yellow beaks and
           claws; at the back a sprig of lily-of-the-valley. Dated 1596.
           From the Bernal collection.

           (2) Jug of pale purple glass (H. 8 in.) with pewter lid.
           Enamelled with a white dog pursuing a red stag and fox. In
           addition green, blue, and yellow enamels. Dated 1595. From
           the Slade collection.                     (_To face p. 267._)

      XLI. GERMAN GLASS. _Willkomm Humpen._ Enamelled in colours with
           hunting scene, the game being driven into net. About 1600.
           British Museum.                           (_To face p. 268._)

     XLII. GERMAN GLASS. Covered beaker of clear white glass. (H. with
           cover 6-3/4 in.) Engraved with design of _amorini_ dancing
           among vines. The metal knob of cover is enamelled and gilt,
           and on the interior button are enamelled the arms of the
           Archbishop of Trèves, with the following inscription:—Joan
           Hugo D.G. Arc. Trev. PR. EL. EP. SP. Early eighteenth century.
                                                     (_To face p. 283._)

    XLIII. DUTCH GLASS. Beaker in the form of a _roemer_. (H. 9 in.) On
           the bowl, in medallions, heads symbolising the four seasons,
           scratched with the diamond. The waist, decorated with berry
           prunts, showing remains of gilding. On this part is scratched
           (in English) ‘August the 18th, 1663,’ and the letters H./W.E.
           between bay branches. On the foot a landscape with hunting
           scene. British Museum.                    (_To face p. 296._)

     XLIV. ENGLISH WINE-GLASSES. British Museum.

           (1) Wine-glass, early eighteenth century. (H. 8-3/4 in.) The
           hollow knop of the moulded stem is decorated with prunts and
           encloses a sixpence of Queen Anne (dated 1707).

           (2) Jacobite wine-glass with opaque twisted stem. (H.
           7-3/4 in.) On the bowl is engraved a portrait of the Young
           Pretender, inscribed ‘_Cognoscunt me mei_’; at the back are
           the words _Premium Virtutis_ under a crown.

           (3) Jacobite wine-glass with air-twisted stem. Round the bowl
           are engraved the words ‘Immortal Memory’; above, a band of
           vine-leaves, and below, fleurs-de-lis and roses. Presented by
           Mr. A. Hartshorne.                        (_To face p. 327._)

      XLV. ENGLISH FLINT GLASS. Victoria and Albert Museum.

           (1) Standing cup and cover (H. 12 in.) on square, stepped
           foot. Carved in relief with gadroons descending spirally. End
           of eighteenth century. Presented by Mr. H. B. Lennard.

           (2) Bowl standing on square base. (H. 8-1/2 in.) The whole of
           the surface facetted; the under surface of the foot cut into
           square compartments. End of eighteenth century. Presented by
           Mr. H. B. Lennard.                        (_To face p. 332._)

     XLVI. PERSIAN GLASS. Tall-necked vase of colourless glass; body
           shaped in a mould; _appliqué_ stringings on foot. Taken from
           a tomb at Baku. Vincent Robinson collection.
                                                     (_To face p. 338._)

    XLVII. PERSIAN GLASS. Victoria and Albert Museum. Seventeenth or
           eighteenth century.

           (1) Tall-necked, pear-shaped vase, the surface spirally
           ribbed, of deep blue transparent glass. (H. 11 in.)

           (2) Cruet-shaped vase of clear white glass. (H. 9 in.) From
           the Richard collection.

           (3) Perfume sprinkler, with curved neck and barnacle-shaped
           lip. Blue transparent glass, the surface spirally ribbed.
           (H. 12 in.)                               (_To face p. 340._)

   XLVIII. INDIAN GLASS. Indian Museum. Vase or basin with
           wide-spreading lip. (H. 5-3/4 in.) Milky, semi-transparent
           glass; the ground gilt, surrounding white flowers, with
           pistils of red enamel. _Provenance_ unknown. (Delhi
           district?)                                (_To face p. 343._)

     XLIX. CHINESE GLASS. Victoria and Albert Museum.

           (1) Bowl of mottled green glass with purple markings,
           imitating jade. (H. 2-7/8 in.) Eighteenth century. From the
           Bernal collection.

           (2) Spindle-shaped vase of orange, ‘tortoise-shell’ glass.
           (H. 7-1/2 in.) The stopper of silver, inlaid with Chinese
           characters; the base European.

           (3) Small tripod vase of mottled yellow glass, in form of
           incense-burner. (H. 3-3/4 in.) Eighteenth century.
                                                     (_To face p. 350._)


AGRICOLA (GEORG): _De Re Metallica_ (last chapter of work). Basle, 1556.

APPERT (L.) ET HENRIVAUX: _Verre et Verrerie_. Paris, 1894.

APPERT (L.): _Notes sur les verres des Vitraux Anciens_. Paris, 1896.

BAPST (A.): _Chinesische Glasarbeiten; Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst_,

BATE (PERCY): _English Table-Glass_. No date. (1904?)

BIRINGUCCIO (V.): _De la Pirotechnia_. Venice, 1540.

BLANCOURT (HAUDICQUER DE): _L’Art de la Verrerie_. Paris, 1697.


  _Guide du Verrier_. Paris, 1868.

  _Exposé des moyens employés pour la fabrication des Verres
    Filigranés_. 1845.

BORDONI: _L’Arte Vetraria in Altare_. Savona, 1884.

BOSC D’ANTIC (P.): _Mémoires sur l’Art de la Verrerie_. Paris, 1780.

BOUTELLIER (L’ABBÉ): _Histoire des Gentilshommes Verriers de Nevers_.

BRENT (JOHN): ‘On Chevron Beads.’ _Archæologia_, vol. xlv.

BRINCKMANN (JUSTUS): Various Catalogues, etc., of the Hamburg Museum.

BUCHER (B.): _Die Glassammlung des K.K. Oesterreich. Museum_. Vienna,


  _Oriental Ceramic Art_. New York, 1899.

  _Chinese Art_, vol. ii. (South Kensington Art Handbooks). 1906.

BUSSELIN (D.): _Les Célèbres Verreries de Venise_. Venice, 1846.


  _Delle Origini dell’ Arte Vetraria Muranese_. R. Institute Veneto,

  _Monographie dell’ Arte Vetraria._ Venice, 1874.

CZIHAK (E. VON): _Schlesische Gläser_. Breslau, 1891.

DALTON (O. M.):—

  _Catalogue of Early Christian Antiquities in the British
    Museum—Cemetery Glasses_. 1901.

  ‘Gilded Glass of Catacombs.’ _Archæological Journal_, 1901.

DEVILLE (A.): _Histoire de l’Art de la Verrerie dans l’Antiquité_.
  Paris, 1873.

DOBBS (H. C.): ‘Glass-blowers of North-west Provinces.’ _Journal of
  Indian Art_, vol. vii.


FILLON (B.): _L’Art de Terre chez les Poitevins_. Niort, 1864.

FIORAVANTI (L.): _Dello Specchio di Scienza Universale_, Bk. vii. cap.
  29. Venice, 1567.

FOURCAUD (L. DE): _Émile Gallé_. Paris, 1903.

FOWLER (J.): ‘On the Process of Decay in Glass.’ _Archæologia_, vol.


  _Guide to Glass Room in British Museum_, 1888.

  _Art Treasures of United Kingdom. Vitreous Art._ 1858.

FRIEDRICH (C.): _Die Altdeutschen Gläser_. Nürnberg, 1884.

FROEHNER (W.): _La Verrerie Antique_. _Collection Charvet_, 1879.


  _Histoire de la Verrerie et de l’Émaillerie_. Tours, 1886.

  _Spitzer Catalogue_, vol. iii. ‘La Verrerie.’


  _Storia dell’ Arte Christiana_, vol. iii. 1876.

  _Vetri ornati di Figure in Oro._ 1858 and 1864.

GARZONI (T.): _Piazza Universale di tutte le professioni del Mondo_.
  Discorso lxiv. Venice, 1585.

GERSPACH: _L’Art de la Verrerie_. Paris, 1885.

GRIFFITH (F.): _Egypt Exploration Fund_. Tanis, Part ii. 1888.

HALLEN (REV. A.): ‘Glass-making in Sussex, etc.’ _Scottish Antiquary_,

HARTSHORNE (ALBERT): _Old English Glasses_. 1897.

HAVARD (H.): _Les Arts de l’Ameublement_. _La Verrerie._ Paris, 1894.

HERACLIUS or ERACLIUS: _De Artibus et Coloribus Romanorum_. Eitelberger
  von Edelberg: _Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte_, vol. iv.

HIRTH (F.): _Chinesische Studien_; _Zur Geschichte des Glases in
  China_. Leipsic, 1890. And other papers.

D’HOLBACH (BARON)?: _Art de la Verrerie, de Neri, Merret et Kunckel_.
  Paris, 1752.

D’HONDT (P.): _L’Art de la Verrerie_. Liége, 1891.

HOUDOY (J.): _Verrerie à la façon de Venise_. Paris, 1873.

KUNCKEL (J.): _Ars Vitraria Experimentalis_. 1679.


  _La Collection Debruge Duménil_. Paris, 1847.

  _Histoire des Arts Industriels_, vol. iv. Paris, 1866.

LACROIX (P.): _Les Arts au Moyen Âge et à l’Époque de la Renaissance_.
  Paris, 1869.


  _The Art of the Saracens in Egypt_. London, 1886.

  _Arabic Glass Weights in British Museum_. 1891.

LAYARD (SIR A. H.): _Nineveh and its Remains_. 1853.

LAZARI (V.): _Notizia delle Opere d’Arte della Raccolta Correr_.
  Venice, 1859.

LOBMEYR (L.): _Die Glas-industrie_. Stuttgart, 1874.

LOYSEL (C.): _Essai sur la Verrerie_. Paris, 1800. (Written earlier.)

MATHESIUS: _Sarepta oder Bergpostil_ (Sermon xv.). Nürnberg, 1562.

MERRET (C.): _The Art of Glass of Neri translated into English_.
  London, 1662.

MILANESI (G.): _Tre Trattatelli dell’ Arte del Vetro per Mosaici_.
  (Fifteenth century MSS.) 1864.

MINUTOLI (H. DE): _Ueber der Anfertigung der farbigen Gläser bei den
  Römern_. Berlin, 1836.

MOLINIER (E.): _La Peinture sous Verre_. _Spitzer Catalogue_, vol. iii.

NAPLES: _Description of Museo Borbonico_. _Glass_, vols. v., xi., and

NERI (A.): _L’Arte Vetraria_. 1612.


  _Catalogue of Slade Collection of Glass_. Privately printed, 1871.

  _Catalogue of Glass Vessels in South Kensington Museum_, 1878.

  _Glass_ (South Kensington Art Handbooks), 1875.

  ‘Opus Sectile in Glass.’ _Archæologia_, vol. xlv.

  _Encyclopædia Britannica_, article ‘Glass.’ 1879.

OWEN (H.): _Ceramic Art in Bristol_ (chapter on Bristol Glass). 1873.

PASSINI (A.): _Il Tesoro di San Marco_. Venice, 1886.

PELIGOT (M. E.): _La Verre, Histoire et Fabrication_. 1876.


  _Curiosities of Glass-making_. London, 1849.

  _Memoir on the Origin, etc., of Glass-making_. London, 1821.

PELLETIER: _Les Verriers du Lyonnais_. 1887.


  _Burlington Fine Arts Club; Introduction to Catalogue of Egyptian
    Exhibition_, 1895.

  _Tell-el-Amarna_. _Egypt Exploration Fund_. 1894.

PINCHART (A.): _Les Fabriques des Verres de Venise, d’Anvers et de
  Bruxelles au XVI^e. et au XVII^e. siècles_. _Bulletins des
  Commissions Royales_. Bruxelles, 1882.

PLINIUS SECUNDUS (CAIUS): _Historia Naturalis_, Bk. xxxvi. caps. 44-47.

PORTER (G. R.): ‘Glass and Porcelain.’ _Lardner’s Cabinet
  Encyclopædia_. London, 1832.

POWELL (H. J.):—

  _Principles of Glass-making_. London, 1883.

  _Encyclopædia Britannica_, article ‘Glass.’ 1902.

READ (C. H.):—

  ‘Glass in South Saxon Graves.’ _Archæologia_, vol. lv.

  ‘On a Saracenic Goblet of Enamelled Glass.’ _Archæologia_, vol. lviii.

RIAÑO (J. F.): _Industrial Arts in Spain_, Part ii. (South Kensington
  Handbooks). 1879.

SANTI (M.): _Origini dell’ Arte Vetraria in Venezia e Murano_.


  _La Verrerie depuis les Temps les plus reculés_. Paris, 1868.


  _Marvels of Glass-making_. (Translation of above.) London, 1870.

SCHEBEK (E.): _Böhmens Glasindustrie und Glashandel_. Prague, 1878.

SCHMORANZ (G.): _Old Oriental Gilt and Enamelled Vessels_. German and
  English Editions. Vienna and London, 1899.

SCHUERMANS (H.): _The Wanderings of the Muranese and Altarist
  Glass-workers. Eleven Letters_. _Bulletins des Commissions Royales_.
  Bruxelles, 1883-1891.

_Spitzer Catalogue_. _See_ GARNIER and MOLINIER.

THEOPHILUS: _Diversarum Artium Schedula_. Eitelberger von Edelberg.
  _Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte_, vol. viii. Vienna, 1874.

URE (A.): _Dictionary of Arts_, article ‘Glass.’ 1853.

VOPEL (H.): _Die Altchristlichen Goldgläser_. Freiberg, 1899.


  _Monographia della Vetraria Veneziana_. Venice, 1873.

  _Museo Civico di Murano_; _Guida di Murano_. Venice, 1866.

                       KEY TO THE PRECEDING LIST

_Egyptian_, _etc._ Griffith, Layard, Petrie.

_Greco-Roman and Roman._ Deville, Froehner, Fowler, Minutoli, Naples
  Museum, Nesbitt, Pliny.

_Early Christian_, _Byzantine_, _Anglo-Saxon_, _etc._ Brent, Dalton,
  Garrucci, Heraclius, Passini, Read, Theophilus, Vopel.

_Saracenic and Perso-Indian._ Lane-Poole, Dobbs, Read, Schmoranz.

_Venetian_ (Murano and Altare). Biringuccio, Bontemps, Bordoni,
  Busselin, Cecchetti, Fioravanti, Garzoni, Houdoy, Labarte, Lazari,
  Neri, Pinchart, Santi, Schuermans, Zanetti.

_French and Spanish._ Boutellier, Fillon, Fourcaud, Gamier, Gerspach,
  Pelletier, Riaño.

_German._ Agricola, Brinckmann, Von Czihak, Friedrich, Kunckel,
  Lobmeyr, Mathesius, Schebek.

_English._ Bate, Hallen, Hartshorne, Merret, Owen, Pellat.

_Chinese._ Bapst, Bushell, Hirth.

_Technical._ Appert, Blancourt, Bontemps, Bosc d’Antic, D’Holbach,
  Kunckel, Lobmeyr, Loysel, Merret, Neri, Peligot, Pellat, Porter,
  Powell, Ure.

_General and historical._ Brinckmann, Franks, Garnier, Gerspach,
  Havard, Labarte, Lacroix, Nesbitt, Sauzay.


                               CHAPTER I


Glass is a substance in so many ways connected with the conveniences
and amenities of our daily life, and the word calls up so many varied
associations, that I must here at the very beginning make clear with
what a comparatively small proportion of the manifold applications of
the substance I have to deal.

In the first place, this is an art history, so that with methods of
manufacture and practical uses we are only concerned so far as they may
influence or help to explain points of artistic interest. Again, even
on the artistic side, it is not with every branch of the varied
applications of glass that we shall be occupied in this work. By an
anomaly of the English language, whose vocabulary for matters connected
with the arts is so strangely deficient, we have come to understand by
the term ‘glass,’ when used without further explanation, what is called
in the trade ‘hollow ware,’ the _verrerie_ of the French; in other
words—vessels of glass. The term may also be extended to include
various minor applications of the material—beads, small ornaments,
etc., what the French call _verroterie_. But the application of glass
to windows, especially when coloured and stained glass is in question,
to say nothing of work in mosaic, is usually, although not always, held
to lie outside this narrower connotation of the word.

Now it happens that for us this restriction is in every way convenient.
For though the material basis is the same, it is evident that both the
artist who works in mosaic and the designer of stained windows are
concerned, each in his department, with artistic problems only
incidentally connected with the material in which they work. In other
words, the art element in both these crafts only becomes prominent at a
stage when the actual preparation of the glass is completed. It is,
however, certainly a pity that there is no English word which would not
only clearly connote the class of objects with which I have here to
deal, but which would at the same time distinctly comprise nothing

I have now explained the somewhat restricted and artificial sense of
the word glass that I propose to accept in this work. But for a moment
let us pass to the other extreme, and going beyond the ordinary
connotation of the term include in it the glazes of pottery—the word
‘glaze’ is in its origin the same as glass—as well as the many forms
of enamel. In all these cases we are dealing with substances of similar
composition. They may all probably be traced back to a common origin,
so that from an evolutionary point of view we have here an instance of
the development of the complex and varied from the simple and single.
Looking at the question in another way, the art of the enameller, using
the term in a restricted sense, may be held to be subsidiary both to
that of the potter and of the glass-worker; while many of the problems
that arise in treating of the glazes of fictile wares—questions as to
fusibility, or as to the colours employed and the changes of these
colours during the firing—turn up again in the manufacture of glass.
We shall see that experience gained in following the processes of one
art may serve to throw light upon the difficulties and problems of the

Historically the connection between glass and pottery is not so close.
In some degree the prevalence of one art has tended to oust the other,
or to relegate it to an inferior position. The Greeks, who carried the
potter’s art to such perfection, knew little about glass—it was long
an exotic substance for them. The Romans, on the other hand, who in the
first centuries of our era first fully appreciated and developed the
capacities of glass, produced little pottery of artistic interest. In
the sixteenth century, in Umbria and Tuscany, where the finest majolica
was made, we hear nothing of the manufacture of glass, while on the
other hand the fayence of Venice, at this time pre-occupied with her
glass, was of subsidiary importance. If we turn to the home of
porcelain, in China glass has always held a subordinate position, while
in Japan it was until recent days practically unknown.

Were a comparison to be made between the development of the various
minor arts, it would be difficult to find a wider contrast than that
between the history of porcelain and that of glass. The knowledge of
porcelain was confined for nearly a thousand years to China, the
country where it was first made, and where it was slowly brought to
perfection. Let loose, as it were, in the West early in the eighteenth
century, it had then a short period of glory, but before the end of the
century the art had already fallen upon evil days. The manufacture of
glass, on the other hand, had long been carried on in Egypt, and
perhaps in other Eastern lands, by a primitive process, although it
only became an article of general use after the discovery of the
blowing-iron. When and where this discovery was made we do not
know—perhaps somewhere in Syria or Mesopotamia, in the third or second
century before Christ. The art of blowing glass was known, no doubt, if
not fully developed, at the time when the kingdoms of the Ptolemies and
of the Seleucidæ fell under the rule of the Romans. By them it was
before long brought to perfection and carried into every corner of the
West, so that by the second or third century of our era the production
of glass in Europe was probably greater than at any subsequent time, at
least until quite recent days. Nor was the art of glass-making
completely extinguished by ‘the advance of the barbarians.’ Indeed,
some of the Germanic tribes not impossibly brought with them a
knowledge of the process not only of preparing but also of blowing
glass, picked up on their journeyings through East Europe, or perhaps
even learned in Western Asia. This was an instance of the passage to
the North and West of the arts of civilisation, by what we may call the
back-road of Europe, in opposition to the high-roads that led directly
from Italy by way of the Rhone and the Rhine.

But in the West the manufacture, though continuously carried on in many
spots, was after the fall of the Western Empire relegated to the
woods,—for nearly a thousand years little glass was produced of any
artistic interest. Indeed, but few examples of this forest or green
glass of the Middle Ages have survived to our time. During all this
long interval, in one direction only, in the West, was any advance
made. Within this period falls the great development of stained glass:
we must turn to the glorious windows of the cathedrals of France and
other Western lands, to see what the glass-workers of the time were
capable of producing. In the East, on the other hand, in the lands
ruled from Constantinople or influenced by Byzantine civilisation, what
we know of the glass of the early Middle Ages is almost confined to the
mosaic coverings of the walls of the contemporary churches. But just as
distinctly as the glass in the windows of the Gothic churches, this
mosaic work, for the reason we have already given, falls outside our

It was not till the end of the twelfth century that any important
advance was made in our narrower department of ‘hollow ware.’ Among
the many beautiful things made during that glorious season of
artistic production that had its start about this time in Egypt (or
perhaps, rather, in the lands between the Persian Gulf and the
Mediterranean)—except it be the inlaid metal work—there is nothing
that now interests us so much as the enamelled glass, the beautiful
ware that culminated in the magnificent Cairene mosque lamps of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The art of enamelling on glass
passed over to Venice in the fifteenth century, perhaps earlier, and
there in the next century the manufacture of the famous _cristallo_
was finally achieved, and complete mastery was obtained in the
working of this pure white glass. A fresh start was now given to the
industry in the north by means of the Venetian glass-workers, who
were sought for in every country to teach their new methods.

In Germany alone did some of the traditions of the old forest-workers
of ‘green-glass’ survive. By the end of the seventeenth century the
German glass, in some respects to be regarded as a compromise between
the old and new, had become the most important in Europe. For a hundred
years the products of ‘the mountain fringe of Bohemia’ held the premier
position, but towards the end of the eighteenth century this place was
taken by the facetted flint-glass of England. It is certainly
remarkable that it is only of quite recent years that any such
prominent position could be claimed for France, which heretofore had
been content to follow in the wake first of Venice and then of Germany
and of England. At the present day, however, this at least may be
said—that France is almost the only country where any really artistic
work in glass, apart from the reproduction of old patterns and old
methods, is being produced.

This hasty sketch of the history of glass-making will help us to
understand why it is that in following the development of the art in so
many lands, and for a period of more than three thousand years, there
is no need to linger for any time except at a few of the more important
_étapes_. Indeed such a procedure is forced upon us, for much of the
road is quite barren, other parts are unexplored, while for whole
stages we pass through prosaic districts where we find little of
artistic merit to detain us.

The periods, then, of real importance in the history of glass, either
from the _cultur-historisch_ or from a purely artistic point of view,
are separated by long intervals, during which little of interest was
produced. The primitive glass of Egypt, the varied productions of the
first centuries of the Roman Empire, the enamelled glass of the
Saracens, and the Venetian glass of the Renaissance—this exhausts all
that we find either of commanding historic interest or of superlative
artistic merit. What follows—the German and the Netherlandish glass of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—is still of some importance
under both these heads. I can hardly say so much of the English glass
of the eighteenth century; but this glass must not be neglected—it is
English, and it is highly prized by many enthusiastic collectors.

It will be seen that there is a long gap between the first and second
of our critical periods—between the beginning of the primitive
Egyptian and the earliest Roman glass. This gap will be filled, in some
measure, by some account of the rare surviving specimens of glass that
can claim an Assyrian origin, of the glass pastes of the Mycenæan age,
and of the few examples of glass that can be strictly classed as Greek
of the classical age. So again of the second long hiatus—the interval
of nearly a thousand years between the period of the Roman glass and
that of the Saracens,—this may be partly filled by the few scanty
pieces that have come down to us from Sassanian and Byzantine times. To
this period belongs also the glass of the Germanic tribes of northern
Europe, above all that of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors.

Some notice must also be taken of a few districts situated on bypaths,
of the glass from countries that lie away from the main centres of
production—these latter centres, I may note, until comparatively
recent times are mostly to be found in close connection with the basin
of the Mediterranean. To these outlying districts we must finally turn
to examine the glass of Persia, of India, and above all the glass of

An interesting chapter, nay, a separate work, might be devoted to the
classification and history of a class of objects of which the
manufacture has been carried on continuously and with few changes from
the time of the Middle Empire in Egypt—of beads, I mean, and other
allied applications of glass, included in the French term _verroterie_.
But, however great the claims to attention of such objects, their
interest is rather archæological than artistic, and it will be
sufficient to treat of them incidentally along with the, for us, more
important class of ‘hollow ware’ produced with the aid of the
glass-blower’s tube.


Christopher Merret, our earliest English writer on glass, sets down the
properties of the material under twenty-six heads, ‘by which we may
easily differentiate it from all other bodies.’ From these I will
select some four or five which will be sufficient for our purpose.
Thus, of glass, he says: ‘’Tis a concrete of salt and sand or stones.
’Tis artificial. It melts in a strong fire. When melted ’tis tenacious
and sticks together.... When melted it cleaves to iron, etc. ’Tis
ductile whilst red-hot, and fashionable into any form, but not
malleable, and it may be blown into a hollowness’ (_Art of Glass_,
1662). Here we have briefly expressed the real _differentiæ_ of glass.
It is rather by these properties than by any virtue of transparency or
of definite chemical composition that glass is to be distinguished from
all other bodies; and it is only by duly taking advantage of these
properties that the preparation of a vessel of glass is rendered

In passing from a liquid to a solid state there intervenes a viscous
stage when the glass may be gathered at the end of an iron rod; the
ductile, tenacious mass may now be drawn out into long threads, whose
length and fineness are only limited by the difficulty of maintaining
the requisite temperature. Again, if the rod upon which the mass is
gathered is hollow, the glass may be blown out into a vesicle or bulb,
the starting-point from which an endless variety of objects, bottles,
cups, tubes, or even flat sheets of glass, may be subsequently formed.
Until advantage was taken of this remarkable property of glass—its
capability, I mean, of being blown out into a hollow vesicle when in a
viscid condition—the art of the glass-maker was in a primitive stage.
We may compare the glass prepared without the aid of the
blowing-tube—that of the ancient Egyptians, for instance—to the
pottery made by hand before the invention of the potter’s wheel.

In dealing with the practical side of our subject—the materials from
which glass is made, how these materials are first fritted and then
fused together, and how the fused mass is subsequently dealt with—the
best plan will be to approach the questions in each case from the point
of view of the time and country. But as, on the one hand, for classical
times, our sources of information for these practical details are but
scanty, and as, on the other, I am not concerned with the industrial
developments of the nineteenth century, it will be well to postpone any
fuller treatment of such matters until I come to speak of the glass of
late Mediæval and Renaissance times. I shall then be able to make use
of contemporary accounts which will throw light on the processes of

A few preliminary notes on the chemical and physical properties of
glass may, however, not be out of place.

Glass, Merret tells us, is ‘a concrete of salt and sand or stones.’
This, in modern scientific language, we should express by saying that
it is a combination of silica with an alkali. But these substances
alone are not enough. You cannot make a glass fit for practical use
from a pure quartz sand with the addition of nothing else than a salt
of potash or soda. Such a glass—a simple alkaline silicate—would
indeed be transparent, but it would be difficult to work and very
fragile. In all cases there is need of a second base, and this, to
speak generally, should be either lime or oxide of lead. The latter
base we may for the present neglect; speaking generally, it is the
presence of lime that gives the working qualities and the requisite
toughness. These, then, are the essential materials for the preparation
of glass. Other substances may be present; alumina, for example, or one
or other of the oxides of iron, but as a rule the presence of these
latter bases is not desired—the glass would be better without them.

Putting aside, then, for the present the glass in which lead is a
constituent, as well as that in which the soda is replaced by potash,
it is remarkable how little difference of composition we find in
examples of glass of the most divergent origin. Let us compare the
composition of a Roman ‘lachrymatory’ with that of a piece of modern
English plate-glass. In a hundred parts we find—

                        Silica.   Soda.   Lime.   Iron Oxide.   Alumina.

   Roman lachrymatory   71·5      16·5    8       1             2
   English Plate-glass  72        17      6       2             2

These examples are indeed two extreme terms of a long but continuous
series. A sample of Saracenic glass of the fourteenth or of Venetian
glass of the sixteenth century, would yield on analysis much the same

This, then, may be regarded as the normal composition of such glass as
I shall have to deal with in this history. The main question has
generally been—How can the sand or silica, the premier element in
glass, be best converted into a substance which shall in external
aspect resemble as closely as possible the native rock crystal (itself
pure silica), but which at the same time shall be not only fusible, but
after fusing pass on cooling through a plastic condition when it may be
expanded into a vesicle and otherwise worked up into various shapes?
Long practical experience has shown that this can be best effected by
adding to the sand materials containing both soda and lime, and as far
as possible nothing beyond these bases. A glass thus compounded we may
take as our normal type, but, as I have said, the soda may in certain
cases be replaced by potash and the lime by lead oxide.

Silica in any case is the essential element in glass, and in any normal
glass there may be present from 60 to 75 per cent. If, however, the
bases with which it is combined have a high combining number—and this
is especially the case with lead—the percentage of silica may fall
below the former figure. Thus, in a bottle glass with 12 per cent. of
iron oxide and alumina[2] the proportion is reduced to 54 per cent.,
and in a flint glass with 43 per cent. of lead oxide there is only 45
per cent. of silica.

It was once the fashion among English writers on glass to classify the
substance under the heads of crown-glass, bottle-glass, broad-glass,
plate-glass, flint-glass, etc.; but such a classification, not very
logical in itself, would be of no use to us.[3]

Glass, of course, varies in optical properties, in hardness, and in
fusibility, but I do not think that any useful classification could be
based directly on these properties. But there is one distinction of the
greatest importance technically and geographically, and this is between
the glass of maritime countries in which the alkali is soda, and that
of inland and forest districts where the soda is replaced by potash. In
the first group, by far the most important—I have indeed regarded such
glass as the normal type—may, it would seem, be placed not only the
‘primitive’ glass of the Eastern Mediterranean, but probably all the
glass of the Romans. To it belongs also the glass of the Saracens and
the greater part of the artistic glass of the Renaissance, including
the Venetian glass, although in this last the soda is often in part
replaced by an appreciable quantity of potash. The potash group, on the
other hand, includes the old _voirre à fougère_ of the French and the
_wald-glas_ of the Germans. In addition, almost the whole of the glass
of higher quality made in later days in Germany and in the Bohemian
borderlands belongs essentially to this last class. Finally, it may be
mentioned that in the case of the abnormal family where the lime is
replaced by oxide of lead, the alkali is invariably potash. Of this
family our English flint-glass is the most important member.

With regard to the hardness of glass, Merret mentions as the thirteenth
property possessed by that substance, ‘that it only receives sculpture
or cutting from a _Diamond_ or _Emery_ stone.’ But such a statement
would be likely to give an exaggerated idea of the hardness of glass.
If we take the scale of hardness used by the mineralogist, it will be
found that there are few kinds of glass that do not fall between the
fifth and sixth divisions of that scale. In other words, it would be
difficult to find a specimen of glass on which a crystal of apatite
(phosphate of lime) would make any impression, whereas all glass in
ordinary use is readily scratched by felspar. It is possible, however,
that some kinds of Bohemian glass may equal the latter mineral in
hardness; it is indeed a common statement that certain Bohemian or
German ‘combustion-tubes’ will strike fire with steel. On the other
hand, the presence of lead tends to make a soft glass; our cut flint is
perceptibly softer than common window-glass, and perhaps the most
important defect of the paste used to imitate precious stones—such
paste may contain as much as 50 per cent. of lead oxide—is to be found
in its comparative softness.

At the same time, the greater the amount of lead in a glass, the
greater its dispersive power on the light that passes through it. Hence
the brilliancy and fire of flint-glass, and still more of artificial

Apart from the varieties containing lead, samples of glass differ
little in weight; the specific gravity may range between 2·4 and 2·8.
That of flint-glass, on the other hand, varies from 3 to 3·8; indeed in
some optical glasses containing a large percentage of lead, and again
in the paste used for false jewellery, the specific gravity may be as
high as 4·5 or even 5.

The high melting-point, or more definitely the high softening-point, of
certain kinds of Bohemian and German glass, makes them invaluable in
the laboratory of the chemist. On the other hand, the ready fusibility
of glass containing lead was, as we shall see, one of the causes that
promoted the adoption of such a glass in our furnaces.

Thus we find that the potash-lime glass of Bohemia, containing a high
percentage of silica, excels in hardness and resistance to heat; on the
other hand, the various kinds of glass containing lead are soft and
easily fusible, and at the same time they combine a high specific
gravity with a wide dispersive power. What we may call the maritime or
soda-lime glass takes an intermediate place in all these respects. This
is indeed an additional reason for regarding this great family of
‘Mediterranean’ glass as the normal type.

The two essential elements, then, required by the glass-maker are, in
the first place, silica, and secondly an alkali, in each case as pure
as possible, and in a convenient form for mixing and fusing together. I
do not propose here to do more than indicate the source of these

The silica has at all times been derived either from solid quartz,
whether in the form of rock crystal or of the white pebbles from the
beds of Alpine rivers, or more often from sand obtained either by
excavation or from the seashore.

In the case of the alkali, the maritime people of the South extracted
their soda, for the most part, from the ashes of certain plants growing
in salt marshes near the sea. Most of these maritime plants belong to
the natural order of the Chenopodiaceæ, the goose-foot or spinach
tribe, and we find among them various species of Salsola, Chenopodium,
Salicornia, etc. These plants were all included in old days under the
vague name of _kali_. The roughly lixiviated ashes exported from Spain
were known in the trade as _barilla_; those from the Levant as
_roquetta_.[4] In other instances the impure alkaline carbonates were
found ready at hand—as in the case of the natron deposits not far from
Cairo. In the North the principal source of soda was till recent days
the _varech_ or kelp, cast up on the west coast of France and of

The inland folk, on the other hand, had to find the alkali for their
glass in the ashes of plants. This ‘potash’ was obtained by lixiviating
the ashes of various trees and bushes—in Germany the ashes of
beechwood, in France those of the bracken or _fougère_, were most in

The quality of the glass depended in great measure upon the care taken
in the preparation of the soda or potash. But the more impure ashes had
this advantage: the amount of lime, to say nothing of the iron oxide
and alumina, that they contained, rendered unnecessary in many cases
the addition of any further basic material; even the comparatively pure
Spanish barilla contained as much as seven per cent. of lime. In other
cases that base had to be added, generally in the form of a more or
less impure limestone.

Of the furnaces and of the various operations that come into play in
the preparation of the glass I shall treat as the occasion arises in
the following chapters. As, however, in this book we are—at least
after the ‘primitive glass’ has been dealt with in the next
chapter—almost exclusively concerned with vessels of ‘hollow ware’
made by a blowing process, it may be well to indicate, in this
introductory chapter, the nature of this process, and to give the names
of the principal tools used. These implements—apart from quite modern
improvements with which I am not concerned here—are of the simplest
nature, and have undergone little change during the last five hundred
years—perhaps I might say since the days of the Romans.

The molten glass is collected on the extremity of the blowing-iron to
form a ‘gathering.’ This gathering, while still in a soft condition, is
rolled upon the ‘marver’ into a cylindrical mass. By blowing down the
tube this mass is now distended to form a hollow pear-shaped vesicle,
for which it will be convenient to adopt the French term _paraison_. It
is from this paraison that a start is made to form by a ‘spinning’ or
‘flashing’ process a sheet of broad or crown glass; again, the vesicle
may be made to assume a cylindrical shape, and then opened out to form
larger sheets of glass; or finally—and this is for us the most
important—by holding the blowing-iron to which the bulb of glass is
attached in a vertical position (or sometimes by swinging it over the
workman’s head), and then by shaping it by means of certain simple
tools, the paraison is started on the course by which it will finally
be converted into a bottle or into a bowl-shaped vessel. I will here
only dwell on one point. It is evident that so long as the glass is
attached to the blowing-iron, although a simple bulb-shaped vessel may
be formed, there is so far no means of shaping or finishing the upper
portion. Before this can be done the further extremity of the paraison
must be attached by means of a small gathering of molten glass to a
light tapering rod of iron, the ‘punto’ or ‘pontil.’ The vessel—for so
the paraison may now be called—is at this stage removed from the
blowing-iron. This is done by ‘wetting it off’ by means of a rod of
moistened iron. The glass vessel, now attached by its base to the
pontil, is reheated, and the further treatment taken in hand by a
workman seated on a stool with long projecting arms, on which (or on
the knee of the workman) the pontil is rotated. The shaping is chiefly
done by an iron instrument called the ‘procello,’ or spring-tool,
formed like a pair of sugar-tongs by two blades connected by an elastic
bow. Finally, the edges are finished off by shears and scissors of
various forms, which cut the hot glass as if it were a piece of soft
leather. The now finished vessel is removed from the pontil by wetting
the point of attachment, and is taken to the annealing oven.

In this very summary account of the processes involved in making, say,
a flask of simple shape, I have only dwelt upon such instruments and
methods as have for several centuries been in general use.

                           THE DECAY OF GLASS

Before ending this preliminary chapter, a few words may be said of the
changes that take place in glass in the course of time from the action
of the surrounding medium.[5] These changes are in the main due to the
moisture and carbonic acid contained either in the soil or in the
atmosphere. Perhaps what is most striking in this action is on the one
hand the apparently capricious and irregular way in which the glass is
attacked, and on the other the great beauty of the iridescent effects
that so often accompany the process of decay.

As to the apparent irregularity in the progress of the superficial
decay, it would seem that, apart from differences in the chemical
composition of the glass, much depends upon the preservation of the
original smooth ‘epidermis.’ Once this is impaired, whether by
accidental scratches or by the growth of fungus or lichen, the carbonic
acid or the ammonia salts contained in the air or soil find, in the
presence of moisture, a secure lodgment, and the work of decay proceeds
rapidly. Thus in the case of the little flasks of primitive glass of
which I shall have to speak in the next chapter, in one example it may
be found that the smooth skin of the glass has for more than three
thousand years remained absolutely intact, while in another specimen
from a neighbouring tomb the glass not only on the surface, but far
into the interior, has taken on a talc-like or porcelainous
consistency, and the brilliant colours have for the most part

There is no need to enter into the details of the chemical processes
involved in this process of decay. Suffice to say that the action is
one of the same nature as that which has played so important a part in
the geological changes of the earth’s surface, especially in the
disintegration of the granitic rocks. It depends upon the power
possessed by carbonic acid, in the presence of moisture, of decomposing
the silicates of the alkalis. The soluble carbonate of soda or of
potash thus formed is then quickly washed out from the surface of the
glass. There remains, in the form either of iridescent scales or of an
opaque pearly crust, a layer consisting not perhaps of pure silica, but
of an acid silicate of lime, alumina, or lead as the case may be.

Now a piece of clear glass may appear to the eye to be devoid of
internal structure. But the ‘metal’ has, we know, in every case been
subjected during the manufacture to a complicated series of involutions
and doublings, to say nothing of the subsequent inflation if the glass
has been subjected to a blowing process. When decay sets in—something
similar may at times be seen in the case of a piece of wrought
iron—this complicated formation is in part revealed, for it is evident
that upon it the lines taken by the decay are in a measure dependent.
On blown glass especially, the disintegration of the surface tends to
result in a scaly formation resembling that of the shell of an oyster.
As a result of the decomposition of light in its passage through these
fine superficial films, and of the partial reflection from the back of
the scales at various depths, we get those unsurpassed iridescent
effects that we associate above all with the glass of the Romans. That
these brilliant hues are dependent entirely upon the physical structure
is well shown by the total disappearance of the colours when the
surface of a piece of iridescent glass is moistened, as well as by
their reappearance when the glass is again dried.

Lead of glass is much less liable to such changes, but where in such
glass decay has once set in, the whole mass may be converted into a
white horny substance.

In other cases the surface of a piece of clear white glass will become
gradually filled with a series of minute intersecting fissures, which
in time may penetrate the whole mass. When this change has been fully
developed we get a true crackle-glass, not to be confounded with the
frosted glass of Venice mentioned in Chapter XIII. This fissuring of
the glass-mass in its various stages may be traced in many of the
specimens of Venetian, Netherlandish, and English glass at South
Kensington. When fully developed the effect is at times very beautiful.

The tints of coloured glass may, it would seem, change in the course of
time. Colourless glass also, from which the greenish shades derived
from protoxide of iron have been removed by the addition of binoxide of
manganese, is above all liable to assume in the course of time a purple
tint under the action of sunlight. Again, if sulphur be present in
glass, as is the case where sulphate of soda has been employed as a
source of the alkali, the soda salt may be reduced by any protoxide of
iron that is present. The sulphide of sodium and the sesqui-oxide of
iron thus gradually formed will both of them tend to give a yellowish
tint to the glass.[6]

Changes of this nature may occasionally have come about in the stained
glass of the windows of our Gothic churches—the flesh-tints, which we
know were produced in early days by manganese, may in the course of
time have become of a more pronounced purple hue.

                               CHAPTER II


From a technical point of view the history of glass might be divided
into three periods—periods, it is true, of very unequal length and
relative importance.

The first of these, one more especially of archæological interest,
would include all the glass made before the discovery of the process of
forming a vesicle by blowing through a hollow tube. Nearly all the
glass that finds its way into our collections would be classed in the
second period; this would extend from the beginning of our era to the
end of the eighteenth century. In the course of these long centuries,
the work of the glass-maker has of course been influenced by the
varying schools and fashions of different ages and countries, but
technically there is no great advance to be noted in the work of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when compared with that of the
early days of the Roman Empire; and this is still more true if we
consider merely the materials employed, their preparation, and the
methods of their fusion. But before the end of the eighteenth century a
great change had set in. The manufacture of glass in England and France
had become an important industry, and we enter upon the third or
industrial period. With the general advance in mechanical processes
that is so characteristic of the time, the old methods of the working
of glass were swept aside, so that before the middle of the last
century, whatever of interest was to be found in the manufacture and in
its results depended upon anything rather than upon the artistic
qualities of the glass made.

Now, as I have said, the characteristic and dominant quality of glass
is to be found in its capability of being blown into vessels of varying
shape when in a viscous and semi-fluid state. All glass then, made at a
time when advantage had not yet been taken of that essential property
of the material, we may class together in a primitive group. This line
of demarcation is as important, to return to a comparison I have
already made, as that between hand-moulded pottery and that thrown on
the potter’s wheel. The objects made in the earlier period by primitive
processes were mostly small, and their merit depended chiefly upon the
brilliancy and the skilful juxtaposition of a few simple colours—they
may for the most part be classed as _verroterie_.

It has long been acknowledged that it is from Egypt that our earliest
specimens of glass have come. But until quite recently the greatest
misconceptions have prevailed as to the age and the methods of
preparation of Egyptian glass. Misled by an erroneous interpretation of
what are probably representations of metallurgical processes, on the
walls of Twelfth Dynasty tombs at Beni Hassan and elsewhere, it was
inferred that the art of blowing glass was known to the Egyptians at
least as long ago as the days of the Middle Empire; by others the art
was carried back to a still earlier period. We now have almost full
assurance that glass in a true sense was practically unknown to the
Egyptians before the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty (say between 1600
and 1500 B.C.),[7] and that for at least a thousand years after that
period all that was made was produced by a primitive process in which
the blowing-iron found no part. We have, unfortunately, up to the
present time absolutely no evidence to show in what country or at what
date this new process—I mean the blowing of a vesicle of glass—first
came into use. There is, as we shall see, some reason to look for it
rather in Western Asia than in Egypt, but the important point to bear
in mind is that it was only after the introduction of this process of
blowing, first to Alexandria and then to the Rome of the early empire,
that the employment of glass for objects of daily use became in any way

Glass, indeed, in these early days, whether in Egypt or in the Greek
world of the Mycenæan age, was something very different from what
we now understand by the term. We must ‘think away’ a great deal of
the modern connotation of the word. We must, above all, think of the
material in connection with the native precious or semi-precious stones
that it more or less resembled, and which were used along with it for
decorative purposes. We do not know the Egyptian name for glass, but
probably, like the Greeks, they divided all the hard stony bodies used
in the arts into such as were ‘dug up’—natural products, that is, which
they found ready at hand—and such as had been artificially prepared,
and above all previously melted (the Λίθος όρωρυγμένη on the one hand,
and the Λίθος χυτή on the other).

If, as I have said, there is little evidence for the existence of glass
in Egypt before the Eighteenth Dynasty, it is quite otherwise with
regard to a very similar substance, identical almost in chemical
composition—one whose history can be traced much further back. On
beads of clear rock crystal, dating from the First Dynasty, and it
would seem from an even earlier period in some cases, we find a coating
of turquoise blue transparent glaze[8]—the very glaze, in fact, that
has given a prevailing tint to the vast series of smaller objects of
Egyptian art that we see in the cases of our museums. A similar colour,
I may observe, continued in favour in Mohammedan times, and indeed
gives a dominant note to Oriental art in contrast to the ochry tints of
yellow, red, and brown prevalent in the West.

The Egyptians soon learned to apply this blue glaze—essentially a
silicate of soda and copper—to the surface of other natural stones,
and above all to a fritty porous earthenware, the so-called Egyptian
porcelain. Such an alkaline glaze, indeed, will only adhere to a porous
base of this kind, with which it becomes united on firing, by a
chemical reaction, or at least by the solution in it of some of the
silicates of alumina and lime in the clay. This glaze differs
essentially from those used on true porcelain—these last are almost of
the same composition as the ground they cover—but, as in the case of
the glazes on porcelain, so the materials of the Egyptian glazes were
probably first incorporated together in a partially fused frit which
was then ground and mixed with water to form a soup-like ‘slip,’ into
which the object to be glazed was dipped. There have been brought from
Egypt a few rare objects carved out of a blue frit (probably similar to
that used in the preparation of glazes), for which a very early date
has been claimed. But such a frit is no true glass.

The Egyptians had from the earliest periods been adepts in the carving
of native minerals and rocks, and evidently found great pleasure in the
strange markings and contrasts of colour found on their polished
surfaces. Already in pre-dynastic times they availed themselves of
their native granites, porphyries and conglomerates; from these
materials they manufactured those large, carefully turned vases of
which so many have lately been brought from Egypt. For smaller
objects—jewellery, beads, and inlay of various descriptions—they had
command of a wide scale of colours—reds and tawny yellows from jasper,
purple from the amethyst, greens from root of emerald and from a
special kind of felspar, and blue from the turquoise and (at a very
early period) from the _lapis lazuli_. But the stones to which they had
recourse for their favourite blues and greens were rare, and they were
therefore the more ready to find a cheaper substitute in glass. Again,
in Egypt, no stone was in greater favour than the native alabaster,[9]
with its bands and zig-zag lines of transparent crystals in an opaque
base of a warm milky hue. But there was no play of colour in this
latter substance, and its very softness restricted the uses to which it
could be put. In glass they found a substance hard enough to allow of
more delicate forms, and on it chevrons of yellow and white could be
traced upon a nearly opaque ground of turquoise or dark blue. Some such
origin in native stones we may perhaps find for the decorative motives
of the little vases, variously known as _phialæ_, _unguentaria_,
_alabastra_, which were in such favour not only with the Egyptians, but
perhaps even more so among the inhabitants of the islands and coasts of
the Mediterranean, during a period of at least a thousand years. It is
indeed these little vases that are the most characteristic product of
the first period of glass-making.

It is not too much to say that the little we know of the processes of
these early Egyptian glass-makers is derived from notices on the
subject scattered through the memoirs in which Dr. Flinders Petrie has
described the results of his excavations, more especially from the
report issued in 1894, on his discoveries at Tell-el-Amarna. In the
introduction to the catalogue of the Egyptian Exhibition held at the
Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1895, Dr. Petrie has summed up our
knowledge on this subject. I will quote the description of the method
by which, according to him, these alabastra were made.





‘A metal rod of the size of the intended interior of the neck, and
rather conical, was coated at the end with a ball of sand held together
by cloth and string. This was covered with glass, probably by winding a
thread of glass round it, as large beads of this age are thus made. The
vase could then be reheated as often as needed for working by holding
it in a furnace, the metal rod forming a handle, and the sand inside
the vase preventing its collapse. Threads of coloured glass could then
be wound round it and incorporated by rolling; the wavy pattern was
produced by dragging the surface in different directions, the foot was
pressed into shape by pincers, the brim was formed, and the handles
were put on. Lastly, on cooling, the metal rod would contract and come
loose from the neck, and after it was withdrawn the sand could be
rubbed out from the body of the vase.’

The wavy decoration thus obtained was of two types: (i) formed simply
by a succession of crescent-shape curves, or (ii) by means of a double
drag, the pattern assumed a form like a frond of palm leaves, or still
more like these leaves plaited into a basket. (Cf. Pl. II.)

The number of these little vases that can be definitely attributed to
the Eighteenth Dynasty (say about the sixteenth or fifteenth century
B.C.) is small, but it is worthy of note that for brilliancy of colour
and for purity of the glassy paste, the early examples are unsurpassed
in later times. This is certainly a remarkable fact, especially if we
are to regard the art as a new one. I cannot enter here into the
evidence that would seem to point to a foreign origin for this early
Egyptian glass—it will be enough to mention the conquests of Thothmes
III. in Syria, and the close relation of his successor, Akhenaten, the
‘heretic king,’ with Syria and Babylonia, as shown by his marriage, and
by the famous Tell-el-Amarna tablets. As bearing on this question I may
refer to certain paintings on a tomb of this age at Drag Aboul Neggah,
near Thebes (reproduced in the _Revue Archéologique_, 1895, Pl. 15),
which represent the unloading of a foreign trading-vessel. We can
distinguish here the merchants offering certain objects of value to an
Egyptian official; among these are certain striped vases which have
been doubtfully recognised as of glass. In the hieroglyphics
accompanying wall paintings of this period we more than once find that
vessels of rock crystal and _lapis lazuli_ are mentioned, as well as
blocks of uncut stones, and neither by the hieroglyphics used nor by
the representation of the objects would it be easy to distinguish the
latter material from lumps of glass. Again, Syrian workmen are known to
have been employed at this time in Egypt, and nowhere would this be
more likely than in the immediate neighbourhood of the palace of the
king at Tell-el-Amarna, where the glass-works described by Dr. Petrie
were situated.

All this, however, is mere conjecture, while as an argument for the
native origin of Egyptian glass we have the indisputable fact that the
manufacture was carried on in the new town established by Akhenaten at
Tell-el-Amarna (_circa_ 1450-1400 B.C.). This is made clear by the
discoveries of Dr. Petrie in the winter of 1891-92. Among the
waste-heaps of some important glass factories he has found enough
material to put it beyond doubt that glass was there prepared from its
raw constituents. First, with regard to the frits, the essential
preliminary stage in the manufacture of glass: as I have said, some
such half-fused material must have been long in use by the Egyptians in
the preparation of their blue glazes. Complete freedom from iron was
attained in this case (just as in after days by the Venetians) by the
employment of crushed pebbles of white quartz as the source of the
silica. These pebbles served also for the floor of the furnace, and
they were doubtless more easily crushed after being thus used for some
time. The fritting-pans, to judge from some large fragments of frit
that turned up, were shallow bowls some ten inches across. These pans
were, it would seem, supported for firing by cylindrical jars
resembling the seggars of porcelain works. The shape and size of the
crucibles in which the frit was subsequently melted may be inferred
from some masses of glass found in the rubbish. These masses had been
allowed to cool in the melting-pot, and the presence of frothy and
worthless matter at the top was a proof that the glass was not merely
remelted in them, but prepared on the spot from the above-mentioned
frit. The glass was left to solidify in the crucible, and when cold,
the crucible, as well as the scum at the top, was chipped away, leaving
a clear lump of good glass. Dr. Petrie thinks that this glass was not
remelted as a whole for subsequent working, but that lumps of suitable
size were chipped off, and these, being heated to softness, ‘were then
laid on a flat surface and rolled by a bar worked diagonally across
them; ... the marks of this diagonal rolling are seen on the finished
rolls.’ The rods thus produced were now drawn out to form a cane, or,
if previously rolled flat, a thin ribbon. Beads were formed by winding
these canes or threads of glass round a wire, or rather round a fine
rod of hammered bronze, for wire-drawing was an invention of a much
later date; such rods have indeed been found with the unfinished beads
still on them. Similar canes of glass were doubtless worked in to the
sides of the little vases to form the banded and chevron decoration
which I have already described.

The silica for this glass was derived, as we have seen, from quartz
pebbles, but we have no information as to the source of the other
important constituent, the alkali. It is known, however, that the glass
of the ancients was essentially a soda-glass, made for the most part in
maritime regions. Again, the possibility of obtaining an abundant
supply of fuel has always been an important element in the selection of
localities for glass-works. Now in the neighbourhood of Thebes fuel
must always have been scarce and dear, and it is uncertain whether
there was any source of soda near at hand. We may perhaps regard the
glass-works of Tell-el-Amarna as due in the main to the caprice of that
eccentric sovereign Akhenaten. They were probably started at his orders
to supply the demand for the new material then coming into favour at
his court. In so far as the making of glass ever became an industry in
Egypt, we must look rather to the neighbourhood of the Delta for its
development. There at least fuel would be more abundant, and there a
supply of soda was at hand in the ashes of marine plants, even if the
natron of the adjacent salt lakes was not yet used for the purpose.[10]
But until a much later date, glass was always a somewhat rare substance
in Egypt, and was, it would seem, never produced on a large scale.

I must now say something as to the source of the colours with which the
Egyptians stained their glass. In the absence of any satisfactory
analyses, we are strangely in the dark on this interesting
question.[11] But everything points to the predominance of copper as a
colouring material at an early period, so much so that we may perhaps
consider—and this is a suggestion that has indeed been already made by
a French writer—that the invention of glazes in the first place, and
then that of glass, were offshoots of the metallurgy of copper, and
that these industries may therefore be especially connected with the
copper age. In any case, it was in all probability not, as in later
days, a more or less transparent and colourless glass, but rather one
of a pale or dark blue colour, that at the commencement formed the
basis to which a decoration of other colours was added.

The famous blue of the Egyptians, of which we hear from Vitruvius and
other later writers, was essentially a silicate of soda, lime, and
copper. It should be borne in mind that without the presence of the
first two bases—the lime and the soda—a good copper blue in glass or
glaze cannot be obtained. Indeed in the case of porcelain and fayence,
the blues obtained from copper have always been confined to various
shades of turquoise, as in the well-known glazes and enamels of the
Chinese and the French, and even these turquoise blues, always, as we
have said, containing lime and soda as well as copper, have only been
produced with great difficulty. The mastery of a complete series of
copper blues, ranging through every shade from a blue-black to a pale
greenish turquoise, we may thus regard as a special triumph of the old
Egyptians. At one period a darker shade has been in favour, at another
a paler hue, according as the _lapis lazuli_ on the one hand, or the
turquoise or green felspar on the other, was taken as the standard of
excellence, so that the shade of colour of the glaze on a scarab or a
bead may at times throw some light on its date.

Distinct shades of green, apart from greenish blue, were much less in
favour with the Egyptians, nor did they ever attain to the brilliant
tints of the malachite. A green glass, generally comparatively
transparent, was indeed at times obtained when a certain amount of iron
was present in the materials employed; but this was merely an
accidental modification of the blue. The pale tint of the green felspar
was also imitated in an opaque glass used for inlaying.

For their reds the Egyptians were content to imitate the colour of the
jasper, and here again they had recourse to copper; the transparent
ruby tints of the mediæval workmen, whether obtained from copper or
gold, were unknown to them. Their opaque red glass owed its colour to
the presence, in large quantities, of the basic oxide of copper. In
later specimens as much as 15 or even 20 per cent. has been found; some
tin seems to be always present, giving an opaque enamel-like appearance
to the Egyptian red—perhaps the colour was prepared directly from
bronze. We often find this red paste oxidised on the surface; the
coating of green carbonate then gives it the appearance of a richly
patinated bronze, the blood-red body only showing when the specimen has
been chipped. It is an interesting point that in early times the use of
this red glass appears to have been confined to inlaid work—that is to
say, it was never worked up with glass of other colours. This was, no
doubt, for a practical reason: during the elaborate processes of
patting, shaping, and reheating involved in the old system of working,
the materials must have been exposed to a strong oxidising influence,
and the basic red glass would thereby have lost its fine colour; it
would also, perhaps, have injuriously affected the neighbouring
colours. Some such difficulties in the working together of glasses of
various colours may have influenced the Egyptians in adhering to their
old system of inlays, employing, that is, small pieces, separately cast
or cut out in the cold from slabs of glass of various colours. In such
inlays the red paste was freely used from early times. On the other
hand, I do not think that this fine copper red has ever been found on a
glass vase of Egyptian _provenance_. On a few rare examples of later
date (note especially two alabastra in the Slade collection, Nos. 15
and 35) we find indeed an opaque red combined with other colours, and
in one case it forms the base (Plate II.). This red paste is of a
peculiar spotty consistence, and I am inclined to think that the
colouring matter in these examples is rather iron than copper. In later
days the Egyptians made use of another tint, a fine orange. This
colour, indeed, would seem to be the only addition to their palette
during a period of more than fifteen hundred years.

The purple tint derived from oxide of manganese was known from very
early times; the colour has been found in the glazes of the First
Dynasty. It was, however, rarely used by the Egyptians for colouring
glass. In some of the little vases from the Greek islands and elsewhere
it has, however, been employed to form a zigzag of the usual type upon
an opaque white ground. If we so rarely find this amethyst purple
combined with other colours, this is probably for a reason of a similar
nature to that dwelt upon in the case of the copper red.

Next to the two shades of blue, the colour most frequently found on
Egyptian glass is a yellow, at times of a full mustard tint, but more
often of a paler hue. Feather-like curved chevrons of this colour,
combined with turquoise and opaque white on a deep blue ground,
constitute indeed the normal type of decoration in a whole series of
these little vases. I can find no record of any analysis of this yellow
colour, but we may well compare it with the fine yellow glazes of the
Chinese where the colour is derived from a mixture of an ochry earth
with an oxide of antimony. There is no doubt that this last metal was
known to the Egyptians; it was used at an early period by the women to
darken the outline of their eyes.[12]

What has been said of the colours used by the Egyptians applies equally
to the whole series of this primitive glass, indeed to a large extent
to the glass of the Romans as well. It will form, I hope, a solid
introduction to the subject generally.

The little vases or _unguentaria_—by far the most important objects in
this division of our subject—occur in Egypt in two forms. First, the
true columnar kohl-pots, spreading out at the top in the form of a
lotus capital. Secondly, globular jars with a pair of small handles:
these jars are sometimes flattened at the sides so as to pass into the
shape of a pilgrim’s flask. In a little vase of this latter form in the
British Museum the paste is of a deep, somewhat translucent, brownish
red (Plate II.), and this colour passes in other examples into a rich
transparent honey-red or hyacinth tint. The colour in both cases is, I
think, derived from iron.

Of quite exceptional interest is the little vase in the British Museum,
bearing the _prænomen_ of Thothmes III., painted in yellowish enamel
round the shoulder. I say painted, for in this case the decoration is
simply applied to the surface, and not incorporated into the glass,
thus forestalling the later processes of enamelling upon glass. The
vase in question is somewhat rudely formed; it is of an opaque paste of
a remarkably fine turquoise hue, and the sides are decorated with three
conventional trees also in yellow enamel. This vase has been regarded
as the earliest dated specimen of true glass that is so far known to

The British Museum has lately acquired a curious vessel of glass, five
inches in height, somewhat of the shape of a Greek _crater_. The wavy,
dragged decoration on a pale slaty ground calls to mind certain early
vases of wood or stone _painted_ with a similar design. This vase,
together with a cup of azure blue transparent paste, comes probably
from the tomb of Amenophis II. Another little vase in the same
collection, of _aryballos_ outline, has been shaped apparently by the
lathe—so accurate is the form—from a mass of opaque turquoise paste
of frit-like nature.[14]

It was in the tombs of Amenophis II. and III., in the Valley of the
Kings, near Thebes, that the unique series of glass vases, now in the
Cairo Museum, was found (excavations of 1898-99). On more than one of
these is a cartouche, a rectangle of deep blue, containing the royal
name, ‘inlaid’[15] in several colours. One comparatively large vase
(several of them are as much as eight inches in height) is decorated by
three rosettes in low relief. The twelve petals are of blue, green, and
red (the latter colour quite superficial) on a white ground. Still more
remarkable is a vase with galloping horses and negroes; in this case
the design is apparently inlaid on the interior, and only seen through
the transparent body.

The little pots for cosmetics, in the shape of truncated cones, are
usually made of a turquoise-glazed fayence. Those of glass are very
rare; one in the British Museum is decorated on a nearly black base
with splashes of white enamel; this enamel is now suffering from some
kind of efflorescence and is falling off in scales. On another fragment
in the Glass-Room we find yellow and white splashes on a black ground.
This splashed ware is characteristic, I think, of the later
dynasties—the twentieth and the twenty-first. We are reminded by it of
a similar application of enamel colours to glass that was much in
favour in France in the seventeenth century.

Apart from these little vases, the glass found in Egypt is confined to
pieces for inlay and to beads or other small objects of _verroterie_.
For the inlay the glass was rolled into slabs and cut out in the
desired shape, the surface also being often carved in low relief: in
later times the separate pieces were usually cast in open moulds.
Beside the colours commonly used in the decoration of the vases, we
find also an imitation of the pale green felspar, and the use of a red
paste is, as I have said, more frequent. The individual pieces of the
inlaid designs—they generally represent hieroglyphics, and are
inserted into a basis of wood—are sometimes of a considerable size;
some kneeling figures of a late period, found near Tanis, are as much
as four inches in height. Mr. Griffith found here, among the ruins of
houses dating from early Ptolemaic times, some traces of glass-works,
which allow us to supplement in a measure what we know of the
manufacture in more remote periods. It may be remarked, however, that
on the one hand no vases of the old chevron type were discovered—and
this is true, I think, of all the finds of glass from later deposits in
Egypt—nor on the other hand, as far as I am aware, have any specimens
of blown glass been found even among Ptolemaic remains. At Tanis were
found many small moulds of terra-cotta and limestone into which the
molten glass was run—so, at least, says Mr. Griffith (_Egyptian
Exploration Fund. Tell Nebeshah. 1888_). In earlier times, at any rate,
the process seems rather to have been to press down into the moulds
little pellets of glass in a pasty state.

In the Glass-Room at the British Museum may be seen an interesting
collection of this later glass of Ptolemaic or perhaps Roman date,
found at Denderah. There are many fragments of glass paste destined
probably to be fitted into hollows cut in a wooden plaque, the
intervening surface being covered with gilt _gesso_. Here, as at Tanis,
the colours are practically the same as those found in the Eighteenth
Dynasty glass, with the addition only of the orange-yellow tint to
which I have already referred. It is in the centre of these wooden
plaques that what are perhaps the largest pieces of Egyptian glass
known to us are found. These are the scarabæi of opaque blue glass, at
times so closely resembling _lapis lazuli_ that their true nature has
been in dispute. Even the white marblings and spots of the native stone
are imitated; indeed, in one specimen in the collection of Mr. Hilton
Price, the little grains of pyrites in the stone, so much admired by
the ancients, have been imitated by _paillettes_ of gold scattered in
the paste. (Cf. the passage from Theophrastus quoted below, p. 35.)







But the Egyptians made use also of other processes partaking of the
nature both of inlay and mosaic. Taking advantage of the fact that
pieces of glass when softened by heat adhere to one another—they are
in fact in this condition as ‘sticky’ as partially melted sugar—they
formed a mosaic of small rods of glass; these were heated to a plastic
condition, and if desired drawn out to reduce the dimension of the
design; when cold, transverse sections were cut, on each of which the
pattern appeared. In other cases the design was excavated on the
surface of the glass, the coloured paste pressed into the hollows when
in a soft condition, and the whole plaque finally reheated so as to
form a homogeneous mass. Some such process, at least, must have been
adopted in the preparation of the large slabs, generally with a ground
of deep blue glass, of which a fine series may be seen in the Egyptian
department of the British Museum. Elaborate work of this kind dates for
the most part from Ptolemaic and even Roman times. Similar processes we
shall come across again, in the case of the _millefiori_ glass and the
inlaid wall-plates of the Romans.

It is but a comparatively small number of the little glass vases with
chevron patterns in our collections that have come from Egypt; up to
the present time, however, no trace of their manufacture has been found
in any other country; and although we cannot attribute so early a date
as the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt to any of the little glass jugs and
amphoræ found in Greek and Etruscan tombs, this ‘Mediterranean’ glass
is in every respect subsidiary to the Egyptian series.

                       GLASS IN THE MYCENÆAN AGE

It would, indeed, be quite beside the mark to make a separate division
for the glass of the Greeks, who for one reason or another appear never
to have found much attraction in the material. This would at least seem
to have been the case in Greece itself during the great centuries of
Greek art, for nearly all the specimens of glass that we have from
tombs of that time have been brought from more or less outlying lands,
from Southern Italy, Sardinia or Etruria, above all from the islands of
Rhodes and Cyprus, where the older culture long survived, and where
Phœnician and Egyptian influences were strong.

Such a statement, however, would not hold for the so-called Mycenæan
Age. At that time glass was indeed a rare material brought by Phœnician
merchants from Egypt, perhaps from Syria also. In some cases this
imported glass may have been remelted and worked up again; it was
certainly highly prized.[16] Perhaps the most striking instance of the
application of glass to decorative purposes in Greece itself at this
period, is to be found in the famous frieze discovered by Schliemann in
the vestibule of the men’s hall at Tiryns. The pattern, carved in low
relief upon the alabaster slabs, was heightened by studs of blue glass
fixed into these slabs at intervals. Some of the roundels of this
glass, forming the centre of rosettes, are as much as three-quarters of
an inch in diameter. We have the authority of Virchow for stating that
this is a soda-lime glass, coloured by copper—an analysis showed no
trace of cobalt. On the other hand, cobalt has been found by German
chemists in beads of an otherwise similar composition from Mycenæ and
from the bee-hive tombs of Attica.

Now the question has arisen: Is this glass inlay to be identified with
the _kyanos_ which, as Homer tells us, formed the frieze or cornice
(θριγκός) round the bronze walls in the palace of Alkinoos? Helbig,
writing before the discovery of the frieze at Tiryns, maintained
that the poet’s _kyanos_ was of a glassy nature. He tells us (_Das
Homerische Epos_, pp. 79 _seq._, quoted in Schliemann’s _Tiryns_)—‘This
kyanos must be identified not with blue steel, but with (1st) the
later Σαπφειρός—_lapis lazuli_; (2nd) with the blue colour obtained by
pulverising this stone, and finally with the artificial imitation of
this stone or of ultramarine. The classical passage is in Theophrastus
(_On Stones_, § 55). This author distinguishes between the natural
(αὐτοφυής) and the artificial (σκευαστός) _kyanos_. That by the first
_lapis lazuli_ is intended appears from an another passage (§ 39),
where the gold dust distinctive of the _lapis lazuli_ is cited as the
peculiarity of the natural _kyanos_.... Theophrastus continues—“There
are three kinds of kyanos, the Egyptian, the Scythian, and the Cyprian.
The best for the darker colour is the Egyptian, for the lighter, the
Scythian. The Egyptian is artificially prepared, and those that write
about the kings tell us which king first, to imitate natural kyanos,
melted the prepared kyanos (Κυάνος χυτός), and they allege that, among
other things, from Phœnicia came a tribute of kyanos, partly natural
and partly burnt (τοῦ μὲν ἀπυροῦ τοῦ δὲ πεπυρωμένου).”’

Helbig goes on to identify the unfired kyanos with the copper ore of
Cyprus—the blue carbonate which the Phœnicians brought to the
Pharaohs, and which was the main source of copper for the Eastern

At Mycenæ itself little glass has been found—some minute tubular
beads, decomposed externally but with a core of blue glass (pronounced
by Landerer to contain lead and cobalt), and a few beads of clear
glass. In the bee-hive tombs of Attica, especially at Spata, were found
a number of small objects of glass, cast, says M. Tsountas, in moulds
of granite and basalt which have been discovered on the spot. Indeed in
all these tombs, next to the beads, the commonest examples of glass are
the little rosettes and plaques cast in a mould with a design in low
relief; these rosettes are often pierced with holes and were probably
sewn on to the dresses of the women. The surface, and sometimes the
whole body, is decomposed, presenting a white silvery glimmer, and this
appearance Landerer considers to be characteristic of the presence of
lead in the glass. At Vaphio we hear of fragments of glass ‘goblets’
being found, decorated with spirals of black, chestnut, and yellow
(Tsountas and Manatt, _The Mycenæan Age_, 1897). If these are to be
identified with our chevron vases, it is, as far as I know, the only
mention of their occurrence on the mainland of Greece at this time.

But it is from the Greco-Phœnician tombs of Cyprus and Rhodes that the
greatest quantity of this primitive glass (chiefly in the form of
_unguentaria_) has been obtained; again from Greco-Etruscan tombs in
Tuscany, from what may be called Greco-Oscan tombs in Southern Italy,
and even from Greco-Scythian tombs in Southern Russia—from, in fact,
nearly all the lands visited by Phœnician traders. How widely spread
was the acquaintance with these little vases we may infer from the
imitations of the chevron pattern on coloured pottery found in Melos. A
similar decoration has been found on Lydian pottery from tumuli near
Sardis, and even, it is claimed, upon prehistoric pottery brought from
the Nilghery Hills in Southern India.

These little vases now take characteristic Greek shapes. The columnar
kohl-pots are replaced by alabastra, very similar in form. Even more
common in later tombs are the little _amphoræ_, sometimes pointed at
the base, at others ending in a rounded knob; a jug-shaped form like
the Greek _oinochoe_ is also common. In some cases—in specimens of
Egyptian origin very frequently—the surface of the glass is entirely
unchanged. But when the decay of the surface has once set in, we
generally find that the decomposition has eaten deeply into the
substance of the glass (see above, p. 16). In such cases it often
happens that the blue colour has been entirely removed, and the vase
has assumed the appearance of a dull, whitish pottery.

I will now briefly mention a few abnormal types of decoration. On some
little amphoræ from Southern Italy the chevrons are of a manganese
purple on a white translucent ground—this colour appears never to be
combined with the more frequent blues and yellows. I have already noted
that the use of red is very rare; where it appears, the technique of
the vase appears to be different—the surface has probably been ground
or turned on a lathe. A beautiful alabastron in the Slade collection,
with red ground decorated with turquoise and yellow chevrons, should be
specially noticed. (See also Pl II, 2.)

How much these little vases were valued appears from the stands of gold
(decorated with applied spirals of an early type) on which they were
sometimes placed in the tombs. M. Reinach mentions some instances from
Crimean tombs, where chevron vases of the usual type have been found
attached by a fine chain of gold to the bracelet worn by the deceased
(Tolstoi and Kondakof, _Antiquités de la Russie Méridionale_, 1891).
The little bottles that we see in the hand of the recumbent effigy on
Phœnician sarcophagi, are probably to be identified with our glass
vases; we have an instance of this on the well-known female figure in
the Palermo Museum (figured by Perrot and Chipiez and elsewhere).


There are in the British Museum some little glass amphoræ from Camirus
and Ialysus in Rhodes, and others from Amathia and Salamis in Cyprus,
on which the chevron bands are not incorporated into the glass base,
but laid on the surface as in later enamelled ware. The chevrons in
such cases cannot have been ‘dragged’ by the old ingenious plan; they
must have been elaborately applied one by one. We may recognise
probably in such cases the survival of an old method of decoration
after the technical process by which it was produced had been lost. The
glass itself, too, is of a late type—transparent and hastily formed. I
think that the date of some of these ‘scamped’ chevron vases may be
later than is generally thought.

The beads and other objects of _verroterie_ from the Cyprian and
Rhodian tombs differ much from those found in the Mycenæan sepulchres
of Continental Greece. There are in the British Museum some large beads
of perfectly clear glass from Ialysus in Rhodes[18]; these are probably
of Asiatic origin. We must also range with this ‘primitive’ glass the
large beads—if beads they are to be called—in the form of satyr-like
masks, so widely spread through Mediterranean lands (Pl. XV., 1), as
well as those of irregular shape that so closely resemble the old
‘bull’s eye’ sweetmeats, built up of interlacing bands of various
colours. Indeed the technique of the manufacture of these beads was
probably very similar to that of those handmade ‘lollipops,’ for in
spite of its lower fusing-point, and of its solubility in water, there
are many points of resemblance between sugar in a state of semi-fusion
and glass in a similar condition.[19]

What little I have to say of the rare specimens of glass of a more
advanced type found in Greek tombs, I will postpone to the next chapter.


The civilisation of the inhabitants of the Euphrates valley reaches
probably as far back as that of the Egyptians. Its influence has
extended at various times from the Balkan peninsula to the borders of
India, including Persia on the one hand, and on the other the kingdoms
that grew up in Syria, and among the primitive races of Asia Minor.
Now, if we are to judge by the contents of our museums, all these
lands, at least up to the time of the conquest of Alexander, may be
passed over as of no concern to the writer of a history of glass. If,
however, we allow ourselves to be influenced by less material evidence,
we shall find that a good case may be made out for the early existence
of glass in these lands. But before discussing this evidence, I would
impress upon the reader how much the survival of objects of glass
depends upon the habit of burying in tombs, and their discovery upon
the systematic exploration of these tombs. Compared with Egypt, how
little has been accomplished in this way in these Western Asiatic

I have already noticed the coincidence of the sudden development of the
manufacture of glass in Egypt with the first close contact, at the
period of the Eighteenth Dynasty, of the Egyptians with races already
affected by Babylonian culture; and we must remember that the glass
made within a few years of this first contact was never surpassed in
later times. Nor must we overlook the classical tradition concerning
the invention of glass handed down to us by Pliny and other writers.
According to this tradition, glass was first made by Phœnician traders
on the coast of Syria. Here, at any rate, the three great requisites
for the manufacture were at hand—a pure silica in the convenient form
of a white sand, alkali either from the ashes of marine plants or from
adjacent salt deposits, and finally, an abundant supply of fuel. And
yet, for the present, all that can be said is that we must associate
all the early glass that has been found in other countries than Egypt
with the trading peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean, whether
Pelasgians, Carians, or Phœnicians. To a similar source we may refer
the rare glass beads found in tombs of the bronze period in Western
Europe, as well perhaps as the scanty specimens of glass that have come
from Assyria and Persia. To these last we will now turn.

Of glass of undoubted Assyrian origin, by far the most important
example known to us is the little barrel-shaped vase with stunted
handles found so many years ago by the late Sir Henry Layard in the
ruins of Kouyunjik. This little vessel, after many vicissitudes, has
found its way into the British Museum. It is three and a quarter inches
in height, and is formed of a glass that is perfectly white and nearly
transparent; it still remains, indeed, our earliest example of such
glass. The date is fixed to the latter part of the seventh century
B.C., by an inscription cut in cuneiform characters containing the name
of Sargon, together with his titles as king of Assyria; on it is also
engraved the figure of a lion. Layard speaks of this vase as being
shaped and hollowed on a turner’s lathe after being ‘_blown in one
solid piece_’ (_Nineveh and Babylon_, 1853)—a curious expression for
one who interested himself so much in the manufacture of glass! We may,
perhaps, regard it as having been carved like an object of rock crystal
out of a solid piece of glass. We know of nothing like it from Egypt,
but then the Egyptians had no love for transparent, colourless
materials; from an early time, as we have seen, they had covered their
beads of rock crystal with a blue glaze (cf. p. 20). Here I may add
that the other specimens of glass discovered by Layard at Nineveh have
no claim to so early a date. Among them, however, were two bowls of
great interest, formed of a _vetro di trina_ or ‘lace glass,’ with very
fine meshes. These are now in the Assyrian Department of the British
Museum. Some almost identical bowls from the late Greek tombs of
Canosa, in Southern Italy, may be seen in the Glass-Room in the same

The Assyrians and the Babylonians before them were, we know, from an
early date past masters in the manufacture of coloured glazes. The
turquoise blue glaze of their pottery and wall tiles has been handed
down in these lands apparently without a break, through Persian and
Sassanian times to their later Arab masters. In the Louvre are some
slabs of a translucent glass of a fine turquoise tint, about three
inches square, and three-quarters of an inch in thickness, which were
found in Babylonia, associated apparently with objects of great age.
Such masses of glass paste were perhaps manufactured as articles of
commerce to be employed afterwards in the preparation of glazes.[20]

Apart from these examples, the glass brought from Western Asia is of
the usual later Phœnician or Roman type—‘lachrymatories’ and bowls
mostly of greenish glass. It is not till we come to Sassanian times
that we can find any distinctive features, and the rare specimens
dating from that period will best be treated in a later chapter along
with the contemporary Byzantine glass. I may mention finally that there
are one or two passages in our Greek classics that may point to the use
of glass by the Persians in the fifth century B.C. For instance, among
other hardships suffered by the Athenian embassy to the great king—so
we are told ironically by Aristophanes in his _Acharnians_—they were
forced to drink from vessels of gold and from _cups of glass_, or, may
be, of rock crystal (ἐξ ὑαλίνων ἐκπωμάτων).

We know of no glass other than that of Roman type from the Bible lands,
using that expression in the narrower sense, nor in the whole
literature of the Hebrews is there, as far as I know, any definite
reference to glass. The word _Zechuchoth_, which occurs in a passage of
Job (xxviii. 17), is translated in the Vulgate by _vitrum_, but like
the Greek ὕαλος, it may as well refer to rock crystal, or any other
hard transparent substance. There is, however, a passage in Jeremiah
(ii. 22) which is really of more interest to us. It begins, ‘For though
thou wash thee with nitre and take thee much soap.’ From this passage
we learn at least that the natron of the salt lakes was in early days
applied to practical ends. This was one step to its application to the
manufacture of glass. Since then the soap-boiler has often been the
ally of the glass-maker.

I have thought it well to bring together these few facts and theories
bearing upon the early knowledge and use of glass in Western Asia, for
could its early existence in these lands be once definitely
established, we should be better able to fill up a gap in our history,
and it would perhaps be then possible to solve that obscure
problem—_When and where was the great step taken and the blowing-tube
first made use of for the production of a vesicle or paraison of glass?_

At the present day, in some of the villages around Hebron, glass is
still made by very primitive processes. Thence come the many-coloured
bangles of glass, dear to the Arab women of Palestine and Egypt; some
of these have found their way into collections of Egyptian antiquities,
so closely do they resemble the old wares. This glass is carried by
Arab and Jewish pedlars as far, it is said, as the Soudan. Here,
indeed, we have an industry that may well be regarded as a survival
from very early days.[21] On the other hand, some two thousand years
ago, as we learn from the evidence of the tombs, blown glass of an
advanced type, colourless and transparent, was a common article in
daily use, not only on the Syrian coast, but at Nazareth and other
Galilean towns (see below, Chap. IV.); and yet, as far as I know, there
is not a single allusion to glass or glass-making in any of our four

                              CHAPTER III


So far, all the glass with which we have come in contact has belonged
without exception to one family; small objects, generally brightly
coloured—beads, ornaments of various kinds and shapes, and, above all,
little vases decorated with chevron bands; all these things belong
rather to what in a general way may be classed as jewellery, objects of
personal decoration. Of the one essential application of glass, as we
understand the term, we have not so far found a single undoubted
example—its application, I mean, to vessels intended to hold wine or
water. This was to come a little later, and to come with a rush, as it
were; for by the first century of our era, glass had already taken a
position at least as important as at any subsequent time in our history.

I am speaking of glass, of course, in the narrow sense of the word,
especially as a receptacle for liquids, for wine in the first place.
From this time onward this is the predominant service to which the
material has been put, and, indeed, at no time was its relation to
wine-drinking more intimate than among the Romans of the early empire.

It is certainly strange that in spite of our comparatively intimate
acquaintance with the ways of life of the Greeks during the time that
intervened between the conquests of Alexander and the period of their
absorption in the Roman Empire, we should be in possession of no
evidence, documentary or material, that would throw light on this, for
us, most important of all questions: Where was it, and at what time,
that the great discovery was made—the art of blowing glass? For it was
thanks to this discovery that the material came for the first time to
take an important place among the art products and even the industries
of the day. This is a point that cannot be too often or too strongly
impressed upon the reader.

The glass vessels of the ancients rarely bear any inscription, and
there is little, as a rule, in the decoration that can give occupation
to the antiquary. Classical glass has therefore been comparatively
neglected, except when of superlative merit; the record of its
_provenance_ has generally been lost: in continental museums it has
either found a back place on the shelves of the Greek and Roman
collections, or it has been handed over _en masse_ to other
departments. We thus find crowded together in the same case delicately
turned bowls from Greek tombs, cinerary urns from Gaul or Britain, and
examples of the rudely carved and engraved glass of the third and
fourth centuries.

Such little evidence as there is, especially a few passages in Roman
writers, would point to Alexandria, above all other towns, as the
principal home of the glass industry in the first centuries before our
era. We know, however, of no find of blown glass in Egypt, previous to
later Roman or Coptic times. The Ptolemaic glass found at Tanis and
elsewhere differs, as we have seen, little from the old type; and even
at what is probably a later period we have found the same old type of
glass in use at Denderah for inlaying (see above, p. 32). It was not
the Egyptians themselves that favoured the new process—by them the new
glass was doubtless rejected as something exotic and unholy. The
Greeks, on the other hand, seem never to have taken any interest in the
material—the ‘fused stone,’ as they called it, was at the best but a
poor substitute for the native minerals that it imitated.









Perhaps after all there is an element of truth in the prevalent Roman
tradition, and we should not be far wrong in giving the credit for the
introduction of the new system of manufacture to the glass-makers of
Sidon or of some other of the Phœnician coast towns.

I have already pointed out that the Greeks had at first no separate
word for glass. Herodotus speaks of ear-ornaments made of ‘melted
stone’ (λίθινα χυτά). Plato, in the _Timæus_, thinks it necessary
to explain that he uses the word ὕαλος in the same sense. In the
treasure-lists of temples, of the early part of the fourth century,
where the same word is used, the reference is apparently to vessels of
glass. We hear, too, of seals of glass (σφραγῖδες ὑάλιναι) in similar
inscriptions of the same date. The word ὕαλον ultimately became the
equivalent of the Latin _vitrum_.

In any case, it is from Greek tombs of the Hellenistic period that we
obtain our earliest specimens of glass, other than the small articles
of _verroterie_ that formed the exclusive subject-matter of the last
chapter. There have been preserved a few rare bowls of transparent
glass, sometimes quite colourless, or more often stained with blue or
with a honey-like tint resembling that of the hyacinth or the sard.
These bowls are distinguished by the purity of their outline; they have
apparently been finished on a lathe, but whether the glass was
originally simply cast, or, as is possible, _blown into_ a mould, it is
impossible to say. The only ornament consists in one or more incised
lines near the margin. A few of these bowls have been obtained in
Athens, others come from tombs in the south of Italy,—we have
unfortunately no means of fixing the date in either case. It is rather
from the refinement of their curves and the restraint in the decoration
that we are led to class them as pre-Roman.

But it is from the glass found in the tombs of Canosa that we can form
the best idea of what the Greeks of Ptolemaic times were capable in
this direction, and we are fortunate in having in London a remarkable
series of glass vessels from these tombs. Canusium was one of the few
cities of Apulia that preserved much of its Greek culture as well as
the partial use of the Greek language well into the time of the Roman
Empire. The beautiful specimens in the Glass-Room in the British
Museum, some of them so thoroughly Hellenic in character, are referred
to the first century of our era, but in general character and feeling,
as well as in their shapes, they reflect the art of an earlier period.
A bowl of pure white glass—the sharp outlines, especially of the solid
handles, show that it was finished by a cutting tool—is of a form (the
σκύφος of the Greeks) well known both in pottery and metal ware. The
two graceful bowls, decorated in gold with an exquisite design of
acanthus leaves, combined with a small plant with tendrils, both
radiating from a central flower, even in their present condition,
perhaps surpass in beauty any other known example of ancient glass.
From the technical side, the marvellous skill with which the two shells
of glass of which these bowls are built up, are fitted together, should
be carefully noted. It will be observed that the inner shell projects
considerably beyond the outer one, and that the latter at the line of
junction has been apparently levelled down by subsequent grinding. How
far the two layers have been soldered together by subsequent firing, it
would be difficult to say. Between the two shells, the gold leaf that
forms the base of the decoration has been applied. We are reminded (but
_longo intervallo_, not only artistically but technically also) both of
the so-called cemetery glass of later date, and of the ‘doubled
glasses’ made in the eighteenth century in Bohemia.

Scarcely less remarkable are the other examples of glass from Canosa
exhibited in the same case. Here may be seen two bowls built up with
coils of little rods, each rod containing an opaque white string in the
centre of a clear base; these, as I have mentioned, are identical with
the bowls, now in the Assyrian Department, brought back by Layard from
Nineveh. In addition to these varied types of glass there were found in
the same tombs some large dishes of _millefiori_ ware, and finally a
large flat bowl of white glass with a somewhat rude pattern cut with
the wheel, and with a row of spurs projecting from near the edge. This,
as will be seen further on, is a method of decoration more common at a
time of artistic decline, in the third and fourth centuries.

Quite Greek in character are the strange little unguent pots that come
from Cyprus. On the cup-like overlapping lid of one in the British
Museum may be seen outlined in black, apparently between two layers of
glass, a little cupid bearing a bunch of grapes. Although many of these
little pots have lately been found in Cyprus, it is only in a few cases
that the design on the lid, so truly Greek in style, has been preserved.

There is some reason to believe that when the use of the blowing-tube
was first introduced it was applied as a supplement to a moulding
process. The hollow vesicle of glass—the _paraison_, to use the old
French word—was blown into a more or less hemispherical mould, and the
irregularities of the resulting bowl were then removed by grinding on a
wheel. At any rate, during what we may call the Alexandrian period, a
bowl of simple outline, whether shallow or deep, is the characteristic
form. In the case of certain dishes in the shape of a boat, the wheel
has played a still more important part.

For the personal adornment of their women the Greeks continued to make
a variety of small objects of glass, more or less on the old lines. We
find, too, intaglios engraved on glass of various and often most
exquisite tints at least as early as the fourth century B.C. In the
preparation of these pastes the greatest attention was paid to the
exact imitation of precious stones. At a somewhat later date, in the
second century B.C., cameos in high relief cast in glass pastes of
various colours came into vogue. The ‘mother’ design was modelled in
clay, and upon this matrix the mould in which the glass was to be cast
was formed. These early glass cameos are compared by the late Dr.
Murray to the circular, moulded reliefs on the black pottery of this
period, and he points out that they apparently preceded the large
reliefs engraved on stones of the onyx family which were so much in
favour a little later (_Greek Archæology_, p. 160). It must be borne in
mind that neither in the case of cameo or intaglio could the paste copy
be made directly from the original stone. The paste gem, thus moulded,
was often carefully finished by hand.

                           EARLY ROMAN GLASS

In the absence of any continuous series of glass vessels that can be
classed as Greek, it would seem somewhat of a contradiction to say that
the artistic glass of the Romans was founded upon examples distinctly
Greek in outline and decoration. And yet there can be no doubt that in
the earlier period, at any rate, the source of inspiration of the Roman
glass-maker was the same as that of the contemporary potter or
bronze-worker. At the time when objects of glass were first brought to
Italy in the ships of the Greek traders, we may be certain that the
places where this glass was made—whether these be sought at Alexandria
or at one or more of the cities of the Phœnician coast—had been
completely Hellenised. Again, the new material found its way in through
towns which, if not Greek speaking, were thoroughly Greek in culture,
through Cumæ—in the neighbourhood of this city glass was probably
first made in Italy—and through the semi-Greek towns of Apulia. But in
one important respect this Greek glass differed from the contemporary
bronze and pottery. It was to the Greeks a new art with few old
traditions, and these not of Hellenic origin. In the first century
before Christ the industry was only beginning to be of any importance.
It thus came about that in a greater degree than perhaps any other
branch of ancient art, the manufacture of glass may be regarded as an
art essentially Roman. This fact may help to account for the extreme
poverty of the material for its history and methods of manufacture to
be found in Roman writers. There were in this case no Greek authorities
for these writers to fall back upon. Compare the meagre and confused
narrative of Pliny in the brief section that he devotes to glass with
his detailed, and in a measure scholarly, accounts in other departments
of the arts where he could borrow from earlier Greek technical

The glass that we know as Roman was made for a period of about four
hundred years. It was manufactured at one time or another in nearly
every country into which the Romans penetrated, from Syria and
Mesopotamia on the one hand, to Spain and Britain on the other. It has
even been found in the tombs of tribes that the Romans never subdued,
as in Denmark and Sweden. There is scarcely an application of glass
known in Europe in the eighteenth century that was not known also to
the Romans, and they were masters of the various processes by which
glass may be decorated.

                            MILLEFIORI GLASS

M. Froehner, in his introduction to the catalogue of the Charvet
collection, has divided Roman glass into as many as fifteen classes.
Some of these divisions are perhaps rather arbitrary, and very little
success has attended any attempt made by him or by other writers on the
subject to classify the vast material on a geographical basis, still
less to trace the history of its development.

There is, however, one division of classical glass—we can hardly call
it Roman, although most of the finer specimens may be traced back to
Rome or to the tombs of Central and Southern Italy—which forms in some
degree a transition from our primitive family to the true blown glass
of imperial times. This is the so-called Millefiori Glass. We have,
doubtless, in this a development of the ‘fused mosaics’ of the
Egyptians, worked out on a larger scale, and employed for other objects
than flat slabs and fragments for inlay.

In the millefiori bowls of Greco-Roman times we can distinguish two
predominant types: the madrepore design in the first place, which
closely imitates the pattern on a polished slab of coralline limestone,
with the addition that the ground is of a deep translucent green or of
a purple of subdued tone. In this class may be placed such exceptional
pieces as the bowl from Crete, in the British Museum; here we have
rosettes of yellow, green, and red upon an opaque ground of a rich
blue. The second type is equally characteristic, but more difficult to
describe. Short, loosely rolled scrolls of an opaque white float in a
more or less transparent base, interspersed with a few quadrangular
masses of gilt glass. It would be difficult to say what natural
substance is imitated in this case—perhaps some kind of fossiliferous
_lumachella_ marble, which may have been in vogue at one time at
Alexandria. We may be quite sure that the Roman glass-workers would not
have failed to imitate the famous Murrhine vases, which seem to have
been originally carved from a natural stone, and it is among the
millefiori glasses that such imitations may probably be looked for.

These millefiori bowls are evidently built up with more or less
spirally arranged fragments of glass mosaic,[23] the individual pieces
having been probably cut from a cane of glass, itself formed by a
combination of minute rods, as in the case of the Egyptian ‘fused
mosaics.’ These pieces were arranged in the mould in a coil, starting
from the centre, but how far, if at all, during the subsequent partial
fusion, they were subjected to any blowing operation, is a moot point.
In any case, the final effect is the result of an elaborate process of
cutting on the wheel and subsequent polishing.




In this millefiori glass the sections of the canes are arranged with a
studied irregularity (so as, in a measure, to mask the spiral
arrangement), and a further variety is given by setting up many of them
obliquely to the surface. On the other hand we can seldom, perhaps
never, find any trace of the distortion, which would inevitably be
caused by the subsequent use of the blowing-tube. In other cases, the
individual fragments may be built up of irregular longitudinal bands,
so as to give the general effect of an agate breccia, as in a fine bowl
at South Kensington. When the contorted bands are continuous we have
another important type, founded apparently upon the endless varieties
of banded agate and other native stones that have been formed by slow
deposition in the hollows of rocks. One variety imitates amethystine
quartz, but here, as elsewhere, rich combinations of colour, which can
have no prototype among natural stones, are often introduced. We have
an exceptionally beautiful example of this in certain cigar-shaped
alabastra, said to have come from Sidon. Meandering bands of emerald
green, powdered with gold, are divided by lines of white and deep blue.
Good examples of this ‘peacock’ decoration may be found in the British
Museum, at South Kensington, and in the Gréau collection.[24] Allied to
these, and still more rare, are the little globular bottles with bands
of green and gold, of which there are exquisite specimens in both our
great Museums.

In the Etruscan Museum of Gregory XVI. in the Vatican, the millefiori
glass is well represented by a series of bowls from Greek and Etruscan
tombs. There is a choice collection of fragments of millefiori and
banded glass in the British Museum,[25] and a still larger one in the
Industrial Museum at Vienna.

A broken fragment of glass will indeed often tell us more than a
complete vase. We can, for example, see from it whether the pattern
passes continuously through the whole thickness of the glass, or
whether it has been inlaid, or perhaps pressed into the surface when
hot. In one case we have a process that reminds us of mosaic work; in
the other there is some approach to a _champlevé_ enamel, only with a
base of glass instead of metal. In some rare examples we find the glass
inlay surrounded by a fine ribbon of gold, suggesting the _cloisonné_
enamels of the Byzantine jeweller. There is a minute example of this
delicate work in the Slade collection (_Catalogue_, Pl. III. No. 4).

                         COLOURS OF ROMAN GLASS

It is evident that the Romans had at their command a full gamut of
colours, both transparent and opaque, obtained from iron, copper,
manganese, and antimony—the same metals, in fact, as the Egyptians
made use of. But their deep transparent blue they probably obtained, in
most cases, from cobalt, a metal unknown to the latter people.[26]
There was one great deficiency, however, in their palette. They were
never able to obtain a transparent red. The ruby red derived from
copper or from gold was known to the early mediæval alchemists, but no
undoubted instance of the use of this valuable colour has been observed
in glass of the classical period.[27] The nearest approach to a
transparent red is to be found in the honey and brown-red tints
resembling the sard and the hyacinth; colours such as these are derived
chiefly from iron, and may pass, on the one hand, into a pale yellow,
and on the other into various shades of olive-green. The opaque red
glass containing a large percentage of the basic oxide of copper and
also some oxide of tin,[28] was much admired by the Romans; it was
probably the _vitrum hæmatinon_ of Pliny. In the Gréau collection is a
head of Neptune in this material, of considerable artistic merit; to
this head the oxidation of the surface has given the appearance of a
finely patinated bronze.

                        WALL DECORATION OF GLASS

Before going on to speak of the blown glass of the Romans, it will be
well to say something of another application of glass that found favour
among them at one time. This consisted in the decoration of the surface
of walls, and in a few rare cases of pavements, by slabs of glass of
various colours.[29] We may, perhaps, trace a double origin for this
use of the material. On the one hand, it but carried out more fully the
decoration of wall surfaces by rosettes and other patterns, both of
glass and of glazed pottery, a plan often adopted by the Egyptians.
This style was imitated with the little plaques of glass inlay, of
which so many fragments have been found among the vineyards in the
neighbourhood of Rome.[30] On the other hand, slabs of glass were used
to imitate the veneer of porphyry and other marbles, so much in use in
Rome in the first and second centuries. The two favourite stones, the
red Egyptian porphyry with white spots and the green _Serpentino_ from
the Taygetus range with large, whitish crystals of felspar, were
admirably imitated in slabs of glass often of large size; of these many
important specimens may be seen in the British Museum. This method of
decoration must have been introduced at Rome at a comparatively early
date, if we are to accept the usual interpretation of the passage where
Pliny describes the application of glass to the exterior of the theatre
built by Scaurus at the beginning of the first century before Christ.

The best known examples of this glass veneering come from the ruins of
a building some four miles to the north of Rome, generally known as the
Villa of Lucius Verus; there are many fine pieces from this source in
our museums. In private houses this veneering of glass was above all in
favour for the bath-chamber. ‘_Vitro absconditur camera_’ says Seneca,
instancing this practice as a sign of the advancing luxury of the age.

In the earlier methods each slab or tile is built up of pieces of glass
of geometrical outline; in rarer cases the adjacent pieces have been
fused together or again pressed into a base of glass by a plan similar
to that formerly used in Egypt. But when the individual pieces of glass
have been cut into shapes and then fitted together to form the design,
we have the _opus sectile_ of the Romans. We are here dealing with
something nearly approaching in character to a true mosaic, and
therefore outside the limits we have given ourselves. But it is
impossible to pass over without mention the marvellous examples of this
class of work which covered the walls of the basilica erected at Rome
by Junius Bassus, consul in the year 317. Although this building no
longer exists, important remains of the _opus sectile_ which once
covered its walls are preserved in a private palace at Rome, and some
smaller compartments may be seen in the Church of St. Antonio Abbate on
the Esquiline. These have been described in a paper read by the late
Mr. Nesbitt before the Society of Antiquaries (_Archæologia_, vol.
xlv.; see especially the coloured plate XVIII.). The main subjects,
indeed, and the ground are executed chiefly in coloured marbles, but
for us the most interesting part is the band representing embroidery
below the large picture of Hylas and the Nymphs. This frieze of small
figures is formed entirely of glass, and it will be noticed that in
this part both the subject and the treatment are Egyptian. We have here
the copy of a wall-hanging—probably of one of the heavy embroidered
_tapetia Alexandrina_. It must be borne in mind that although this work
was nearly contemporary with the Christian mosaics of the time of
Constantine, the designs must, in part at least, have been copied from
some earlier composition. The frieze of figures indeed takes us back to
the Egyptian renaissance of Hadrian’s time.

The glass of which the larger plaques of this Roman veneer were made
was probably poured out upon an even surface, rolled while hot, and at
times, but not always, subsequently polished. It may be regarded as a
primitive form of what the French call _verre coulé_, a term which
includes our modern plate-glass. The thick heavy glass that the Romans
used for their slit-like windows belongs to the same class; it is well
known that slabs of considerable size have been found in position at
Pompeii, but we are not concerned here with this purely practical
application of the material.[31]

The employment of glass for mirrors, although known to the ancients,
was, if we may judge from the few specimens that have survived, only
practised on a very small scale. Pliny says that the Sidonians had
applied glass to this purpose, but he speaks of it rather as a
curiosity than as a matter of practical importance. Some little
circular mirrors of convex glass, about an inch and a half in diameter,
have lately been found in Greek or Greco-Roman tombs at Arsinoe in
Egypt. There is one in the Musée Guimet at Paris, set in a silver frame
with a ring as if for suspension from a necklace. I do not know the
exact nature of the metallic backing (it is merely described as
_étamé_), but this is still quite brilliant. M. Garnier mentions two
mirrors mounted in wood from a tomb at Saqqarah; others of watch-glass
shape, set in frames of lead, have been found in Roman tombs at

                             MOULDED GLASS

Two quite distinct applications of glass fall under this head. When the
glass paste, in a fluid or semi-fluid condition, is pressed into a
mould, we have a simple process for making either imitations of cameos
and intaglios cut in precious stones, or again small articles of
_verroterie_ in no way differing from those produced by the peoples of
the Eastern Mediterranean from an early period. Most of the work
executed in this way in Roman times has little claim to artistic merit
or originality. Masks and busts thus prepared were afterwards applied
to the decoration of other objects—furniture, or even metal
ware[32]—or they were fused on to the sides of vessels of blown glass.

Much attention was given to the imitation of precious stones. In the
British Museum is a remarkable series of medallions and plaques in a
paste made in imitation of _lapis lazuli_, the _sapphirus_ of the
ancients. The colouring matter in this case would appear to be the
famous Egyptian blue, which was certainly known to the Romans (see p.
27). In one example at least we can see that the coloured paste only
formed a coating upon a base of ordinary glass, and this would point to
the former being a material of some value. The large plaque of this
blue paste, inscribed BONO EVENTUI, seems to have been finished with
the tool, but we cannot look upon it as throughout a work of the
sculptor. Heads of the Medusa or of Jupiter, viewed in full front so as
to fill the roundel, are the commonest type. The dark paste in which
some small portrait heads in the British Museum are cast is probably an
imitation of the rare black sard.









I have now to speak of another class of moulded glass, of what is, in
fact, a true ‘hollow ware,’ made by blowing a vesicle of glass into a
mould. This is the first time that we unmistakably come across the use
of the blowing-tube. In the case of glass it is practically impossible
to use a mould in the shaping of a hollow vessel without some such
method of forcing the viscid material into its place by pressure from
the inside. I think, therefore, that it is not unlikely that it was in
connection with some system of moulding that the blowing-tube was first
introduced. Thus combined, the process calls for less manipulative
skill than is required in the shaping of the free _paraison_ by the

Moulded ‘hollow ware’ was produced at a comparatively early date in the
East. Unfortunately we have no means of determining whether the
glass-blowers of Sidon were acquainted with the process before the
first century B.C. By that date, at least, the little flasks,
_unguentaria_ or what not, blown into moulds, had completely displaced
the primitive chevron bottles that had so long been in favour. These
moulded flasks are shaped in imitation of various fruits—dates,
bunches of grapes, pomegranates—again the double scallop shell was a
favourite pattern; more rarely we find the head of a man or a woman,
especially of a negro. The glass is of various colours, but a rich
honey tint is the commonest.

Another frequent type, especially to be connected with the towns of the
Phœnician coast, is to be found in the little bottles, generally with
eight panels round the body, on which are impressed various implements
connected with the sacrifice, or at other times Bacchic emblems or
musical instruments. In one or two cases the reliefs on these flasks
have been thought to have reference to the Jewish worship. These little
octagonal bottles have been found in various parts of the eastern basin
of the Mediterranean, as well as on the north shores of the Black Sea.
The glass of which they are made tends to decompose to a white
porcelain-like mass, without further injury to the surface, a fact
which would point to its containing a certain amount of lead and
perhaps of tin. Here, for the first time in the history of glass, we
come across the name of the manufacturer—we can hardly say the artist.
It is, indeed, as might be expected, to the moulded ware that we are
indebted for the most important of the scanty inscriptions that have
been found on Roman glass; of these I shall have something to say on a
future page. Such inscriptions in relief are above all prominent on the
only other type of moulded glass which I can find space to mention. I
refer to the cylindrical cups of thin greenish glass, which were
apparently given as prizes for victory in various contests, or which
perhaps merely served as mementoes of the occasion. Among the most
interesting of this class is a series of glasses of which the best
examples have been found in England; these are surrounded by double or
triple zones, showing in relief chariot-races or combats of gladiators.
All are of late date, and are of no merit as works of art. On one,
exceptionally perfect, found near Colchester, and now in the British
Museum, above the two bands of reliefs showing the rival chariots
rounding the critical point at the extremity of the _spina_, the
inscription CRESCENS AVE—HIERAX VALE would seem to celebrate the
victory of the first-named charioteer, but it may perhaps only express
the hopes of Crescens’ backer.

The moulded hollow glass of the Romans often calls to mind the red
Samian pottery decorated with reliefs, to which it is, however, as a
whole inferior in artistic merit. The material does not lend itself
well to elaborate designs, and one misses the crisp outlines given to
glass by the cutting-tool. There is generally an air as of a cheap and
second-hand copy, which gives a very modern aspect to many of these
moulded pieces, and this is above all the case when the glass is

                               CHAPTER IV


It is after all in the development of the art of blowing glass that the
principal merit of the glass-workers, in the age immediately preceding
our era, is to be found. By this method the real capabilities of the
material, both practical and artistic, were first disclosed. The art
was probably first practised on the Phœnician coast, perhaps at Sidon,
not long after the time of Alexander. Beside the moulded flasks of
which I have spoken above, there are others of plain globular form,
with simple short necks, which we may perhaps look upon as among the
earliest work of the Phœnician glass-blowers. Some of these are little
more than spherical vesicles of the glass as it came from the
blowing-tube. With these are associated certain plain spheres of thin
glass of various colours, which may have been used as balls by
jugglers, as mentioned in a passage in one of Seneca’s letters. But the
balls of cool glass, mentioned by other writers, held in their hands by
ladies in summer, must surely have been solid, like the spheres of rock
crystal put to a similar use by the Japanese. The next step was to give
the bulb of glass a ‘kick’ at the base, and to prolong the neck; we
have then the type of the so-called lachrymatories, perhaps the
commonest and best known form of classical glass.

There is in the British Museum an important collection of blown glass
vessels which have been found in Syrian tombs. The actual _provenance_
is here, as indeed in the case of so many other finds of glass, very
difficult to ascertain. Some of the pieces are said to come from the
neighbourhood of Nazareth, but the majority were probably found nearer
to the coast, not far from Sidon and Tyre. The forms are on the whole
classical, but Oriental influences may be seen in some cases, as in the
double _unguentaria_ which resemble certain Egyptian kohl-pots (Plate
VII.). The apparent abundance of this Syrian glass, and the clear,
nearly colourless material, point to a time rather after than before
our era.

We know that soon after the middle of the first century, all the
various forms and applications that we associate with the blown glass
of the Romans were in general use in Italy. The proof of this lies in
the vast collection of ancient glass in the museum at Naples. There
were some years ago in this collection more than eight thousand pieces
of glass, and it is constantly being added to. By far the greater part
of this glass comes from Pompeii. Now that town was destroyed in the
year 79 A.D., and it had sixteen years previously suffered so seriously
from an earthquake that little glass can have survived; we are thus
able to fix within exceptionally narrow limits the date of most of the
glass discovered in the ruins. Apart from a few elaborate examples
extracted from the tombs—some of these may well be of an earlier
date—we find a vast series of vessels adapted to various domestic
purposes, but more especially to uses connected with the storing and
drinking of wine. These are for the most part made of a transparent and
often colourless blown glass. By this time, then, the art of the
glass-blower must have been fully developed in Southern Italy. The
Pompeian glass has been well preserved by the thick bed of dry ashes,
and has suffered little from surface decomposition.





From a few scattered references in Roman writers we can in a measure
trace the rapid change in the position of glass at Rome, say between
the latter days of the Republic and the end of the reign of Augustus.
Cicero mentions glass as an article of merchandise brought from Egypt,
together with paper and linen. Strabo, writing under the rule of
Augustus, says that at Rome every day new processes were invented for
colouring glass and for simplifying its manufacture, so that ‘a
successful imitation of crystal may now be made so cheaply that a
drinking-glass with its stand can be sold for a copper coin’ (xvi. 25).

It is not, however, from Italy, or even from Mediterranean lands, that
the greater part of the Roman glass in our collections comes, and this
is especially the case if we confine ourselves to the ‘hollow
ware’—the true blown glass with which we are at present concerned.
Already in Pliny’s time the new industry had spread to Spain and Gaul,
where, before long, favoured no doubt by the cheapness of the fuel and
of the raw materials, important centres of manufacture must have sprung
up. We learn from Strabo that not long before his time the Britons
obtained what little glass they used—this was confined, indeed, to
articles of _verroterie_—from the Continent. But though we have no
direct evidence on this point, there can be little doubt but that
glass-works were established at least by the second century in the
southern parts of England, and that, to give one example, the large
globular and quadrangular urns of greenish glass were made at
glass-works not far from the tombs in which they are found.

Indeed, the bulk of this northern glass is of a sepulchral character.
The large size and the graceful shapes of the well-known cinerary urns
argue a complete mastery of the technical processes, and point to works
on an extensive scale where large glass pots must have been in use.
These spherical urns owe their preservation for the most part to the
fact that they were enclosed in ‘coffins’ of lead or stone. The
somewhat prosaic and ungainly square bottles that often replace them
must have been blown into a mould of some kind.

Little or no trace of local influence can be found in the shapes or the
material of the glass made in the second, third, and fourth centuries
in Gaul, in Britain, or on the Rhine. In the Glass-Room in the British
Museum, the large vessels of blown glass are chiefly of Gallic origin;
the most important come from a collection made many years ago in the
south-east of France. They may be compared with the Roman glass found
in Britain exhibited in the Central Saloon. On the whole, these large
glass urns are characteristic of the northern and western provinces.
While they appear to be unknown in Greece and in the East, in the Roman
columbaria they form a very small proportion of the urns ranged in the
niches and along the shelves.

The gigantic cinerary urns from Kentish cemeteries are only rivalled in
size by some of the Pompeian glass at Naples. Among the glass from
cemeteries in Southern Britain in the British Museum are many jugs and
bottles of quaint and original form, and others which for grace and
purity of outline it would be difficult to rival elsewhere (Plate IX.).
Notice especially the handles, and above all the insertion of the lower
end of these handles into the side of the vessel. It is the neglect of
attention to this point that so often gives an impression of weakness
to the handles of modern ware, whether of pottery or of glass. But here
the ribbed handle terminates in spreading lines that clasp the flank of
the jug like the claws of a bird of prey; I do not know of any happier
or simpler application of the viscous material. At times the central
rib of the handle is prolonged into a wing-like flange descending
nearly to the base of the vase, or may be ending in a long trail of
glass worked by the _pucella_ into quills or teeth.

A greater variety of forms is naturally found in glass made for
domestic use than in specimens destined for the tomb. It is this
variety that gives a special interest to the collection at Naples. M.
Froehner has described nearly thirty different forms of glass vessels
(_Collection Charvet_, pp. 76-80), and has attempted to apply to each
of them the distinctive classical name, both Greek and Latin. But many
of these terms are rather names of Greek fictile ware than of Roman
glass, and as to the remainder, it is rather to the Byzantine
scholiasts of later times than to writers of a good period, where
allusions to glass are rare and vague, that resource has been had. The
richest mines for information of this kind are the works of Petronius
and Athenæus—this last author gives a list of a hundred varieties of
drinking-vessels. But in both cases it is of vessels of silver or of
pottery rather than of glass that the writer is generally thinking.

As a rule, the shapes and methods of decoration of Roman glass follow a
line of their own, dependent on the ‘habits’ of the material. It is,
however, easy to recognise forms derived from pottery, and even from
bronze, in any large collection of Roman glass. Just as the so-called
Samian ware is imitated in the moulded glass bowls, so we find that a
class of pottery, common in England, in which the soft clay has been
pressed in, perhaps with the fingers, to form on the sides vertical
trough-like depressions, has been closely imitated in blown glass—such
rounded depressions are easily given to the _paraison_ by means of a
blunt piece of wood. Again, the decoration of white slip, equally
common on Romano-British fictile ware, is imitated by means of ‘trailed
stringings’ on glass, if indeed in this case the imitation is not in
some measure the other way—from glass to pottery.

Perhaps the most characteristic decoration of the earlier transparent
glass is given by a series of parallel ribs. This ‘pillar moulding’ may
be formed on the surface in various ways—by stringings partly melted
on to the surface, or by the use of a mould at one period in the
development of the _paraison_. A graceful type of these little ribbed
or gadrooned bowls—amber coloured, or again white with blue ribs—has
been found over and over again in pre-Roman tombs on both sides of the
Alps; these bowls are often seen in the museums of Switzerland and
North Italy. Apart from beads and small objects of _verroterie_, they
appear to be the earliest articles of glass exported to the Celtic
tribes of these districts, but nothing is known as to their place of
origin. In other cases such ribs or stringings, bending round the body
in a more or less gentle spiral, form a very happy scheme of ornament.

The decoration by trailed stringings—necessarily a rapid process, by
which happy effects are sometimes attained almost by accident—may be
regarded as a genuinely vitreous process. It is often combined with
fringes and toothings impressed—on the margin of the handles above
all—by the rapid and skilful use of the pincers. The commonest, and
probably the oldest, application is as a more or less closely coiled
stringing round the neck of the bottle or jug; this is convenient for
handling, and gives the appearance at least of additional strength. The
stringings on the later forms tend to hang loose upon the surface,
sometimes taking the form of hastily written characters.[34]

The cords and threadings may often be of a different colour from the
vessel upon which they are applied—they may be reduced to knots or
mere drops applied here and there. In such cases we have an apparent
approach to decoration by enamel. But the form of ornament that we are
now dealing with is applied directly to the soft _paraison_ or to the
still unfinished vessel, and the glass of which the stringings are
formed is probably of the same composition as that on which it is

So of the splashed or mottled ware. We have here real splashes of a
liquid material applied to the _paraison_ while still on the
blowing-tube. When the neck was subsequently shaped, these circular
markings were drawn out into ellipsoid forms, showing that this part of
the vessel was made at a later period. It is instructive to compare
this result of the work of the blowing-tube with the patterns on the
millefiori bowls. In these latter patterns we find no trace of
subsequent distortion—a proof that the glass of which they form part
has never passed through the stage of a _paraison_ or vesicle.[35]

                          ENAMELLING ON GLASS

I now for the first time have to treat of the decoration of glass by
enamel painting. It may be as well here to explain that in a true
enamel, as the term is used in ceramic and vitreous art, the coloured
decoration is applied to the glassy surface (either glaze or glass
body) in the form of a pigment worked up with water or other liquid.
Such enamel paints are composed, in later times at least, of a base of
silicate of lead (the flux), coloured by various metallic oxides. It is
essential that these enamels should be more fusible than the body on
which they are painted, so that when subjected to the heat of the
muffle-fire they may be completely fused, while the glass or glaze on
which they rest is not more than superficially softened. Such enamel
decoration, whether on porcelain or on glass, may vary from a mere wash
of colour on the one hand, of which it is sometimes difficult to say
whether it has ever been subjected to the heat of the muffle-fire, to a
true vitreous covering on the other, where the various colours stand
out in relief like so many jewels.

I may say at once that the Romans, as far as we know, never attained to
any great success in this method of decoration. Its full development
was reserved for the Saracens of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries. This is indeed the one important advance made in the
artistic manipulation of glass since ‘the palmy days of Rome.’

Not but that the Romans, and probably to some extent the Phœnicians and
the Alexandrian Greeks before them, did not draw and paint upon their
glass; but if we may judge from the rare and fragmentary examples that
have survived, they were unable to obtain much decorative effect by
this means; again, the very poverty and the paint-like quality of such
enamels as they used, have doubtless in many cases led to their total
disappearance from the surface of the glass.[36] The painting on the
cup-like lids of the little bowls from Cyprus I have already mentioned.
On a few fragments of thin glass from Egypt, draped figures have been
painted in opaque colours. Perhaps the nearest approach to an effective
use of enamel colours may be seen on two little cups found in graves of
the fourth century at Varpelev, in Denmark. These Scandinavian tombs
have yielded many interesting pieces of glass, as well as some bronze
vessels—possibly booty brought home from marauding expeditions. The
designs on these cups (they are illustrated in the _Proceedings of the
Copenhagen Antiquarian Society_, 1861) are thus described by Mr.
Nesbitt: ‘On the larger one are a lion and a bull, on the lesser two
birds with grapes.... The colours are vitrified and slightly in
relief—green, blue, and brown may be distinguished.’ (_Slade
Catalogue_, p. xvi. See also some account of glass from these and other
Scandinavian tombs in Montelius and Reinach, _Les temps préhistoriques
en Suède_.)

But the most important and the best preserved example of enamelling on
glass is to be found in a small bowl, probably of the third or fourth
century, preserved in the treasury of St. Mark at Venice. To this
important collection I shall have more than once to return.[37] The
little bowl in question—something over three inches in height—is of a
translucent glass of a winy or purplish colour. The seven larger
medallions that surround the body are filled with mythological subjects
in a fairly good classical style; the pale buff-coloured figures on a
black ground imitate an onyx cameo. Each medallion is surrounded by a
circle of rosettes of brilliant colours—blue, red, purple, and white.
The angular spaces are filled by smaller medallions, each containing a
head, and the remaining ground is occupied by a tracery of gold.
According to the Canonico Passini, this decoration is in very slight
relief, and is executed in what can scarcely be regarded as a true
vitrified enamel. The bowl has been mounted at a later time in a light
setting of silver gilt with elegant winged handles. But what is more
curious, at some time previous to the addition of the mounting, a band
of white ornament, resembling cufic letters, but apparently illegible,
has been painted round the inside just below the rim, and again outside
the base. Much of this later ornament has been abraded, although the
original decoration is well preserved, and I think that this fact is an
argument in favour of the earlier work being after all of the nature of
a true enamel fixed by fire. I describe this bowl here as I cannot see
any trace of Byzantine influence in the purely classical medallions.[38]

Finally, on a few of the gilt catacomb glasses, of which I shall speak
shortly, a little coloured enamel is sparingly applied here and there,
especially in the draperies.


There remains one large division of Roman glass which I have purposely
left to the last. In this are comprised the engraved and sculptured
pieces, the bulk of which belong to a late time; indeed we may pass
from work of this kind to glass that is purely Byzantine in character
without any violent transition. But to return for a moment to examples
taken from quite the other end of the series, we have seen that the
glass bowls that are associated with Alexandrian-Greek and early Roman
times are mostly finished by a cutting-tool on some kind of lathe. In
the case of the bowl of white glass from Canosa in the British Museum,
closely imitating in form the well-known _scyphos_ of the Greek potter,
the handles are apparently carved out of a solid mass (cf. p. 46); a
very similar bowl in the Charvet collection, said to have come from
Cumæ, is illustrated by Froehner. Still more interesting is the large
shallow bowl or dish of white glass in our national collection; this is
again from a tomb at Canosa. A ring of some twenty spurs, each about
half an inch in height, arises from the outer margin; these spurs are
carved apparently out of the solid glass. A large rosette cut in low
relief, representing a full-blown lotus flower, covers nearly the whole
of the surface. With this work we may compare the rosettes, much more
rudely carved, it is true, on the base of some very similar bowls of
late date from the Rhine country.

Of quite a different character is the carving on those earlier vessels
of which we may take the well-known Portland vase as a type. Here the
delicate sculpture in low relief takes us back to the cameos of the
Hellenistic Greeks, which, as we have seen, were often executed in a
glass paste. But few specimens of work of this kind have come down to
us—some half-dozen in all—and of these only two are perfect. The body
of these vases is formed by two or more superimposed layers of glass,
of which the outer one, generally of an opaque white, is ground away by
the wheel of the engraver, leaving a design in low relief upon a basis
of blue or other colour.

The most famous example of this class is, without doubt, the Barberini
or Portland vase, a two-handled urn found towards the end of the
sixteenth century in a marble sarcophagus at the Monte del Grano, a
lofty tumulus some three miles to the south-east of Rome. Whether the
tomb from which the urn was extracted was that of the Emperor Alexander
Severus, who was killed in the year 225, is not of much consequence,
for the vase itself is certainly of an earlier date. The figures in
this case stand out upon a dark blue ground—we need not dwell upon the
interpretation of the subject. As Wedgwood long ago pointed out, a rich
and almost pictorial effect is given by cutting down the white layer in
places nearly, but not quite, to the blue base which then shows through
a film of the slightly translucent white paste—an effect, by the way,
that is almost lost in the imitations of this vase made in the opaque
Wedgwood ware. A curious point about this vase is the fact that the
decoration is continued over the circular base on which it stands. This
medallion-like space is filled by the bust of a youth with a Phrygian
cap wrapped in voluminous drapery. There is some doubt, however,
whether this medallion is of so early a date as the rest of the

Almost identical with the Portland vase in technique and material is
the amphora of onyx glass, carved as a cameo in low relief, which was
found in 1837 in a tomb on the Strada dei Sepolcri at Pompeii. In this
case we have a limit—a _terminus ad quem_—for the date, the middle,
that is to say, of the first century of our era. But the work may well
be of a somewhat earlier time than this. The decoration is distinctly
Alexandrian in character. Notice especially the band at the lower part
with the sheep feeding under trees—in this we are at once carried back
to the pastoral poetry of Sicily. It will be observed that the vintage
scenes with the little naked ‘putti’ are placed under the handles,
while the place of honour is reserved for the beautiful design of
vine-branches, masks, and birds. The highly developed technical skill
required, especially in the preliminary blowing and ‘casing’ of the
glass, is, however, an argument against throwing back too far the date
of vases of this class.

Some fragments of another vase of a similar character were found at
Pompeii at a later date; the pieces after passing through various hands
are now in the British Museum, where they have been united to form
(with extensive gaps) an _œnochoë_ or jug, known as the Auldjo vase,
from the former owner of most of the fragments; in this case the
decoration of the parts preserved consists chiefly of vine and ivy
leaves. There are at Naples many fragments of onyx glass equal in
beauty and skill of execution to these well-known vases. Among these,
the half of a patera decorated, on a dark blue ground, with a mask
surrounded by the leaves of the Oriental plane, is of exceptional
merit. In other cases the parts in relief seem to have been cast
separately and fixed on to the surface, a technical process of quite
another nature.

In all these examples the work of the artist follows closely on the
lines of the carver of cameos—especially of those cameos where
advantage is taken of the parallel layers of the natural stone, as in
the case of the sardonyx and of the niccolo; it is for this reason that
I have described the material of our Barberini and similar vases as
onyx glass. But there was another and purer variety of quartz that was
coming more and more into favour during the third and fourth centuries.
From this time onward all through the early Middle Ages, if we are to
judge from the treasures preserved in Christian churches, to nothing
was more value attached than to vases and cups of rock crystal, often
of imposing dimensions, carved in shallow or deep relief. When once the
process of making a clear colourless glass was mastered, this natural
crystal could be very closely imitated in a material which was more
easily worked. The carvings on the great majority of the examples of
rock crystal that have come down to us—for example, the vases in the
Louvre from the Abbey of St. Denis, and those still preserved in the
treasury of St. Mark’s—are of a distinctly Byzantine, if not rather of
a Sassanian or even Saracenic character, and this style is reflected
upon much of the ‘crystal’ glass which is so often confused with the
harder stone.[40]

The Romans of the fourth century were great masters of the art of
cutting hard stones. Along with a general decline in taste and artistic
invention, there was some advance in the direction of what we should
now call applied science, and this is exemplified in the nature of the
‘metal’ and in the method of carving of the later Roman glass.

In the case of this later engraved glass, the lapidary’s wheel was
applied at times to produce a rough design by a series of burr-like
marks, or again the pattern was built up of a number of shallow, mostly
oval depressions; in other examples the glass was deeply undercut, so
that the designs appear to float round the vessel, to which indeed they
are only attached by small rods not easily visible. Of the last kind is
the work that may conveniently be called _diatretum_, although it is by
no means certain that the _diatretarii_, mentioned by Ulpian and
others, were necessarily workers in glass, seeing that carvings of this
description, whether in metal, in hard stones, or in our material, were
equally in favour at this time.

We have, unfortunately, no complete example of this undercut work
easily accessible in our public collections. A fragment, however, in
the British Museum throws much light upon the process of manufacture.
On this piece there remains a portion of the outer frame in the form of
a few letters that have formed part of an inscription; most of these
letters, however, have been broken away, and we are thus enabled to see
the base of the rods that supported them. The sharp angles of these
little rods, and the marks on the surface of the glass, point
unmistakably to the use of a cutting-tool, nor is there, I think, any
trace of soldering at the base of the rods. We must turn again to the
marvellous collection of late classical and mediæval objects that has
been so long preserved in the treasury of St. Mark’s at Venice for the
most complete specimen of this undercut glass. Here will be found a
_situla_, or bucket-shaped vessel, of slightly greenish glass, about
eleven inches in height (Plate XIV.). On the upper zone is a hunting
scene with two horsemen, treated with a certain energy that calls to
mind some of the Byzantine and even Sassanian work of the fourth and
fifth centuries. Below we have a raised network, or rather grating—for
the motive seems to be taken from a grille of iron or bronze—formed of
four rows, each built up of fifteen tangential circles bound together
at the points of contact. About half of these circles are more or less
broken, and neither on the ground nor on the supporting rods thus
disclosed was I able on close examination to discover any of those
marks of a cutting-tool so prominent on the British Museum fragment.
Indeed it is very possible that this late example may be built up of
separately cast pieces soldered on to the base.

The famous cup of _diatretum_ glass found near Strassburg was destroyed
during the bombardment of that city in 1870; it bore an imperfect
inscription in raised letters, which has been interpreted as referring
to the Emperor Maximianus Herculius, the partner of Constantine in the
empire, who put an end to his life in 310. In this case a network of
red glass and an inscription of green glass were superimposed upon a
nearly colourless ground. So in another cup preserved in the Palazzo
Trivulzio at Milan, the inscription BIBE VIVAS MULTOS ANNOS is again in
green glass, but the network is here blue. Where the detached
decoration is of a different colour from the base, the original vase
must have been of an onyx glass formed by a ‘casing’ process and of
considerable thickness, unless, indeed, we are to regard the lettering
and the network in such cases as formed separately and attached to the
base by the little rods. Perhaps the finest example of a _vas
diatretum_ is the bowl found in a stone sarcophagus at Worms, of which
the fragments are now divided between the museums of Bonn and Mainz. In
the former museum may also be seen a tall amphora-shaped vase (some
twenty inches in height), with Bacchic scenes carved in low relief,
which was found in the same coffin.





The oviform bowl belonging to Lord Rothschild is carved in an
olive-green glass, which appears of a deep red by transmitted light. It
is surrounded by five figures in what is practically complete relief;
the subject represented appears to be the ‘Madness of Lycurgus.’ The
arms and the draperies of these figures are connected to the base by
little rods as in the previous examples, but to judge from certain
cavities in the interior corresponding to the principal external
_bossages_, the glass was originally cast in a mould.[41]

The often-quoted expression of Martial, ‘_Surrentinæ leve toreumata
rotæ_,’ written before the end of the first century, can hardly refer
to this undercut work, which seems to be all of a much later date, nor
is it even certain that the words refer to objects carved in glass
rather than in rock crystal and agate. The word _toreumata_ is used in
connection with silver and even of earthenware. So the _calices_ and
_toreumata Nili_ of the same writer (xi. 12) seem from the context to
be rather carved in some precious stone. The following lines, however,
are headed ‘Calices Vitrei’:

             ‘Adspicis ingenium Nili, quibus addere plura
               Dum cupit, ah quoties perdidit auctor opus!’

                                                      MARTIAL, xiv. 113.

In some other references to glass in Martial’s _Epigrams_ it is
mentioned as a cheap material, and contrasted with gold or rock crystal.

As a rule, however, this late Roman glass was cut in very low relief.
The design was often given by the juxtaposition of a number of ovoid
depressions and furrows scooped in a perfunctory fashion by means of a
lapidary’s wheel of some size.[42] At times this wheel was applied so
as to make a rough burr on the surface; on the other hand but little
use was made of the simple engraved line that we find on the German
glass of the seventeenth century.

The designs on this later engraved glass are almost without exception
of the most wretched description; any interest they may have is
archæological, and dependent upon the subject treated. Many pieces,
especially in the form of shallow bowls, have been found in tombs of
the third and fourth centuries in the Rhine district, especially around
Cologne. Some of these bear inscriptions in often very faulty Greek,
but I do not think that this is a reason for inferring that they are
not of local manufacture.[43] On one cup from Cologne the creation of
man by Prometheus is represented, but the majority of the subjects are
of a more or less Bacchanalian or even of an erotic character. It has
been attempted to connect these with the _tabernæ_, the roadside
inns—places of no good repute in those days—and even to find
representations of these hostelries in certain tall and evidently
secular buildings engraved on them.

Still more curious are the spherical ampullæ on which a panoramic
landscape is roughly scratched; in every case the scene represented is
the coast-line from the bay of Baiæ to Pozzuoli, the names of the
various temples and palaces being indicated by inscriptions. (See
Froehner, p. 96.)

Most of this engraved glass dates from a time when Christianity was
widely diffused, but we rarely find on it subjects connected with the
new religion. It would seem that the associations connected with the
glass thus decorated were not such as would recommend it for Christian
use. The early fathers protested against all such elaborate and vain
arts. ‘The pretentious and useless vainglory of the engravers on
vessels of glass may well cause those who use them to tremble, and such
work should be exterminated by our good institutions,’—so wrote
Clement of Alexandria early in the third century (quoted by M.
Gerspach, p. 49). There is little to say from the artistic side for the
few specimens of engraved Christian glass that have come down to us;
their aim is purely didactic and for edification.

The wheel was sometimes employed by the Romans to form a simple pattern
by means of a series of polished ovoid depressions; when these are
placed close together, the effect somewhat resembles that of our modern
facetted glass. The resemblance is still more close when the surface is
cut with a series of intersecting diagonal furrows, as on the spherical
bottle at South Kensington, illustrated by Mr. Nesbitt in his catalogue.

I have now run through the principal varieties of Roman glass, and the
order in which I have arranged the different classes—the inlaid and
millefiori first, then the moulded, the blown, and finally, the cut and
engraved glass—is in a measure a chronological one, following roughly
the order in which these various methods of working and styles of
decoration succeeded one another, or rather were dominant, in
successive ages. I will end this chapter with a few notes concerning
the methods of preparation and the geographical distribution of Roman

As far as contemporary evidence goes, all our information on the first
head is derived from the brief and very unsatisfactory statements of
Pliny. There is, however, every reason to believe that there were few
important changes in the construction of the furnaces, or in the
preparation of the materials, during the time that intervened between,
say, the fourth century of our era and the period in the Middle Ages
with regard to which we have further sources of information. That is to
say, we may regard the comparatively adequate account of the
manufacture of glass given by the monk Theophilus, and by the
pseudo-Heraclius,[44] as on the whole applicable to Roman times. Even
at the present day at Murano, and doubtless at other glass-works little
affected by modern industrial processes, much of the old method of
working and many of the old terms remain almost unchanged. To give but
one example:—when the workman is preparing the half-liquid gathering
or ball of glass at the end of his blowing-tube, previous to inflating
it with his breath to form the _paraison_ or vesicle, he trundles the
viscous mass upon a slab of iron which rests on the ground beside his
furnace. This iron slab is known as the ‘marver’—there are similar
names for it in other European languages—and it is always understood
that the plate in question was formerly made of marble. So, no doubt,
it may have been at some remote period, but we find that the
pseudo-Heraclius, describing in the twelfth century or thereabouts the
manufacture of glass, speaks of this same plate as ‘_tabula ferri quæ
marmor vocatur_.’ Perhaps we should have to go back to the stone slab
on which the Egyptian glass was rolled to find the origin of this

We must now see what can be made out of the somewhat rambling account
of the origin and manufacture of glass given by Pliny at the end of his
thirty-sixth book (cap. 44-47). Pliny regarded glass as a Syrian
invention. For many centuries, he tells us, the sole source of the
principal constituent was a small tract of sand thrown up by the sea at
a spot on the Phœnician coast near the town of Ptolemais, where the
river Belus[46] flows into the Mediterranean. With this sand the
natives mixed the _nitrum_, imported oversea in cakes,[47] and thereby
for the first time formed glass. According to Pliny, these Phœnicians
were astute and ingenious craftsmen, and they, in time, took to adding
to their glass-pots the ‘_magnes lapis_, which, it is asserted, draws
to it the melted glass like iron.’ This is a statement most
characteristic of Pliny. The _magnes lapis_—magnetic iron-ore or
loadstone—is the last substance in the world any one would think of
adding to glass. But we know that the ancients knew of two kinds of
black stone, for one of which they used the masculine form
_magnes_—this was the loadstone—for the other the female form
_magnesia_;[48] and this _magnesia_, at any rate at a somewhat later
period, can be undoubtedly identified with the black oxide of manganese
(_MnO_{2}_), a substance known of old as the ‘soap of glass,’ from its
power of removing the green colour derived from iron. Now we have seen
that pure white glass, ‘cleansed’ probably by this method, had only
comparatively lately been introduced into Italy, and some confused
account of the new discovery had probably reached Pliny’s ears. ‘In the
same way,’ he continues, ‘they took to adding to the fused mass shining
pebbles, then shells and sandy concretions (_fossiles arenæ_).’ In
these ‘fossils’ we may, perhaps, recognise the source from which was
obtained the lime, an essential constituent of glass. Passing over some
obscure references to the nitre of Ophir and the copper of Cyprus,
Pliny goes on to say that the whole is melted ‘like bronze,’ in closely
grouped furnaces, and that a blackish mass of fatty aspect is obtained.
This we must regard as a preliminary frit, for we are told that the
mass is melted again in the glass-house, where the requisite colouring
matter is added to it. ‘So the work was carried on of old in the famous
glass-works of Sidon.... At times the glass was shaped by blowing, or
again it was abraded by the wheel, or carved in the manner of
silver.... Such was the ancient way of making glass. At the present day
in Italy also, by the mouth of the river Vulturnus, for a space of six
miles between Cumæ and Liternum, a white and most soft sand is
collected, which is pounded both in mortar and mill; it is then mixed
with three parts of nitrum,[49] by weight or by measure, and after
melting is transferred to other furnaces. In these the substance, now
known as _ammonitrum_, is melted and then cast into cakes. These cakes
are again fused to obtain pure glass and cakes of white glass.’

Pliny, in this confused account, where we have apparently materials
from different sources imperfectly welded together, appears to contrast
an older method of manufacture, practised formerly at Sidon, whose
glass-works he seems to refer to as things of the past, with the newer
processes now in use in Italy. It will be noted that in both cases a
preliminary frit was prepared, although the term _ammonitrum_, a word
of Greek origin, is applied to this frit in the latter case only.

‘Already,’ says Pliny, ‘the new art of melting sand with soda
(literally “of tempering sand”) has spread through Gaul and Spain.’ He
then goes on to tell, but with an expression of incredulity quite
unusual with him, the story of the discovery of a malleable glass.
According to this tale (in its earliest form), Tiberius ordered the
workshop of the man who so tempered glass that it became flexible, to
be pulled down, lest the value of bronze, silver, and gold should be
depreciated. This story was the delight of the renaissance writers on
glass. With regard to the more amplified and tragic version usually
quoted from Petronius, we must remember that the remarks put by that
writer into the mouth of Trimalchio are not always to be taken
seriously. In later days a similar tale was told of a French
inventor—in this Richelieu takes the place of Tiberius. After
mentioning the _calices pteroti_, the costly ‘winged cups’ of Nero,
Pliny gives some account (quite out of its proper place, by the way) of
obsidian, a black stone much resembling glass, which was shaped not
only into various dishes for use at the table, but also into figures of
some size—statues of the divine Augustus, for instance, for that
monarch much prized the material. _Vitrum hæmatinum_, ‘a red opaque
glass,’ is passed over rapidly. ‘White glass is made also, and murrhine
and glass resembling the hyacinth and the sapphire and glass of all
other colours.[50] There is no substance easier to work or to which
brighter colours can be given. The highest place must, however, be
accorded to the white transparent glass which much resembles crystal;
for drinking, it has driven out vessels of gold and silver.’ This
passage is of the greatest importance. We see that a pure white glass
was still, even in Pliny’s time, something noticeable. This was, as we
shall see, again the case at the time of the Renaissance, when it was
the aim of the glass-makers, all over Western Europe, to imitate the
_Vetro di cristallo_ of the Venetians.

It will be noticed that Pliny makes no mention of the method of
preparation of the alkali used in making glass (in ‘tempering the
sand,’ as he puts it). From the context it would seem that the _nitrum_
was always of the same nature as that brought by the mariners to the
Phœnician coast—this is, however, very unlikely. Nor have we any
information about the arrangement of the furnaces. These glass houses
were, however, well known to the beggars and loungers of the time—we
hear of them as places of resort in cold weather for those who had no
other way of warming themselves. In the Greek Anthology (No. 323), of
all places in the world, there is a fragment by one Mesomedes, a
contemporary and favourite of Hadrian, giving an account of a visit to
a glass-house. Just at the point where the little poem breaks off, the
workman is described as placing the molten mass between the blades of
the pincers or shears.

Strabo tells us that when he was at Alexandria—he was there, we know,
in the early part of the reign of Augustus (_circa_ 24 B.C.)—he was
assured by the glass-workers (ὑαλουργοί) that their ‘many-coloured
and sumptuous glass’ could not be made without the addition of a
certain glassy earth which was only found in Egypt, a story which
points to the jealousy of foreign competition on the part of these
craftsmen. So on the Phœnician coast he hears from some of the
wonderful qualities of the Sidonian sand, while others tell him that
one sand is as good as another. Strabo goes on to speak of the
improvements made ‘quite lately’ in the clear crystal glass of which
the manufacture had not long since been established at Rome. Compare
with this the account of Pliny; in view of his certainly rather vague
statements, we should hardly have looked for this _cristallo_ in Italy
at so early a date.

But it is neither from Italy nor from the countries bordering the
Eastern Mediterranean that the most important supply of Roman glass has
been obtained. Putting aside objects of quite local _provenance_, it
will be found that in the museums of England, France, and Germany, by
far the larger part of the glass exhibited—and this is above all the
case with the blown glass—has been found within the limits of the
ancient Gallia. Spain, contrary to what we might have expected, has
yielded little Roman glass of any artistic merit, partly perhaps for
want of systematic search. But there are few districts in France or in
the west of Germany where the exploration of Roman cemeteries has not
yielded a plentiful crop. If we travel northward from the estuary of
the Rhone by way of Arles and Nismes to Avignon, Valence, and Lyons,
then across by the country on either side of the Jura to the valley of
the Rhine, and follow that river by Strassburg to Cologne, we pass for
the whole way through a district especially rich in Roman glass. And
this is what might well be looked for. The third and fourth
centuries—a little earlier or a little later, according to
locality—are above all the great centuries for the prevalent use of
glass, and it was during this period that the central tract of country
that included the two great metropolitan cities of Arles and Trèves
began to take the prominent place that it maintained throughout the
early Middle Ages.

Even our English glass of this time, so much of which comes from
districts to the north and the south of the estuary of the Thames, may
be brought commercially at least into connection with the wealthy
provinces of Northern and Eastern Gaul. It was from these provinces
that glass was first imported, and from them, no doubt, the
glass-workers passed over to Britain.

In the case of the rich collection of Roman glass in the British
Museum, the backbone, as it were, is formed by the specimens excavated
from tombs in the neighbourhood of the lower Rhone valley—from Vaison,
near Vaucluse (the Comarmond collection), from Apt, and from Alais. At
Arles, in that district of tombs, the Aliscamps, which furnished Dante
with a well-known image, beneath the Christian sarcophagi (in these,
too, not a little glass has been found), the earlier Roman tombs lie on
the bed-rock. From these tombs numberless urns of glass, in cases of
lead or stone, have been taken, as well as many examples of glass of
rare and exceptional shapes—among others what is apparently an alembic
for use in distillation. Some of these vessels contain a red liquid
which may _represent_ at least the wine with which they were originally
filled (Froehner, p. 109). In this town of Arles, too, in the suburb of
Trinquetailles, there were probably extensive glass-works, as we may
infer from the quantity of vitrified paste there found (Quicherat,
_Revue Archéologique_, xxviii.).

To pass to the Roman cemeteries of Lyons: in the museum of that town
are some curious masses of blue frit taken lately from a tomb on the
Fourvière, which call to mind the fritted cobalt or smalt exported in
modern times from the Saxon mines. We have in the British Museum many
pieces of glass from older explorations at the adjacent suburb of St.
Irénée. There is in the Lyons Museum a sepulchral stele of much
interest found in this very district; it is to the memory of a certain
Julius Alexander, a citizen of Carthage, a craftsman in the art of
glass (_opifici artis vitreæ_). This Punic glass-blower left behind him
children and grandchildren, who doubtless followed his trade. We must
not infer too much from a single instance; we know, however, from other
sources,[51] that there was a large influx into Gaul at this time of
Semitic people, chiefly of a humble status, craftsmen and small
merchants, and that they found their way in above all by the valley of
the Rhone. These ubiquitous traders are generally referred to as
Syrians, and I think it likely that the glass trade, not only in the
south of Gaul but further afield, may have been in great measure in the
hands of Orientals of this class. This would be especially true of the
manufacture and hawking about of small objects of _verroterie_,[52] and
again of glass pastes containing lead. But perhaps also the preparation
of the more ambitious and artistic kinds of glass was in the same
hands, leaving only the common ware to the native workmen; in that case
the distinction so important in later days between the _cristallo_ and
the ‘forest-glass’ may have had its prototype in Roman times. It should
be borne in mind that these Semitic craftsmen would for the most part
speak Greek rather than Latin, an important point that I have not space
to develop here.

As we pass to Northern Gaul we find examples of a glass of a pronounced
greenish tint more and more predominating—bulky urns, square and
spherical, and jugs with ‘claw’ handles. All of these forms we are
familiar with in England. The museums of Amiens and Boulogne are
especially rich in this glass, and in Paris the local finds are well
represented in the Musée Carnavalet.

On the other hand, in the glass of the Rhine district, including of
course the Moselle, we have a return to the more varied types that we
met with in the south. Trèves was the northern rival of Arles; it
formed the centre of a rich district, including Lorraine on the one
hand and the Rhine provinces on the other, where the manufacture of
glass by the third century became an important industry. And this
district has for us a special interest, for here more than anywhere
else we have some evidence to show that the industry was carried on
without interruption throughout the Middle Ages. The museums of Trèves,
of Cologne and of Bonn, are above all rich in Roman glass, and the
German archæologists have endeavoured—and this has hardly been
attempted elsewhere—to arrange this glass in a chronological sequence.
They think that they can distinguish the following stages in the
industry:—1. Up to 50 A.D. glass was a rarity in the north, but the
millefiori and marbled glass of the south was imported to some extent.
2. After the middle of the first century, glass-works were established
for the manufacture of large urns and smaller vessels of a
‘_Natur-glas_,’ bluish rather than greenish in tint. 3. In the time of
Hadrian (117-130 A.D.) a pure white glass was introduced; this was more
liable to decay than the older bluish glass. 4. The period of the
greatest development was about 200 A.D. Many kinds of decoration were
in fashion, as zig-zag threadings on coloured glass. 5. After 250 A.D.
This was the time of the glass with the _Frontinus_ stamp.[53] The
prevailing tint is a strong green, no longer bluish; the decoration is
given chiefly by engraving and cutting; Christian subjects begin to
appear. To this period also belongs glass decorated with coloured
medallions of glass paste.

I give this scheme of classification under all reserve; the
interlarding of a period of white glass between two stages of ‘green
glass’ may perhaps be open to criticism, but at all events it is a step
in the right direction. It must be borne in mind that this Rhenish
glass belongs to the same Romano-Celtic family as that found in France,
but, as in the latter country, the Celtic element is scarcely
perceptible. The art was an entirely new one, and there was no earlier
tradition to influence the work as in the case of the contemporary
pottery, armour, or sculpture.

It so happens that the Roman glass of Gaul has been most carefully
studied in a district far away from the route that we have been
following. In Western France the researches of M. Benjamin Fillon
(_L’Art de la terre chez les Poitevins_, 1864, and other works) have
brought to light the remains of old glass-works. These appear to have
been generally situated far from the main centres, and they were often
associated with potteries. It would even seem that glass was at one
time more in favour and perhaps cheaper than earthenware. A curious
point is the number of localities in Poitou and La Vendée which bear
names such as La Verrerie and Verrière; at as many as seven places with
names of this class, M. Fillon claims to have found the remains of
Gallo-Roman glass-works. These do not appear to have been established
before the time of Trajan, and it is to the age of the Antonines in the
second century that the more important examples of glass are to be
attributed. Of somewhat later date than this, however, are the fifty
pieces of white glass from the villa and tomb of a _femme-artiste_ at
St. Médard-des-Prés. This was M. Fillon’s most important find; some of
the vases contained various coloured substances and resins, and they
were closed by stoppers of wood or by sheaths of bronze.[54]

The British Museum has lately acquired a large collection of
Gallo-Roman glass formed by M. Moret. Among this glass—it comes
chiefly from late Gallic cemeteries in the neighbourhood of Paris, as
from Corbeil and Conflans (Confluentia), and also from the Rheims
district—may be seen beakers with circular feet and wide-mouthed cups
with rounded bases.[55] To one of these a fantastic decoration has been
given by a contorted streak of blood-like tint in the midst of the
glass—caused by the perhaps accidental presence of a fragment of
copper-oxide; we have here at any rate one of the earliest instances of
the use of this valuable pigment to obtain a transparent red. Notice,
too, the large receptacle cast in the form of a fish; similar vessels
have been found at Arles, and they have been brought into connection
with the well-known Christian symbol of the ἰχθύς.

                         ROMAN GLASS IN BRITAIN

There does not seem to be any example of a vessel of glass from a
pre-Roman tomb in Britain. The little ribbed bowls that have been found
in Celtic tombs further south did not apparently reach our country.
The ὕαλα σκεύη and the λυγκούρια mentioned by Strabo in an involved
passage as among the imports into Britain, we must interpret as _beads_
of glass and amber. From that time until the eighth century, when the
Venerable Bede wrote his history, we have not a word of documentary
evidence bearing upon the question of glass in our country. Nor have we
any definite evidence, apart from a few lumps of glass that may have
had their origin in an accidental fire, that any glass-works existed in
England during this long interval,—no evidence, that is to say, apart
from that based upon the large amount of Roman glass found in England
and the size of many of the specimens. The English glass, however, in
no way differs from that taken from Roman tombs in the north of France.
I have mentioned already the most noticeable types—the large urns, both
spherical and quadrangular, the graceful jugs and vases with ribbed
handles, and the little bowls of thin moulded glass with scenes taken
from the circus. It is perhaps remarkable that the art of the enameller
on metal, which we know at this time had been brought to a great
perfection in Britain,[56] appears in no way to have influenced the
glass-blower, and it would seem that in Britain glass vessels have been
rarely found together with specimens of champlevé enamel.[57]

Most of the finer examples of native Roman glass in our museums have
been excavated from cemeteries adjacent to the lower Thames valley,
around Colchester and other stations to the north, but above all on the
southern bank, in the district lying between the mouth of the Medway
and the Isle of Thanet. In this neighbourhood, in the flat land between
Sittingbourne and Faversham, were situated what were probably the most
extensive potteries of Britain, and it is hereabouts if anywhere in
England that we might look for traces of glass-works of Roman date. As
we go further west and further north, glass, large examples at any
rate, becomes comparatively rare, and this is true even of the
neighbourhood of such important stations as York and Cirencester.




In the case of the glass of the ancients, the material is so vast, so
varied, and spread over so wide an area, that a concentrated treatment
of the subject, as this must needs be, is rendered very difficult. Much
that is both interesting and important must be omitted or only briefly
alluded to; and this must be my excuse for making little more than a
passing mention of the inscriptions found at times on this glass.

These inscriptions fall into two classes:—1. A propitiatory sentence
or expression of well-wishing addressed, it would seem, to the person
to whom the piece is presented; of such we have already given some
examples. 2. The name of the maker. With few exceptions these
inscriptions are confined to glass that has been blown into a mould,
and this for practical reasons which will be obvious.

The signature of Ennion may be read in many cases on little vases
or bottles found in Italy, in Cyprus, and in the Crimea. Ennion
worked probably at Sidon or at Tyre and quite possibly as far back
as the third century B.C. The words ΜΝΗϹΘΗ Ο ΑΓΟΡΑΖΩΝ ‘Let the
buyer remember,’ which he sometimes added to his name, were perhaps
intended to accentuate the signature. The glass-blowers of Sidon seem
to have been proud of their native town; along with their signature
its name generally appears on the ‘thumb-piece’ of the handle: that
of Irenæus is in each case accompanied by the head of an emperor in
relief—Augustus or perhaps Caligula. Artas, whose signature has been
found more often than any other, gives his name both in Latin and

Let us now pass to examples of a later date that are characteristically
and distinctly Roman. What can be more so than the large quadrangular
bottles, on the base of which so many inscriptions have been found?
Here, as on the contemporary pottery, the reference is generally to the
owner of the works whose name is accompanied sometimes by the word
_patrimonium_. But the inscription is often reduced to four letters
placed in the angles—letters that have been a standing puzzle to
antiquaries. Many pieces of glass bearing the stamp of Firmus, of
Hilarus, or again of Hylas—contracted or in the genitive case—have
been found not only in Italy (as in the neighbourhood of Perugia), but
also in the Cologne district. On the other hand, the signature of
Frontinus is above all frequent on a series of barrel-shaped glass
vessels of a late date, which come from various places in the north of
France, more especially from Picardy; but the signature is found in the
Rhine country also. The firm seems to have been as important and its
outturn as widespread as that of the Bonhomme family of Liége in the
seventeenth century. Several examples of the Frontinus signature in
various forms are given by M. Froehner.[58]

It is a curious fact that in no case, as far as I am aware, has the
custom of the manufacturer adding his name to the glass made by him
become general in later times. The practical difficulties in the case
of blown glass may be a sufficient reason for this. Perhaps the most
important exception may be found in the stamps of makers’ names on
wine-bottles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Let me in one final word accentuate what seems to me the commanding
point of interest in this rich and varied series—the glass of the
Romans. We have in it the one branch of Roman art that was not
dominated by Greek influence and traditions; it was an art which,
although essentially developed under the Roman rule, had its origin in
Semitic lands. As an industry I cannot help thinking that it spread
along with that interpenetration of Hellenised Syrians that played so
important a part in the propagation of Christianity and other Oriental
cults through the west of Europe.

                               CHAPTER V

                     AGES IN THE EAST AND THE WEST.

The vague and indefinite use of the terms ‘Byzantine Period’ and
‘Byzantine Art’ has been the cause of much confusion in many branches
of history, and nowhere more than in the history of architecture. Were
I treating of the latter art I should prefer to use the term in its
narrower sense, confining it within definite limits of time and space.
With the minor arts, however—illuminated manuscripts, ivories, and
metal ware—the case is different. Here the term Byzantine may often be
conveniently applied to cover a very wide field; so in the case of
glass, the rare specimens that come to us from widely scattered sources
find, for a long period, a common centre, as it were, in Constantinople.

After the end of the third century the East begins once more to assert
itself. The spread of the Christian religion, the transference of the
capital of the empire to Constantinople, and again the advance of the
barbaric tribes, were all important factors in this movement. As far as
our northern lands are concerned, the importance of this last factor as
an orientalising influence has perhaps not been sufficiently
recognised. We think of this advance chiefly as a descent of Germanic
tribes from the north upon Italy. But this last movement was only a
side issue—the general progress was from East to West. We know now
that for whatever culture these tribes brought with them at the time of
their advance, they were at least as much indebted to the early
civilisations of Western Asia as to that of Greece and Rome. It was
only with the fringe of this latter civilisation, and that
comparatively lately, that they had come into contact. In a measure we
may look upon the influence of what we call classical civilisation as
merely a temporary interruption, a breaking in upon the old established
route by which the peoples, and still more the produce, of the East
reached Western Europe. This is what gives that Oriental _nuance_,
often so difficult to define, to so much of our Western European art of
the early Middle Ages,[59] up to the time when the Roman culture, under
the lead of the Western Church, asserted itself once more.

So in the somewhat miscellaneous assortment of glass from many lands,
and often of uncertain date, that we treat of in this chapter, it is
this new wave of Oriental influence working upon the now decadent Roman
types which gives in some measure a common note to objects otherwise so

In another way the spread of the new religion had an even more direct
and practical bearing on our subject-matter. If between the fourth and
thirteenth century—between the later Gallo-Roman glass and the
enamelled glass of the Saracens—there is in our collections a gap
representing nearly a thousand years, only sparingly filled up by a few
rare examples, the immediate cause is to be found in the abandonment of
the practice of cremation, and of the habit of burying objects of value
with the deceased. Fortunately for us, however, there was at first one
important exception to this rule, and to this exception we owe the
survival of so many specimens of a family of glass which is essentially
both Christian and Roman, a family which should therefore rightly find
its place at the commencement of the present chapter.





The GILT GLASS OF THE CEMETERIES is, indeed, strictly Roman, both in
_provenance_ and in its artistic and technical relationships. The
essential character of this early Christian glass depends upon the
inclusion of a foil of thin gold between two plates of glass united by
fusion. This is the principle of the decoration of the two bowls from
Canosa that I have already described, and, indeed, in the technical
difficulties overcome, and still more in artistic merit, these bowls
far excel any later work of this class. As it is, the interest of these
_vetri a fondi d’oro_, as the Italians call them, depends rather upon
the fact that they constitute one of the earliest records of the art of
the primitive Church, than upon any especial merit they may possess as
examples of glass.[60]

It is now well known that nearly all these little discs of glass have
formed the base of tazza-shaped bowls, or of cups of conical form. Most
of them have been extracted from the plaster in which they were
embedded at the sides of the _loculi_, where in the passages of the
catacombs the corpses were deposited. There is also a class of smaller
medallions or studs, covered with thick lenticular glass, which were
inserted round the body of a glass cup; in a few rare examples, chiefly
from Cologne, the medallions remain in their original position on the
cup (Pl. X.). These studs are sometimes of blue glass, and we are then
reminded of a style of decoration in use in earlier times—blue bosses
or ribs, _appliqués_ or fused into the body of the bowl.

Apart from a few remarkable specimens found beneath some of the old
churches of Cologne, as at St. Ursula and St. Severinus, these gilt
glasses come almost exclusively from the catacombs of Rome. The Roman
collections naturally contain the most numerous specimens; in the
British Museum, however, may be seen an important and typical series,
illustrating most of the points of interest.

In the preparation of these _vetri a fondi d’oro_, the gold leaf was
laid down upon the glass with some gum or varnish; the superfluous gold
was then scraped away, and the internal lines of the draperies
accentuated with a sharp metallic point; a covering of glass was then
superimposed. So far all are agreed; but as to the actual process by
which the two sheets of glass were united, there is some difference of
opinion. The problem had already appealed to Heraclius, the writer of
some barbarous hexameters treating _De Coloribus et Artibus Romanorum_.
Heraclius was probably a monk living at Rome, perhaps about the end of
the tenth century. The fifth of his little didactic poems is inscribed
‘_De fialis auro decoratis_.’ In this he tells us how he produced some
small cups of pure glass, smeared them with gum with a brush, and then
proceeded to lay down on them leaves of gold. On the gold leaf, when
dry, he inscribed birds, men, lions, as it pleased his fancy.
‘Finally,’ says Heraclius, ‘I fitted over the surface, glass rendered
thin by a skilful blast of the fire; but when the glass had yielded
equally to the heat, it united itself admirably to the phials as a thin

Theophilus, writing a few generations later, probably in Germany, knew
nothing of this cemetery glass. He describes, however, the process by
which the Byzantine Greeks made their gold mosaics by sprinkling a
layer of powdered glass over the gold leaf covering the surface of the
tesseræ; this coating was then fused on. But this was an enameller’s
process, and the coating must have consisted of a somewhat fusible
glass, perhaps containing lead. The Greeks employed, he tells us, a
similar process in decorating their glass cups.

Signor Andrea Rioda, the art director of the _Impresa Venezia-Murano_,
tells me that in the case of some clever imitations of _fondi d’oro_
made by his firm, the gold leaf was fixed upon a thickish sheet of
glass, a thinner sheet was then placed over it, and the whole heated to
the softening-point. A third method has been adopted in the preparation
of some experimental imitations made by Mr. Westlake: that gentleman
soldered together the two sheets of glass round the edges only, by
means of a flux.

In the general treatment of the figure, and in the choice of the
subject, we are reminded in the case of this cemetery glass of the
reliefs upon contemporary Christian sarcophagi—that is to say of the
more rudely executed of these reliefs. But among these _fondi d’oro_
there is a small class of portrait heads, highly finished by means of a
sort of _pointillé_ or stipple process, which are of a somewhat
superior artistic merit. In these circular medallions—miniatures, we
might call them[62]—the large eyes, the small mouth, and a peculiar
affable but sad and ‘worn-out’ expression, remind us of the portrait
heads on late mummy cases brought from the Fayum. These highly finished
miniatures are probably of somewhat earlier date than the typical glass
from the catacombs.

We find occasionally in this cemetery glass a sparing use of coloured
enamels, above all on the draperies.[63] In others the outlines, it
would seem, were cut into the glass and filled up with coloured pastes,
a process of great technical interest; I have not, however, myself seen
an example of such work.

A few rare pieces with Jewish symbols have been found, but not in any
case, I think, from Jewish cemeteries. We see the scrolls of the law
lying on the _aron_, and the seven-branched candlestick. I have already
pointed out that at this time in Rome the working of glass was very
probably to some extent in the hands of Jews and Judaising

The cemetery glass dates, it would seem, from the fourth and from the
first half of the fifth century, but some of the finer pieces may be a
little older. The disasters of the fifth century and the rapid decline
of Rome after the time of Honorius help to explain the total extinction
of this _genre_ soon after the latter period.

Apart from these gilt medallions, the examples of glass that may be
classed as early Christian present no special feature. There is in the
British Museum a series of cameo medallions, some of _hæmatinum_ and
others of sapphire-blue glass paste. In these the treatment of the
figures—the Virgin and Child and St. George (or possibly St. Theodore)
are the favourite subjects—is quite Byzantine in character. In the
Vatican Museum, among many other such medallions, are some cast from
the same moulds as our English examples. The little _pendeloques_ of
stamped glass remind one of the late Roman and Saracenic glass weights
found in Egypt; they have formed probably parts of a necklace, or they
may have been attached to drapery.

The early Christian engraved glass is of more importance, but it in no
way differs in technique from that carved with pagan subjects; some of
the vases may possibly have served as chalices for use in the service
of the Eucharist. In the British Museum is a conical cup from Cologne;
the figures are roughly cut with the wheel, and the subjects from the
Old and New Testaments are the same as those found on contemporary
sarcophagi. The design on the Podgoriza bowl,[65] perhaps the finest
example of early Christian engraving on glass, shows the influence of
the northern barbarians; there is a Viking air about some of the
subjects. Notice especially the ship from which Jonah is being thrown,
and the gaping monsters in the sea, more like dragons than whales. (See
Mr. Arthur Evans’s paper in _Archæologia_, vol. xlviii.)

As I have already said, the gap which exists between the later Roman
and the great school of enamelled Saracenic glass of the thirteenth
century can only be filled by a few scattered examples from widely
distant sources. The tombs now fail us, and we are thrown back for the
most part upon the treasures and relics preserved in the churches of
Italy, France, and Germany. Such objects represent but one aspect of
the glass produced at the time: they reflect above all the skill now
acquired in staining glass so as to imitate precious stones. We shall
see later that there has been preserved an interesting literary record
bearing especially on such imitations. The alchemists now begin to come
into touch with the glass-workers—a connection that has been
maintained even to quite recent times. The Jews, too, were early
occupied with the manufacture of coloured pastes, and their interest in
the subject has continued, as we know, up to the present day.

It would be impossible to neglect the importance of Constantinople when
treating of the art of the early mediæval—the so-called dark ages. But
so far as glass, in our narrower sense of the word, is concerned, there
is little that can be definitely attributed to that city. For us,
however, the interest of the Greek Empire lies in the fact that we have
in it a common middle term with which to correlate the art of the Copts
in Egypt, of the Sassanians in Persia, and at a later time, in some
measure, that of the early Saracen dynasties and even of the
Anglo-Saxons and the Franks in the north. At two widely separated
periods the influence of Constantinople has been more directly felt.
The first centres round Justinian in the sixth century; we are brought
at that time into relation with the Copts and the Sassanian rulers of
Persia. The other is the time of the great revival of Byzantine power
in the tenth century, when, chiefly through alliances with the emperors
of the Saxon house, the renewed art of the Greeks spread through
Germany and even reached, not for the first time indeed, the shores of

The great work, no doubt, of the Byzantines in the domain of glass is
to be found in the manufacture of the mosaics with which they lined the
walls of their churches, and when we hear that glass was made at
Thessalonica, and again that one of the gates of the capital was named
after the adjacent glass-works, it is of this branch of the art that we
must first think.[66] Byzantine artists travelled to Cordova on the one
hand, and to Damascus on the other, to work in mosaic for Mohammedan
masters; we find them, too, at Rome, at Ravenna, and at Aachen. No
doubt these _musivi_ took with them, at first at least, the materials
with which they built up their pictures.

For the use of coloured glass in the windows of churches, we may
probably find a similar origin. In Justinian’s great church glass was
not used for mosaics only; there were windows filled with stained
glass, some of which may even now be in place. In the seventh century
we hear of Greek workmen summoned to France for such work, just as from
Merovingian France, as Bede tells us, Benedict Biscop obtained, a
little later, skilled craftsmen to make the glass for his new church at
Monk Wearmouth.





In the ode that Paul the Silentiary wrote for the opening ceremony at
St. Sophia (563 A.D.), he speaks of silver discs, hanging from chains
and pierced to receive vessels of ‘fire-wrought’ glass, shaped like the
butt of a spear (οὐρίαχος) (Lethaby’s _Santa Sophia_, p. 50 _seq._).[67]

We have here in these lamps what is probably the first mention of a new
use for our material—one which became before long, for a time, the
dominant one. In the ‘spear-butt’ shaped lamps of St. Sophia we may see
the prototypes of the conical oil-cups of the Saracens.

Glass, however, was never held in great honour in the ceremonies of the
Christian Church. Chalices and patens of glass are indeed mentioned in
the _Liber Pontificalis_ as in use at the end of the second century:
St. Jerome writes of ‘the Lord’s blood being borne in a vessel of
glass,’ and some early miracles have reference to the making good of
glass that had been broken. Of a ninth-century saint we are told that
his Eucharistic vessels were first of wood, then of glass, and finally
of pewter! In later times the use of so fragile a material fell out of
use, and was even forbidden by the Church.

In shape it would seem that these early chalices resembled the Greek
_cantharus_. Of this form is what is perhaps the oldest example of a
metal chalice that has survived—the cup found at Gourdon, now in the
Bibliothèque Nationale. We have, or rather had, another example of this
type in the golden chalice inlaid with jewels which was formerly
preserved at Monza. In fact, this form is especially characteristic of
early Byzantine art; we see such vases represented over and over again
on marble reliefs and mosaics. Now in the British Museum there are two
vases, distinctly of this _cantharus_ shape; they are of blue, somewhat
bubbly glass, with fluted body: one which is perfect was found at
Amiens (Plate XII.); the other, from the Slade collection, has lost its
handles. These vases may well date from the sixth century, and they may
very probably have served as chalices.

Let us now turn to some of the rare specimens of early glass to be
found in the treasuries of churches, chiefly in the north of Italy.

At Rome, in the church of St. Anastasia, is a bowl of opaque glass,
with ornaments in relief, mounted on a metal foot. This claims to be
the chalice used by St. Jerome.

More famous is the _sacro catino_ preserved in the cathedral of St.
Lorenzo at Genoa. There is no reason to doubt the story that this bowl
fell to the share of a Genoese when the town of Cæsarea was sacked by
the Crusaders in the year 1101. It seems to have suffered no diminution
in sanctity from a want of uniformity in the tradition as to its
earlier history.[68] The _sacro catino_ is a shallow hexagonal bowl
with feet and handles; the slight ornaments on the surface are finished
with a tool. It was carried off to Paris during the revolutionary war,
and then discovered to be not an emerald, as had been always
maintained, but a piece of admirably tinted glass, containing, however,
a few air-bubbles. The bowl was broken before its return to Genoa, and
the pieces are now united by a filigree mounting of gold.





It is claimed for the famous treasures preserved in the royal basilica
at Monza, that they date from the time of Theodolinda, Queen of the
Lombards (589-625 A.D.). Among them is a cup of a deep blue material
which is stated to be a sapphire. It is almost three inches in
diameter, and Mr. Nesbitt, who examined it, failed to discover any
air-bubbles. If, however, as is probable, this cup is of glass, it
gives evidence of the technical skill of the craftsman who made it. In
the same treasury are a number of little flasks in which were preserved
the oil exuding from the bodies of martyrs—whether these flasks came
originally from Rome or from Palestine, I am unable to say. In any case
they closely resemble certain little bottles said to be of Coptic
origin, found in Upper Egypt. There are some very similar flasks,
claiming to date from the sixth century, in the treasury of St. Croix
at Poitiers.

But it is to the treasury of St. Mark at Venice that we must go to find
what is by far the largest collection of Byzantine glass in existence.
The tradition that refers this collection as a whole to the time of the
fourth crusade, when in the year 1204 Constantinople was subjected to a
systematic pillage by the combined forces of the Venetians and the
Franks, is doubtless in the main true. But long before this the
Venetians had been in close commercial relations with the Greek
capital. The nucleus of the _Pala D’Oro_, undoubtedly a Byzantine work,
dates from the last years of the tenth century. On the other hand,
there are some objects in the treasury of considerably later date than
the twelfth century. As the little that we know of the glass of the
Byzantines is mainly founded upon this collection, I will extract from
Passini’s great work[69] a complete list of the examples of glass that
it contains.

I. Among a series of ten chalices of which the metal mountings bear
inscriptions in Greek relating to the consecration of the holy wine, is
a hemispherical cup of common glass, some 5 inches in height, studded
with conical points, and another of clear glass with an arcading in low
relief (xxxi. 76 and 77). In the same series is a bowl of green glass,
decorated with four quaint animals rudely carved in low relief (xlv.

II. Among a set of so-called chalices, without inscriptions or symbols,
we find—1st, A vase of plain blown glass of greyish colour, 7-1/2
inches in height; it is without ornament, but is richly mounted in
filigree and jewels (l. 116). 2nd, A bowl of plain glass, some 6 inches
in height; at the base is a series of circular button-like projections
with a stud in the centre of each (xlii. 87). 3rd, A cup of clear glass
(some 6 in. high); the surface is decorated by a series of shield-like
projections similar to those on the last (xl. 79). 4th, Another cup of
coarse glass (5 in. high) is not illustrated in Passini’s work.

III. Among a series of so-called patens of various materials we find
four of glass—1st, A plate-like paten of greenish glass (7 in. diam.),
the outside incised with a number of small circular depressions (xlix.
109). 2nd, A paten of milky-white semi-transparent glass with shaped
margin (9 in. diam.); not illustrated. 3rd, An unmounted shallow dish
or bowl of plain glass (14 in. diam.) shaped like the pan of a balance;
eight ringed discs, standing out in relief from the surface, surround a
central circular shield; between are facetted, pointed projections[70]
(lix. 110_a_) (Plate XI. 3). 4th, A smaller pan-like paten or hanging
lamp similar to the above (10 in. diam.) is not illustrated.





IV. Lamps—1st, A vessel in the shape of a balance-pan, mounted as a
lamp, and hung by three chains (liv. 125). We are reminded by this of
the lamps that hung in St. Sophia, as described by Paul the Silentiary
(p. 97). The decoration of discs and facetted points is almost
identical with III. 3. The inscription in Greek on the silver rim maybe
rendered: ‘✠ Saint Pantaleone, help your slave Zachariah, Archbishop of
Iberia! Amen!’ This connection with Iberia (Georgia) is of the greatest
interest as bearing upon the origin of this family of glass (Plate XI.
1). 2nd, A bucket-shaped lamp of plain glass hanging from three chains
(hgt. 6 in.) (liv. 124). 3rd, An ellipsoid hanging lamp of common glass
(chief diam. 8 in.). On the exterior, projecting in high relief, are
carved shells, fishes, and other animals. From the silver rim project
six cloisons which formerly held jewels; one alone remains, an oval
paste of opaque blue. Above project eight little cylindrical sockets,
as if to contain candles (liv. 123).

V. Amphora-shaped vessels—1st, A cylindrical vase of common glass,
with rich mounting (total height, 20 in.) (xxxvi. 65). 2nd, A
pear-shaped vase, set with a false metal spout to resemble an ampulla
or cruet; the mounting is of Oriental character. The glass is carved
with a design containing two long-horned rams among a conventional leaf
pattern (the glass alone 4 in. high) (li. 115) (Plate XIII.). 3rd, An
unmounted vase of common glass, with handles (10 in. diam.). 4th, An
unmounted conical vase of common glass with conical neck, carved in low
relief with three conventionalised four-legged monsters with
tendril-like limbs and bodies (hgt. 5 in.) (xl. 80).[71]

VI. Situlæ, or bucket-shaped vases, 1st, A situla of clear glass of a
violet tint. The design—somewhat rudely cut with a wheel—consists of
a series of figures, with pastoral and Bacchic emblems. The decoration
is similar in style to the engraved work found on some late Roman glass
from the Rhine district (hgt. 8 in.) (liii. 121). 2nd, The famous
situla that I have already described when treating of the _diatretum_
glass (p. 72). The Canonico Passini thinks that the rings of glass have
been fitted on subsequently, and that is the impression that I formed
when examining the vase (hgt. II in.) (liii. 122). (Plate XIV.)

VII. The vase enamelled with classical medallions which has already
been described in connection with the enamelled glass of the Romans (p.
66). Although, as I have said, the figures are purely classical in
style, yet the scroll-work reminds one of the decoration on Coptic
bowls and fragments brought from Egypt (xl. 78, and xli. 82).

VIII. There remains the turquoise basin, richly mounted in gold and
gems, presented in 1472 by the Shah of Persia to the Signoria of
Venice. The only ornament is a conventionalised hare carved in low
relief on each of the five compartments that divide the sides. On the
base is a brief dedication in Arabic to Allah. As to the material of
this vase, all I can say is that it is _carved_; this is seen by the
light reflected on the somewhat unctuous surface; it is therefore not
porcelain or other ceramic ware, as some have thought. The slightly
waxy lustre is in favour of its being a natural stone of the turquoise
order. Some, however, have held this dish to be of a glass paste, on
the ground of the minute bubbles on the translucent edge; but the
existence of these bubbles is denied by others, and I myself failed to
discover them (hgt. II in.) (liii. 122).

I have dwelt in some detail on this little-known Byzantine glass at St.
Mark’s, for it is, as a group, of unique interest for our history,
throwing light on so many obscure problems.





We may obtain some slight hints as to the commoner kinds of glass in
use by the Byzantine Greeks from the illustrations of contemporary
manuscripts. I will give an instance of frequent occurrence. The
Evangelist who on the opening page is represented seated at his desk
engaged in writing his gospel, dips his pen into a little flask of
clear glass, of cylindrical body and straight neck. This is a simple
form, easily turned out by the blowing-tube, without the use of the
pontil. We may trace it all through the Middle Ages, and a flask very
similar in shape is still used in the laboratory of the chemist.

Apart from the more or less conventional rendering of the human
figure—and this is what we usually think of in connection with
Byzantine painting—we find two tendencies in the minor arts of the
time; one classical, carrying on the old Greco-Roman tradition, the
other Oriental in motive and feeling. For more than three hundred years
the frontiers of the Roman and Sassanian empires were continually
fluctuating, and in this border region, which included Armenia,
Georgia, Western Persia, and the upper waters of the Tigris and the
Euphrates, there were at this time many flourishing centres of
industry. It was probably in some of these lands, rather than in
Constantinople itself, that we may look for the home of the school of
carving in rock crystal and in glass that we associate vaguely with the
Lower Empire.[72] Nor did the Arab conquests of the seventh and eighth
centuries make at once any great changes in the arts of these
districts. It was through these lands probably that so many Oriental
motives filtered through to the west, not only to Constantinople, but
to the north and west coasts of the Black Sea also, and thence through
Poland and Hungary to Germany. Nowhere is this Oriental influence
better seen than in the vases of rock crystal and other hard stones
preserved in the treasuries of our Western churches, nor can we
separate these vases from the even rarer objects carved in glass. The
carving on the so-called Hedwig glasses is, as we shall see, executed
in an allied if somewhat degenerate style; some of these glasses can be
traced back to the borderlands of Poland.

Of the glass in use among the Persians and the other subjects of the
Sassanian empire (which lasted from the end of the third to the
beginning of the seventh century) we know practically nothing.
Doubtless many examples of Sassanian glass have been turned up during
the gigantic explorations around Nineveh, Babylon, and Susa, but till
quite lately little attention has been paid to objects of so
comparatively late a date. In the Louvre are some fragments of glass
lately brought from Susa. One piece calls for mention here. This is a
large fragment of thick clear glass which has formed the half of a
shallow circular dish, about fourteen inches in diameter. There are
some eight or nine shallow circular depressions cut out from the sides,
with a stud rising in counter-relief from the centre of each. We are at
once reminded of certain ‘balance-pan’ hanging lamps in the treasury at
Venice—in fact, this fragment from Susa must have formed part of a
vessel almost identical with these.

But our one undoubted example of Sassanian glass forms part of a bowl
now in the Bibliothèque Nationale. This famous vessel was long
preserved in the treasury of the Abbey of St. Denis; as in the case of
an enamelled cup preserved at Chartres, it was claimed for it that it
had been a present from Harun-ar-Rashid to Charlemagne. The body of
this bowl consists of a framework of gold, the openings of which are
filled with rosettes of rock crystal and glass. The central medallion
of rock crystal is carved to represent a king seated on his throne; for
this reason the vessel was formerly known as the ‘Cup of Solomon.’ The
seated king has, however, now been identified as Khosroes II. (Kosrou
Parviz), one of the last of the Sassanian monarchs (590-628). The
rosettes of glass and the lozenges between them are white,
emerald-green, and purple, and the colours are still brilliant. M. de
Longperier, who first identified the subject of the central medallion,
has brought forward passages from early Arab writers in which mention
is made of glass drinking-cups in use in the court of the Sassanian

The question, however, of the origin of the enamelled glass of the
Saracens—one of the most burning ones in the history of
glass—receives no light from this quarter. Nor is the problem much
advanced if we turn to Egypt to study the interesting middle period
between the first introduction of Christianity and the Mohammedan
conquest. It is only quite lately that the exploration of Coptic tombs
has thrown some quite unexpected light on the culture of these
long-neglected centuries. Not a little glass has been found, chiefly in
fragments, and of these the date can only be inferred from the style of
the decoration. The use of thin opaque ‘painted’ enamels, quite
different from the brilliant jewel-like enamels of the Saracens, seems
to have been much in vogue in Egypt at this time. What has been found
is not very accessible so far, nor has much been done in the way of
classification. A small collection, derived chiefly, I think, from the
excavations at Achmin in Upper Egypt, has lately been purchased by the
Victoria and Albert Museum (from M. Richard). The little bottles of
various simple shapes call to mind those preserved in the treasuries of
certain European churches (see above, p. 99). One slim spindle-shaped
vessel reminds one a little of the vase with Greek inscription found in
the South-Saxon cemetery near Worthing (p. 107). Among the fragments is
one delicately painted in thin enamels in Egypto-Roman manner—we see a
flying bird and the stalks and seed-vessels of the lotus; others are
decorated with _entrelacs_ of Byzantine character, also in a thin
opaque enamel; but on the majority of these fragments the subject and
the design are thoroughly Saracenic. Some ribbed bowls (in shape
identical with those from the later Celtic tombs of North Italy) have
been added lately to the British Museum collection; they come from
Upper Egypt; the scroll-like decoration in a manganese brown enamel is
of distinctly Byzantine character. Though these ribbed bowls may
possibly be of later date, they at any rate carry on the tradition of
pre-Arab times.

Those who have visited the natron lakes of Lower Egypt (three days’
journey to the south-west of Cairo), declare that there is evidence
that the brine and the saline deposits have been worked more or less
continuously from Roman times. The natron is still extracted from the
lakes by the _fellahin_ in the dry season. The impure sub-carbonate of
soda forms a cake beneath the coating of common salt, and lies also
upon the ground around. Near the village of Zakook fragments have been
found that point to the existence of glass-works in former days—this
is indeed probably the site of the town of Nitria. A French traveller
of the eighteenth century speaks of seeing near here ‘_trois verreries
abandonnées_’ (_Voyages en Égypte par le Sieur Granger_, 1745). Indeed
the ruins of three conical buildings are still to be seen; the stones
are fused on the edges, and plentiful scoriæ of common green glass lie
around. Some of the enamelled lamps of Saracenic style, now so much
prized by collectors, may perhaps have come from monasteries in this
neighbourhood. There are besides these a few lamps (as that from Siti
Mariam, reproduced in the late Mr. Butler’s _Coptic Churches of Egypt_)
which are of quite a distinct character. These lamps are set round with
blue bosses and little plaques; there is, however, no ground for
attributing any great antiquity to such work.

                               CHAPTER VI

                      THE SO-CALLED HEDWIG GLASSES

We must now turn to the Germanic tribes of the north. Thanks to the
late conversion of these tribes to Christianity, we have in the objects
found in their graves a comparatively rich store of information, up to
as late a date as the sixth and seventh centuries.

A few rare specimens of glass of an essentially Byzantine character
have been found in these pagan cemeteries. The most remarkable,
perhaps, is the tall, somewhat spindle-shaped vase discovered in 1894
in a South-Saxon cemetery at the foot of the South Downs, some five
miles to the west of Worthing.[73] The design which encircles the body
of this vase has been engraved somewhat summarily with the wheel; we
see a hound pursuing two hares—formal fern-like fronds rise between.
The Greek inscription round the top in large letters is similarly cut;
the expression ✠ Ο ΥΓΙΕΝΩΝ ΧΡΩ may be regarded as equivalent to
the Latin _Utere feliciter_—‘May the draught do you good!’ In this
little vase we have perhaps the latest example of classical glass of
sepulchral origin.

The glass of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors must be considered in connection
with that found in the graves of kindred tribes on the Continent. Of
these, the most important are the Frankish people who dwelt for some
time before their conversion to Christianity in the district between
the Rhine and the Ardennes. It is here, more especially in the middle
valley of the Meuse, about Namur and Liége, that the most important
finds have been made; the more elaborate examples, at any rate, of this
Franko-Saxon[74] glass were possibly manufactured in this district.

Now the importance for us of this glass from pagan cemeteries lies in
the fact that in it we have the latest important and independent group
of glass of which anything is known, until we come to the Saracenic
enamelled ware of the thirteenth century. In England, indeed, the gap
extends to a much later period; but in the case of Western Germany
there is some reason to believe that the Frankish fashions and
traditions of glass-making were carried on without any break during the
Middle Ages—that, in fact, in this early mediæval glass may be found a
link between the glass of Roman times and that in use in the Rhine
district up to the time when the influence of the Renaissance first
asserted itself. In Southern and Western France, on the other hand,
although the glass-workers may in places have carried on the old
workings, what they made was of no artistic importance. We have in this
case nothing equivalent to the outcome of the renewed interest taken in
the material by the northern chieftains—the _verre à fougère_ was a
product of the woods and heaths.

The Oriental influence—the distinguishing feature in all the glass of
which I have treated in the last chapter—is not so pronounced in the
glass of the Franko-Saxon peoples as in their jewellery and metal-work.
In these we find the mark of influences that had their source in the
East at two if not three widely separated periods. As for the earliest
of these, it is not only pre-Roman but probably pre-Hellenic: its
relations are rather with Asiatic than classical lands. The brooches
and buckles inlaid with garnets, and the quaint animal forms with which
the metal designs are built up, take us back perhaps to an earlier
Asiatic civilisation which is best represented in the Persia of
Achæmenid times.[75] The second of these periods of Oriental influence
is to be associated with the introduction of the Christian religion.
Again, at a still later time some of the older Oriental motives crept
in in a modified form with the pagan Danes and even with the Normans.









As far as glass is concerned, it is in the beads that we see most
clearly the return to the older fashions. Of these Franko-Saxon beads
the British Museum has a great store, not only from English graves but
from those of the Franks and other Germanic tribes on the Continent.
Now these beads differ entirely from those found in Celtic and Roman
tombs. Of these last, the dominant type—and we must confine ourselves
to this—is of a turquoise or deep blue, generally more or less
transparent, and they are often longitudinally ribbed. In a collection
of Germanic beads, on the other hand, the prevailing colours are red
and yellow, of ochry tints; they are almost invariably quite opaque,
and the patterns are mostly built up on the surface in a way that
reminds us of the primitive glass of the Eastern Mediterranean (Plate
XV. 3). A herring-bone pattern of fine lines is very characteristic,
and the delicacy of the designs on some of the beads from Allemanic
graves in Switzerland and elsewhere rivals that of the highly finished
work of the Egyptians.

Of this early Germanic glass generally, we may say that the greatest
interest lies in the types that depart most from the Roman glass which
preceded it, and on which it is of course as a whole founded. In some
cases the northern influence is only seen in a certain barbaric
magnificence—as in the examples from Germanic graves in Italy, lately
added to the collection in the Glass Room at the British Museum. Here
we see for the first time the drinking-horn of the north; this fine
specimen, trumpet-ended and fluted with long gadroons, is of a deep
blue glass wound round with white threads. Of similar origin is the
_rhyton_, of moulded glass of a rich amber colour, which lies beside
it. It may be noted that this form too, in spite of its classical
associations, was originally, as the name implies, derived from the
horn of some animal. It is not impossible that these vessels were made
by local Italian glass-workers to the order of the barbarians, on the
occasion of the burial of one of their leaders.

These are, however, only local accidental finds. With the glass used
by, or at least buried with the bodies of, our Anglo-Saxon ancestors
during the two centuries that followed their arrival in England, we
have a fairly intimate acquaintance; as I have said, it differs little
from the contemporary or in some cases rather earlier Frankish glass of
the Rhine, Moselle, and Meuse districts.

That glass was made in the south of Britain in Roman times there is
every reason to believe, and we look in Kent for the most probable
place for its manufacture, somewhere, perhaps, not far from the estuary
of the Medway (cf. p. 86). It is the Kentish graves again that have
yielded the largest quantity of Anglo-Saxon glass, as well as the
greatest varieties of forms. It is noticeable, however, that specimens
of what is the most remarkable and characteristic type of Anglo-Saxon
glass have been found in many other parts of the country. I refer of
course to the horns and conical cups decorated with long pendulous
lobes or ‘prunts.’ These drinking-cups have been found, apart from the
Kentish examples, in Durham, Gloucestershire, Hampshire,
Cambridgeshire, and in the upper Thames valley. Individual prunts
(these ‘thorned bosses’ are more substantial than the thin surrounding
glass) have occasionally turned up in excavations in London and
elsewhere. Abroad, precisely similar vessels have been taken from
Frankish graves in the Rhine provinces. It is more remarkable that
several cups so ornamented have been found in Illyria, in the Narenta
Valley. Mr. Arthur Evans traces these ‘thorn-bossed beakers’ to the
graves of Ostrogothic chiefs, and thinks that their fragility may be
taken as a proof of local manufacture (_Archæologia_, vol. xlviii. pp.
75-84). On the other hand, the high technical skill required in the
blowing of such glasses has led most antiquaries to regard our English
examples as of Continental origin, not improbably from the Rhine or
Meuse country.





Mr. Hartshorne (_Old English Glasses_, p. 119) has attempted to
reconstitute the steps by which these ‘thorn-bossed beakers’ were made.
He thinks that after the vessel had been blown from a ‘gathering,’
lumps of molten glass were applied one by one to the sides. ‘The hot
liquid metal acting upon the thin cooled sides of the object caused it
to give way successively at the points of attachment under renewed
pressure by blowing. The concavities thus formed extended into the
bodies of the prunts, the projecting points of which, being seized by
the _pucella_, were rapidly drawn forward to a tail and attached to the
outside of the glass lower down,’ This, of course, was before the
vessel had been removed from the blowing-iron, and Mr. Hartshorne finds
in this fact a reason for the prunts in this early glass always
drooping downwards, while the somewhat similar _stachelnuppen_, or
‘blobs,’ on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century German glasses, added as
they were after the transference of the vessel to the _pontil_,
invariably point upwards. ‘The whole of the pendant lobes,’ continues
Mr. Hartshorne, ‘having been thus put on and quilled and ornamented, as
some examples show, the _pontil_ was attached to the base, the
blowing-iron wetted off the other end, and the closed bulb being
softened at the mouth of the pot, presently became an open cup; the
mouth of the glass was now sheared, widened, and finished, the
stringing of the upper end of the vase usually forming part of the
final operation.’

The tall conical cup of olive-green glass in the British Museum, found
a few years ago with so many fine specimens of Anglo-Saxon metal-work
and inlaid jewellery, in a tumulus opened by Mr. Grenfell, at Taplow on
the Thames, may be taken as an example in which these processes may be
followed (Pl. XVI.). The quilling or toothing along the side of the
prunts is very similar to that often seen at the point of attachment of
the handle on Roman vases.[76]

Now these prunted beakers are of interest for two reasons. In the first
place, we cannot find any Roman prototype for the long drooping tears
of glass. Again, the fact of the wide distribution of almost identical
pieces would point to the necessity of throwing back the date of origin
for some considerable time. But at what point in their wanderings did
these Germanic tribes acquire this remarkable skill in the handling of
glass? The fact that these processes were known to the Ostrogoths in
the fifth or sixth century makes an Oriental origin for this system of
decoration not unlikely. In any case, this type of prunted surface
seems to have had a special attraction for the Germanic peoples, for we
can hardly doubt that from these old thorn-bossed beakers and horns, by
continuous tradition, the _stachelnuppen_ on the _krautstrunk_ and the
_roemer_ of the sixteenth century were derived.

Much more numerous in the Anglo-Saxon tombs are—1st, the little
bottles of simple form often stringed spirally round the neck (or in
other cases the stringing may be applied to form rude gadroons and
other patterns on the body); and 2nd, the small wide-mouthed and
footless cups, often of bell-like section. These were held in the palm
of the hand while drinking, as we may see in contemporary manuscripts
and perhaps in the Bayeux tapestry.[77] They are true tumblers in the
original sense of the word, in that they have no foot and will not
stand upright. A very similar form is common in Merovingian graves.




The tall, conical, trumpet-shaped cups are often carefully made and of
considerable artistic merit (Plate XVII.); the sides are sometimes
gadrooned and fluted, and threadings of glass of various colours are
applied to them. On a fine specimen found in the cemetery of the South
Saxons near Worthing, the stringing has been ‘dragged’ to form graceful
festoons or chevrons, calling to mind the patterns on the primitive
glass of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The simpler forms—the little bottles and cups—may well have been made
in some of our southern counties, perhaps in the very glass-houses
abandoned by the Romans; at any rate in Kent, the Jutish graves from
which so much of this glass has been derived are, as I have said,
intimately associated with the earlier Romano-British cemeteries. On
the other hand, for the north of England, we have the distinct
statement made by Bede, in his _Historia Ecclesiastica_, that at the
end of the seventh century the glass-workers who were brought over from
Gaul taught to the natives not only the making of glass for windows,
but also of glass ‘for the lamps in use in the church, and for vessels
for other various and not ignoble uses.’ So again a little later, in
the middle of the eighth century, Cuthbert of Jarrow, writing this time
to the Bishop of Mainz, says: ‘If you have any man in your diocese who
is skilful in the making of glass, I pray you send him to me, ...
seeing that of that art we are ignorant and without resource.’ That at
this later period Cuthbert should have had to send all the way to Mainz
is, I think, a point of some significance.

The ensuing centuries are the most barren in the whole history of
glass. We know that in France the glass-workers returned to the woods
to manufacture in large quantities the _verre à fougère_—common glass
for domestic use, which does not seem to have come into any close
relation with the artistic movements of the time. Here before long all
interest was centred in the manufacture of stained glass for the
windows of the churches, and this art became of supreme importance with
the rapid development of the new architecture in the twelfth century.
Whether we in England at so early a date manufactured glass to any
extent on either of these lines is, I am afraid, still a disputed point.

It was in Germany, and especially in the intermediate tract that for a
time existed as an independent kingdom—in Lotharingia, I mean—that
the old traditions seem to have held their ground most firmly. To
Germany from time to time during the Middle Ages came new waves of
influence from the East, by various and sometimes very circuitous
paths,—in Charlemagne’s time by way of Ravenna and Rome, more directly
from Constantinople in the tenth century, when Otto the Great married
his son to the grand-daughter of the Greek Emperor. About the same time
we hear of Greek craftsmen at work in German monasteries, as at
Reichenau on the lower Lake of Constance, where, by the way, a great
slab of bluish-green glass, traditionally of Byzantine origin, is still





But it was probably by more remote paths, through Poland and other
Slavonic lands to the east,[79] that the designs on the only specimens
of mediæval glass still existing in Germany that show distinctly
oriental motives[80]—if indeed the glasses are not themselves
Oriental—found their way westward. I refer to the rare carved goblets,
about which so much has been written in Germany. The glass of these
little cylindrical cups—they vary in height from three to five
inches—is of a yellowish-green or brownish tint, at times indeed
nearly colourless; it contains many bubbles. These so-called Hedwig
glasses are carved in high relief on the outside: as many as nine
examples have been described by Von Czihak (_Schlesische Gläser_, p.
184 _seq._), but of these only two can in any way be brought into
connection with St. Hedwig.[81]

The carving upon these glasses is deeply cut, but excessively rude.
They bear the mark of a large coarse wheel, applied for the most part
in two directions more or less at right angles to one another, and
little attempt has been made to round off the edges and angles. We see
in the decoration—figures of lions, griffins or eagles, as well as
formal leaf-like patterns—motives that are essentially Oriental;
indeed we are taken back rather to the Persia of Sassanian times than
to Constantinople. What is above all noticeable is the extreme
degeneracy of these motives; on some examples, as on the Halberstadt
glass, the design has become a meaningless pattern. This, as in the
case of other similar breakings up of design,[82] would point to the
copying and recopying by a semi-barbarous people of a subject the
original significance of which had been lost. In any case, we may see
in these little beakers the last examples of a dying art. Some of them
may be traced back, on the ground of their mounting, to the fourteenth,
perhaps to the thirteenth, century, but the glasses themselves may well
be considerably older. The important point to remember is that during
the later Middle Ages the carving of glass was quite unknown in Europe,
and that the art of employing the lapidary’s wheel as a cutting
instrument appears to have been lost. Indeed we do not meet with carved
glass again in any form until the beginning of the seventeenth century,
and then the rapid development of the art by the Lehmanns and the
Schwanharts at Prague is acknowledged to have depended upon technical
processes learned from Italian carvers of rock crystal.

I will now enumerate the most characteristic of these carved glasses,
basing my description in part upon the careful account given by Von
Czihak in his _Schlesische Gläser_.

1. In the Museum of Silesian Antiquities at Breslau. The design
consists of a vase, surmounted by a crescent and star; on either side
heraldic lions, each surmounted by a small three-cornered shield,
beyond them a conventionalised tree; the whole most rudely cut.
(Figured by Von Czihak.)

2. In the treasury of the Cathedral at Cracow. Lions and shields as
above, and eagle ‘displayed.’ It is claimed for these two glasses that
they were used by St. Hedwig.

3. In the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg. Two lions ‘passant’ in the same
direction; small shields as above and a griffin (Plate XVIII.).

4. In the Rijks Museum at Amsterdam. Eagle ‘displayed,’ two lions and
triangular shields. This glass was formerly an heirloom in the
Nassau-Orange family. On the base is engraved ‘_Alsz diesz glas war alt
tausend Jahr, es Pfalzgraff Ludwig Philipszen Werehret war_—1643.’
(Figured by Hartshorne and by Garnier.)

The above four examples closely resemble one another; in each case the
design is relieved upon a scalloped back, something like the linen-fold
of late Gothic wood-panelling.

5. In the Cathedral treasury at Minden. The glass is of a pale honey
tint. The design is formed of a lion with a shield containing a
triangle, an eagle displayed and a ‘tree of life,’ somewhat similar to
that on No. 1. The elements of the design are arranged stiffly with a
wide field between. (Figured by Von Czihak.)

6. Formerly in the Cathedral at Halberstadt, now in Berlin, in private
hands. Of greenish glass, only three and a half inches in height.
Design—two lions and triangular shield.

7. In the Cathedral Treasury at Halberstadt. The design on this little
glass has degenerated into a meaningless juxtaposition of bosses, bars,
and fretted bands. (Figured by Von Czihak.)

This appears to exhaust the list of these little carved glass beakers.
There is nothing in the treasury of St. Mark’s that can distinctly be
classed with them; on the other hand, the ‘_voirre taille d’un esgle,
d’un griffon et d’une double couronne_,’ mentioned in the inventory of
the possessions of Charles the Bold of Burgundy, may well have been a
cup of this class (Laborde, _Les Ducs de Bourgogne_, ii. No. 2753).

                              CHAPTER VII

                      MEDIÆVAL TREATISES ON GLASS

In a general way, it may be said of the Oriental glass that penetrated
into Europe in the early Middle Ages, that the type is given by
carvings in rock crystal. We can point to no example of sculptured
glass that can be compared to the magnificent vases carved out of that
mineral that we may see in the Louvre or in the treasury of St. Mark’s.
I should be inclined to place the district where this branch of glyptic
art flourished, whether we consider works of rock crystal or of glass,
somewhere in what may be called Upper Western Asia—in Armenia,
Georgia, or Western Persia—and to refer many of the extant examples to
a date rather before than after the Arab conquest. But all this, of
course, is pure conjecture.

Of quite another type was the glass made, it would seem without
interruption during all this period, in various parts of Syria. The
industry appears by this time to have passed in great measure into the
hands of the Jews. Benjamin of Tudela in the twelfth century found
Jewish glass-makers at Antioch and at Tyre. It was they, apparently,
who carried on the old traditions in the manufacture of artificial
pastes, coloured to imitate precious stones. The fusible glass
containing lead of which such pastes were made had indeed been from an
early date associated with the Jews—‘_Vitrum plumbeum, Judæum
scilicet_,’ says Heraclius. The demand for such work must have
increased immensely with the prevailing fashion of incrusting
reliquaries, the covers of books, and various personal ornaments with
large coloured jewels, real or false (generally the latter), cut _en

It is chiefly in connection with such work that there arose a curious
literature, if that term may be used for the barbarous treatises in
question. Already in Roman times we hear of writings that describe the
manufacture of artificial gems: Pliny says that he purposely abstains
from mentioning the names of these works—he would not help to spread
so objectionable an industry. But at that time and even later it was in
Egypt that treatises of the kind chiefly originated. The mysteries of
glass-making were there early associated with more dangerous arts. It
is mainly to writers on magic—white or even black—and to those on
alchemy that we must turn to find the earliest examples of those
strange recipes for the manufacture, and especially the colouring, of
glass, of which I shall have more to say later on. This connection
between the arts of the glass-maker and of the alchemist arose from
many causes, some of them obscure. For example, the vessels used in the
experiments of the alchemists were from an early date made of glass.
Again, the strange changes of colour observed when glass was stained by
copper or by gold were regarded as steps to the great discovery itself.
So that from the days of the Ptolemies in Egypt, if not from an earlier
date, down to the time of the German alchemists and Rosicrucians of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we find along with the grotesque
and cryptic formulas for the preparation of gold an almost continuous
chain of recipes, equally absurd for the most part, for the colouring
of glass. In addition to this, many of these treatises, although
professing to deal with the general problem of the transmutation of
matter, are in reality concerned with the more practical questions of
making plausible imitations of gold, silver, and precious stones—they
are, in fact, handbooks for the fraudulent goldsmith.

This is especially the case with the earliest example of the class that
has come down to us, the famous papyrus of Leyden, which alone has
survived the destruction that the Roman law again and again attempted
to enforce in the case of all books of magic. M. Berthelot, whom I
follow for these early writers,[83] calls this papyrus the working
notes of an ‘_artisan faussaire et d’un magicien charlatan_.’ This
little work, found long ago at Thebes, is a Greek manuscript of the
third century; it contains, however, little or nothing about glass, and
is of interest merely as an early specimen of this class of composition.

Other Greek treatises of a similar character, which are either lost or
survive only in extracts or translations, are attributed to Zosimus, a
writer of the third century, who had a section on glass; to Synesius, a
Cyrenaic bishop (400 A.D.), married, and half a pagan; and to
Olympiodorus, a priest of Isis, who in the sixth century kept up some
of the Hellenic traditions. The late Byzantine scholiasts drew up
summaries of these treatises and of many others; an important
manuscript of this class at Venice gives a list of fifty-two such
works. But these Byzantine summaries are of little value to us; all
grip of fact is completely lost in the mystical jargon of the school.

Of much greater interest are the many series of practical formulas
written in Latin, beginning with the _Compositiones ad Tingenda_, known
to us from a manuscript of the eighth century. Here we find a section
upon the colouring of artificial stones, their gilding and polishing,
and upon the colouring of glass generally—how it is rendered milky by
means of tin, red by cinnabar (?), by litharge (?), and by a substance
called _calcocecaumenon_, the latter word doubtless a corruption of the
Greek equivalent of the _æs æstum_, or burnt bronze, the well-known
mediæval source of an opaque red. Further on recipes are given for
other colours to be applied as varnishes. There is also a chapter on
the making of glass and some summary account of glass-furnaces,
interesting solely as the earliest example of the many such
descriptions that have come down to us. In fact, all these writers
copied one from the other, summarising or amplifying. The same recipes,
more or less intelligently expressed, turn up again and again: we can
trace them in Theophilus, and even in such comparatively modern writers
as Neri and Kunckel.

A later treatise, the _Mappæ clavicula_ (ninth or tenth century),
follows closely upon the _Compositiones_. As regards glass, we find
headings—for that is unfortunately all that remains of this
section—on unbreakable glass, on the soldering of glass, on the art of
tracing trees and fruits of all kinds upon a flask, on an indelible
manner of painting on glass, and finally, three sections on the
fabrication of pearls.

I have already discussed one of the recipes of Heraclius (or Eraclius)
when describing the cemetery glasses. All that we know of this writer
is that he was a monk, and that he probably wrote in Rome, not later
than the tenth century. The twenty-one little sections that make up his
two books are written in hexameters, and treat of _The Colours and Arts
of the Romans_. A third and much larger book in prose, that is found in
some manuscripts, is of a considerably later date and of quite a
different nature.[84] I will now briefly summarise what the true
Heraclius has to say about glass in his two metrical books.

In the third section we are told that earthenware may be glazed with a
preparation of pounded Roman glass, mixed with water and gum and then
carefully refired. The fourth section—_De Sculpturâ Vitri_—describes
a method by which glass may be first softened by smearing it with a
mixture of fat worms and vinegar, sprinkled over with the blood of a
fasting goat that had been fed with ivy; the glass may then be cut with
a hard stone called _pirites_. This association of goat’s blood and ivy
occurs more than once in the old recipes; for these strange ingredients
there may have been originally a cryptic interpretation, but we should
perhaps rather take the pretended necessity of their employment as a
sign that the art of cutting glass had been lost. Then in section v.
follows the account of the writer’s attempt at imitating the gilt glass
of the catacombs, which I have already analysed (p. 92). The
description of the manner of cutting (_secari_) the _cristallum_ in
section xii. is more practical; we are told of a plate of lead mounted
on iron, over which a certain hard powder is sprinkled. But here, too,
the virtue of goat’s blood is not forgotten; by its means the diamond
may be made to yield to iron. In section xiv. a process is described by
which Roman glass may be melted and cast into moulds of chalk to form
‘fair shining gems.’ Heraclius has been called an ignorant quack, but
he well represents the views of his time. Compared with him,
Theophilus, who wrote in the north of Germany some hundred or two
hundred years later, seems almost a modern.

More important to us than any of these Western sources of information
before the time of Theophilus, are certain Syriac manuscripts preserved
in the British Museum and at Cambridge. For our knowledge of the
contents of these I am again indebted to M. Berthelot (_La Chimie au
Moyen Age_, vol. ii.). In the sixth and seventh centuries Syria had
taken a commanding position, both commercially and artistically. The
trade between the west and the east, when not interrupted by the wars
between the Greeks and the Sassanians, passed through Antioch, and
after the Arab conquest the seat of the Caliphs was for a time at
Damascus, a Syrian town. In the history of glass, from the very
earliest times down to the Middle Ages, Syria, as represented by the
coast towns at least, has vied with Egypt for the premier position; the
two countries have always been closely connected, and at more than one
time they were under the same ruler. When we come to study the glorious
Saracenic glass of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, we shall
find that Syria has perhaps a better claim than Egypt to be regarded as
the original seat of the manufacture.

These Syriac and Arabo-Syriac manuscripts (the later sections are
chiefly in Arabic) form part of the material from which the Arabs
learned the arts of the Greeks. They claim for the most part to be
translations from Greek, above all Alexandrian Greek, writers, from
Zosimus and especially from the pseudo-Democritus. They deal with
alchemy, that is to say with ‘applied chemistry’ and the subsidiary
arts. There is, perhaps, more of local knowledge and practical
experience in them than appears at first sight, or than M. Berthelot
seems to allow: it was the fashion then to sail under the colours of
the great men of old.

Beside some scattered references to the subject in other places, we
find in the thirteenth section of the second part of the British Museum
manuscript a chapter devoted entirely to glass—it can hardly be
earlier than the ninth century. To make glass, we are told, add ten
parts of alkali to ten of sand, grill the mixture in an oven till it is
‘clean as pure wool.’ Here we have the preliminary fritting described.
Heat in a crucible till the substance can be drawn out like gum, ‘then
make of it what you will—cups, bottles, boxes—as the Lord may
permit.’ If the vessels thus made tend to split during the manufacture,
‘lay upon them a thread of melted glass. Shape the head and other
parts, then put back the vessels in the furnace to reheat, and withdraw
them gradually [that is to say, anneal the glass carefully as a final
process].... If you wish the glass to be white, throw in some female
magnesia [_i.e._ oxide of manganese, see p. 77], if blue, add four
mithgals of burnt antimony.’ The method of ‘cleansing’ glass by means
of manganese had doubtless been handed down from Roman times, and the
‘burnt antimony’ is probably to be interpreted as a roasted ore of
cobalt. For producing other colours, mention is made of various
substances, but I am unable to give any reasonable interpretation of
this part; we hear of tin, lead, and borax—the preparation of a
fusible enamel would seem to be implied. Finally, we are told—‘Do what
is to be done, according to the will of the Lord Sabaoth!’

There follows on this what is perhaps the earliest extant description
of a glass furnace. ‘The furnace of the glass-makers should have six
compartments, of which three are disposed in stories one above the
other.... The lower compartment should be deep, in it is the fire; that
of the middle story has an opening in front of the central
chambers—these last should be equal, disposed on the sides and not in
the centre (?), so that the fire from below may rise towards the
central region where the glass is and heat and melt the materials. The
upper compartment, which is vaulted, is arranged so as uniformly to
roof over the middle story; it is used to cool the vessels after their
manufacture.’[85] We have also the description of a smaller furnace,
which is perhaps that in which the more fusible glass for enamels and
minor objects of _verroterie_ was melted. Finally, an oven with a floor
of brick-earth is mentioned, for fritting the sand and alkali. In spite
of much that is obscure in this description, we can trace in it the
general type of furnace which, doubtless handed down from Roman times,
has survived in places with few important changes to the present day.





And here I may call attention to a contemporary drawing of a mediæval
glass furnace—a source of information as unique as it is unexpected.
This is to be found in a manuscript of an encyclopædic work, _De
Originibus Rerum_, compiled by Rabanus Maurus, one of the earliest of
the schoolmen. Rabanus lived in the Benedictine monastery of Fulda, in
the first half of the ninth century. The manuscript in question, which
is attributed to the year 1023, has been carefully reproduced by the
monks of Monte Cassino where it is preserved. The full-paged miniature
is to be found in a chapter headed _De Vitro_; I can, however, discover
nothing in the text that throws any light on our subject. In the
illustration we see to the left a nearly naked workman who holds a mass
of some green material, perhaps the frit; another man is blowing
through a tube what is probably meant for the unfinished cup; to the
left a chalice-like vessel, perhaps the model, is depicted. Notice,
too, in the pediment of the roof (probably to be regarded as the
annealing oven) a cup with a knob for stem, and hemispherical foot.
Cups of a similar form, apparently in these cases of metal, are found
in other illustrations of the manuscript (Plate XIX.).

M. Berthelot has reproduced in his earlier work (_La Chimie des
Anciens_) several rough pen-sketches of the apparatus used by the
mediæval alchemists, taken from the St. Mark’s manuscript mentioned
above. These drawings help us in a measure to understand the important
place taken by glass vessels of various forms in the researches of
these early experimental workers. Still more interesting are the
illustrations in the Syriac manuscript from which I have just quoted;
in these, the modern chemist may recognise many familiar forms. The
glass vessels have chiefly reference to processes of distillation. The
most important is the alembic, a form easily made; the neck of a long
pendulous _paraison_ has only to be heated on one side near the base,
when it falls over of itself to assume the well-known shape. We see
also flasks, standing in water or sand baths, within which various
substances are digesting; in other cases the contents are volatilising
into the turban-shaped _aludels_ placed above them.[86]

But in all this strange literature, which, starting from the banks of
the Nile in the first centuries of our era, spread over the Byzantine
empire and was so eagerly absorbed by the first Arab conquerors, the
interest in glass is only of a secondary nature,—the great question
was the transmutation of matter and the consequent preparation of gold.
Glass, as I have said, was of importance chiefly as a means to that end.

It was far otherwise with the writer whose work we must now examine.
Theophilus, the author of the _Schedula Diversarum Artium_, was, it
would seem, a monk in the monastery of Helmershausen, not far from
Paderborn, in the old Saxon land. The earliest manuscript of his work
probably dates from the twelfth century; it is preserved in the famous
library at Wolfenbüttel. The treatise itself may perhaps be referred to
the end of the eleventh or to the beginning of the next century; but in
spite of this early date the style of the book is modern compared with
the mediæval compilations we have lately been considering. That the
German monk Rugerus, or Rogherus, should have assumed the Greek name
Theophilus is itself a significant fact. He was, it would seem, a
hard-working goldsmith and a ‘skilled artificer’ in many branches of
the arts. He drew his inspiration from the Byzantine East on the one
hand, and on the other from the younger civilisation that was beginning
to centre in the new kingdom that was growing up in and around the Isle
de France. To these sources we must perhaps add the older Cluniac
tradition: from Tuscan artists also he had something to learn.[87]

‘Theophilus, an humble priest, servant of the servants of God,
addresses his words to all who desire by the practical work of their
hands and by the pleasing meditation of what is new, to put aside and
trample under foot all sloth of mind and wandering of spirit....’ In
this book they will find ‘all that Greece possesses in the way of
divers colours and mixtures, all that Tuscany knows of the working of
enamels [_electrorum operositate_] or of niello [_nigellum_], all that
Arabia has to show of works ductile, fusible, or chased, all the many
vases and sculptured gems and ivory that Italy adorns with gold, all
that France prizes in costly variety of windows, all that in gold,
silver, copper and iron or in subtle working of wood and stone is
extolled by inventive [_sollers_] Germany.’ We are here in a healthy
northern atmosphere, far removed from the shuffling statements and
ambiguous formulas of the oriental alchemists.[88]

The second book of the _Schedula_ is concerned exclusively with glass,
but most of the thirty-one sections deal with the preparation of
stained glass for windows. In a curious passage to be found in the
prologue of this book, Theophilus tells us that he has ‘approached the
atrium of the Holy Wisdom [_Agiæ Sophiæ_] and beheld the _cellula_
adorned with every variety of divers colours, showing the nature and
use of each.’[89]

The first chapter treats of the construction of the glass furnace, and
enters at once into practical details. A German writer (A. Friedrich,
_Alt-Deutsche Gläser_) has illustrated the furnaces of Theophilus by
means of a diagram, and attempts to show how they differ from those
described by the pseudo-Heraclius. All we can say is, that while the
furnace of the later writer consisted distinctly of three parts—the
main furnace with the glass pots in the centre, the fritting oven on
one side, and the annealing oven on the other—in the earlier type of
Theophilus there is no separate building for the fritting, which, it
would seem, was done on the roof of the main furnace. In both cases the
ovens form a compact group, heated by one fire. In the earlier furnace
there were as many as eight pots, with corresponding openings, but
these pots were probably much smaller than those of the
thirteenth-century oven.

We must now turn to the materials from which, according to Theophilus,
the glass was prepared. Beechwood logs are dried and burned, and the
ashes are carefully collected so as to be free from earth. Two parts of
these ashes are mixed with one part of clean sand.[90] The mixture is
roasted on an upper hearth and stirred with an iron trowel, so that it
may not liquefy, for the space of a night and day. Note here that the
ashes of the beechwood are used directly without any previous
lixiviation; such ashes would contain, besides some alumina, more or
less lime and silica, and these substances would pass into the glass.
The glass pots are conical in form, curved inwards round the mouth, and
they have a small lip. They are filled with the frit in the evening,
and for the whole night a fire of dried logs is kept burning.

There follows what is probably our earliest account of the process by
which the gathering on the blowing-iron is converted either into a
sheet of glass or into a hollow glass vessel. In the first case the
_fistula_ or blowing-iron is dipped into the molten metal and turned
round so that a mass of glass gathers on it. You blow gently through
the tube, beating the glass at times against a flat stone that stands
by the furnace.[91] You heat again the end of the long vesicle of
glass, and with a piece of wood open out the aperture which now appears
at the extremity to the full width of the glass tube. We have here a
somewhat primitive method of forming a cylindrical _manchon_. The
cylinder is now reheated in what is apparently a separate oven—the
dilating oven; it is slit lengthways and opened out with an iron
forceps and a piece of wood. When the glass has been smoothed out into
sheets it is taken to the annealing oven, where the sheets are ranged
on end against the wall and gradually cooled. It is somewhat of a
surprise to find this ‘cylinder process’ for making a sheet of glass
described by Theophilus, while not a word is said of the older process
of ‘flashing’ or ‘spinning.’ There is some reason to believe that the
knowledge of the former process was never lost in Germany. It was,
however, only in the seventeenth or eighteenth century that the
preparation of crown glass by means of cylinders came into general use
in other parts of Europe.

Theophilus proceeds in the tenth section to describe how a vase of
glass is prepared, and we have here again our earliest description of
the process by which the gathering on the blowing-iron is manipulated
so as this time to become a hollow vessel. In this case, he tells us,
after blowing out your gathering of glass, instead of making an opening
at the further end as in the case of the preparation of cylinders, you
separate the bulb from the rod with a stick of moistened wood, and make
the rod adhere to the lower end of the glass.[92] After reheating the
glass, you now, with a piece of wood, widen and shape as you desire the
opening where the tube was first attached. The foot is then shaped and
hollowed. (If this foot is to be regarded as a separate piece, it is
not quite clear how it is attached to the vessel.) The handles are
fastened on by means of a string of glass taken from the pot with a
slender rod of iron, and by similar means the surface may finally be
decorated with threadings of glass. Theophilus then describes how a
simple flask with a long neck may be prepared by swinging the bulb over
your head, and then, as it cools, letting it hang down from the end of
the tube; the vessel is then separated by a piece of moist wood; in
this case no second rod is needed. No mention is made of the use of
shears for cutting the semi-molten glass; they are replaced in a
measure by shaping tools of wood.

In the twelfth section we are told of the remains of glass mosaics of
various colours found in old pagan buildings, and how from these little
cubes enamels are made to be set in gold, silver, and copper. In like
manner it is by means of fragments of divers little vessels
(_vascula_)—sapphire, purple, or green—that the French colour the
costly glass so admired in their windows. This is a statement of no
little interest.

Section xiii. treats of the manner in which the Greeks decorate the
glass cups made from ‘sapphire stones’ with gold and silver leaf,
covering the foil with a layer of very fusible colourless enamel. The
passage is obscure, and I can only say in passing that I do not think
that the process described can be identified with that adopted by the
makers of the Roman cemetery glass. In the next section is described
the Greek method of decorating glass vessels with the same
colours—green, red, and white—that are used in the cloisonné enamels
(_electra_). With these colours laid on pretty thickly, as well as with
a preparation of gold, ground in a mill, they paint birds and beasts or
little rosettes and knots in circles.[93] The Greeks make also bowls of
purple and light blue, and flasks with longish necks, twisting around
them threads of white glass, of which too the handles are made.

It may be inferred from these two sections that Theophilus probably
regarded all the artistically coloured and enamelled vessels of his
time as of Byzantine origin. He knows nothing about the constituents of
the fusible enamels. The pseudo-Heraclius, on the other hand, has a
chapter (viii.) telling how glass is made from lead (calcined
previously to a powder) and how such glass is coloured. In another
section the same writer refers to the ‘_plumbeum vitrum Judæum
scilicet_,’ which is ground on a slab and used as an enamel to paint on

Most of the remaining sections of Theophilus’s second book are
concerned with the preparation of coloured glass for windows, but the
last of all, ‘_On Rings_,’[94] describes carefully a method of making
articles of _verroterie_ with a small furnace and little crucibles.
Lead is here mentioned casually as a constituent of the glass, and
this, I think, is the only reference to this substance to be found in
Theophilus’s chapter on glass. Here as elsewhere we may note that the
word _sapphirus_ is used as the equivalent of a blue glass paste
(coloured probably by cobalt), and that it is referred to as a material
that is at hand already prepared. Such cakes or slabs appear to have
been an article of commerce from a period of remote antiquity.
Something not unlike them has been found in Babylonian excavations (p.
40). Similar cakes of coloured glass are still exported to China from
the Bohemian glassworks.

                              CHAPTER VIII


One of the chief glories of the later Middle Ages in Western Europe is
undoubtedly to be found in the stained glass windows of the churches.
Theophilus early in the twelfth century had already made himself master
of this art, which he regarded as essentially a French one. The
preparation of these _vitraux_ involved a knowledge of the process
either of spinning the molten _paraison_ or of opening out the cylinder
of glass, both comparatively late developments of the art of
glass-blowing. In the staining of the glass we know from extant
specimens what splendid results were obtained.

The composition of the window-glass of the thirteenth century is in
some ways remarkable. It contained as much as from 8 to 10 per cent. of
alumina, which we must regard as replacing in a measure the silica, for
this constituent falls to as low as 56 per cent., and we can hardly
otherwise account for the high percentage of the other bases—14 per
cent. of lime, 17 per cent. of potash, and often 3 or 4 per cent. of
iron. The result was a tough, somewhat horny glass, hard to work in
consequence of the short duration of the viscous stage during the
cooling. This was one reason for the smallness of the gatherings, and
the modest dimensions of the resultant discs. On the other hand, such
glass resists the action of the atmosphere better than any made
nowadays, and the large amount of potash present probably promoted the
brilliancy of the colours. From the earliest times the blue colouring
was given by cobalt, and this was never of a richer and purer tint than
in the twelfth century; already in the thirteenth copper was added to
correct a tendency to purple. The famous ruby red, which became rarer
after the thirteenth century until in the seventeenth the secret was
entirely lost, was produced by the partial reduction of a small
quantity of suboxide of copper, but in this case the colour is only
developed on reheating the glass. The more purplish tint given by a
somewhat similar treatment with gold was not known to the mediæval
glass-maker.[95] Manganese was of course the source of the purple—the
colour was used for flesh-tints in the twelfth century! The green was
made by a mixture of the _æs ustum_ or copper scale with a native oxide
of iron, the latter often known as _ferretto_—of this the best came
from Spain. Finally, the yellow was given either by the sesqui-oxide of
iron kept well oxidised by the presence of bin-oxide of manganese, or
(where the surroundings favoured a reducing action) by a mixture of
sulphur and some sooty material which probably yielded an alkaline
sulphide. But in the older glass the yellow colour was never very
brilliant; at a later time a fine yellow was obtained by a cementation
process from silver, which was applied as a chloride or a sulphide to
the surface of the glass.

If I trespass beyond my limits to give this rapid summary of what is
known of the colours of mediæval window-glass, it is because much of it
will be found applicable to the contemporary Oriental enamelled ware
and to the later Venetian glass.

In view of the high technical skill thus shown in the colouring and
working of the material, nothing is more remarkable than the almost
total absence from our collections of any glass, using that word in the
narrower sense, that we can classify as Gothic. We know, indeed, that
during these centuries much glass was made in France, Germany, and
Italy. But for one reason or another the material was not in favour for
objects that had any claim to be regarded as works of art. And yet
during all this time the few rare specimens of sculptured glass brought
from Constantinople, or of enamelled glass from Egypt and Damascus,
were highly prized, and it might well be thought that the skill and
knowledge to rival these examples were not wanting in the West. Such
was not the case, however; the monasteries had ceased to be centres of
practical art industry,[96] and the glass-makers had retired from the
towns to the depths of the forests, where under the patronage of the
local _seigneur_ they built their glass-houses, moving on from one spot
to another as the fuel became scarce.

On the condition of delivering yearly to their feudal lord a specified
number of vessels, these glass masters appear to have been freed from
further imposts, and indeed they soon began to claim special
privileges. In France some of these grants or contracts have been
preserved in local archives, and in them we have a source of
information lacking in other Western countries. Perhaps the most
significant of these patents is that granted in 1338 to a certain
Guionet. The Dauphin of the Viennois conceded to this _maître de
verrerie_ the right of taking wood when it suited him from parts of the
forest of Chamborant, on condition that the said Guionet should furnish
him yearly, for the use of the prince’s household, with the following
pieces of glass:—240 beakers with feet, known as _hanaps_; 144
_amphoræ_, 432 _urinalia_, 144 large basins, 72 plates, 72 plates
without borders, 144 pots, 144 water vessels, 60 _gottefles_, 12
salt-cellars, 240 lamps, 72 chandeliers, 12 large cups, 12 small
_barils_, 6 large vessels for transporting wine, and one _nef_. This
was certainly an ample yearly supply even for a princely household. The
practical, not to say homely, nature of most of the objects
requisitioned is obvious. The _gottefle_, we should add, has been
thought to correspond with the later German _gutraf_; it was in that
case a vase with a long twisted neck, sometimes double, like a Persian
sprinkler; it was perhaps used for oil.[97] The _nef_, no doubt, was an
imitation in glass of the well-known centre-pieces of silver in the
form of a ship. The little _baril_ is a form handed down from Roman
times. In Provence, as early as the year 1316, we find mention in the
inventory of the property of the Countess Mahaut D’Artois of ‘_Grant
planté de pots de voirre et de voirres d’Aubigny et de Provence et
d’autres païs et de diverses couleurs et bocaux et bariz_’ (Hartshorne,
p. 88).

We see by this how little ground there is for giving the credit of the
introduction of the manufacture of glass into France to King René. We
shall find, however, later on, that this great patron of the arts was
one of the earliest to take an interest in the Venetian glass of the
early renaissance, and to bring the Italian workmen into France.

The word _verre_, or in the earlier form _voirre_ or _vouarre_, was
used vaguely in France even in mediæval times for any cup from which
wine was drunk. This usage alone might be brought forward as a proof of
the general prevalence of glass vessels at an early time. Modern French
writers on glass cannot always escape the awkward expression ‘_un verre
de verre_.’ In England, where the use of the word glass in this sense
probably came in somewhat later, we find more than once in inventories
of the fourteenth century the quaint combination, ‘_un verre de
glass_.’ In France, however, the more frequent expression was ‘_un
verre de fougère_,’ literally ‘a glass of bracken,’ and we have here a
double metonymy. This association of bracken and glass may be
frequently noticed in the old French writers.

Long after the introduction of the _cristallo_ from Italy, there were
many in France who preferred to drink from the old greenish glass; like
the Germans of to-day, they declared that the wine tasted better. Even
Boileau, late in the seventeenth century, talks of a man holding ‘_un
verre de vin qui rit dans la fougère_.’

We see then what an important place bracken, _feucheria ad faciendum
vitrum_, played in the old glass-works of France. Now glass made from
fern-ashes must of necessity be of a very inferior quality, more so
probably than that made from the beechwood ashes used from of old in
Germany. The passage to the new methods would here be much more
revolutionary than in the case of the latter country. This
consideration may help to explain the fact that while the manufacture
of potash glass survived and adapted itself to the new methods in
Germany, it became in time quite extinct in France.

The chronicles and romances of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and
fifteenth centuries have been carefully searched by French scholars to
find references to glass. Some ambiguity arises from the vague use of
the word _verre_, to which I have already referred. But when Joinville
tells us how the Comte d’Eu, in a moment of expansion, ‘_dressait sa
bible le long de nostre table et nous brissoit nos pots et nos
vouerres_,’ we can probably accept the latter vessels as _verres de





In the royal inventories of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
above all in those of Charles V. and of his brothers the Dukes of
Anjou, Berry, and Burgundy, where there is any mention of vessels of
glass, it is almost without exception of _verre de Damas_ or of _verre
à la façon de Damas_ that we hear. Quite an exception is the _goblet de
voirre blanc de Flandre, garny d’argent_, that we find in an inventory
of the possessions of Charles V., taken in 1379. Notwithstanding this,
it is evident that the French kings at this time took much interest in
the manufacture of glass. When hunting in the forests around Paris,
they would turn aside to visit the furnace of one of these local makers
of _verre de fougère_ who already claimed the privileges of gentlemen.
Thus early in the reign of Charles VI. we find an entry of a payment
‘_pour don fait par lui aux voirriers, près de la forest de Chevreuse,
où le roy estait alez veoir faire les voirres_.’ This was at the
beginning of the fifteenth century; later on, as we shall see, both
King René and Louis XI. were patrons of the glass-makers; and yet it is
doubtful if we have in our collections any examples of French glass
which can be attributed to as early a period as the reign even of the
latter king.





Of glass made in Germany before, say, the end of the fifteenth century,
we know even less than of the contemporary production in France.
Theophilus, it is true, tells us of the manufacture of sheets of glass
from cylindrical _manchons_, and this was probably until the
seventeenth century a specially German process; he describes, too, the
manufacture of blown glass of simple forms. But from his time, or at
least from the time of the pseudo-Heraclius a little later, to that of
Georg Agricola in the sixteenth century, when we find the glass
industry taking an important place in many parts of Germany, there is
little direct evidence on the subject to bring forward.[98] Apart,
however, from a few insignificant little bottles, used as reliquaries
(Plates XX. and XXI.), nothing survives from this time. On the other
hand, when in the fifteenth century we come again upon evidences of
contemporary glass in Germany and Holland, as above all in the pictures
of the early Netherlandish and of the Cologne schools, we find a
distinct form of goblet already established, the prototype, it would
seem, of a famous shape that was able to hold its own at the time of
the invasion of Italian glass in the sixteenth century. There is
nothing in France, still less in England, corresponding to the _römer_
and its various kindred forms.

In one application of glass the Germans appear early to have acquired
some skill. We may perhaps regard the thirteenth century as the time
when the use of glass for mirrors of any size first became general;
this may account for the frequent references to them in the literature
of the time. As far back as 1250, the great Dominican encyclopædist,
Vincent de Beauvais, states that the best mirrors are made from glass
and lead (_ex vitro et plumbo_). A _spiegel-glas_ is mentioned by a
German writer as early as the end of the twelfth century, and by the
end of the next century the mirror provided a frequent metaphor for the
poets of the time. Thus Dante, in two passages in the _Divina
Commedia_, speaks of ‘a leaded mirror.’ In the _Paradiso_ (ii. 89)
Beatrice declares that the rays of the sun are reflected from the moon—

                        ‘_Come color torna per vetro
                Lo qual diretro a sè piombo nasconde_’;

and in the twenty-third book of the _Inferno_ (25-26) Virgil says to
the poet, ‘_S’io fossi d’impiombato vetro_—I should not more quickly
receive your image than now my mind receives your thoughts.’ This
double reference would seem to point to a recent discovery that had
attracted Dante’s attention.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries it would appear that
although the German mirror-makers had to import the clear crystalline
‘metal’ from Venice, the Venetians attempted in vain to make mirrors on
the German system. The difficulty, perhaps, was to prepare flat and
even sheets of glass of any size, and this difficulty the Germans may
have surmounted by means of the cylinder process described by

The Nuremberg mirrors, however, so famous at a later time, were of a
different type. They were of spherical outline, cut directly from the
_paraison_ of the glass-blower; into this _paraison_ a mixture of
‘_piombo, stagno, marchesita d’argento e tartaro_’ had been introduced
before the vesicle was quite cool—so at least a contemporary Italian
writer asserts. Such mirrors were set in painted wooden frames with
broad margins. An example of one of these may perhaps be seen in Jan
van Eyck’s famous interior in the National Gallery.

If now we turn to England, the record is even more meagre. Mr.
Hartshorne, who has industriously brought together every reference he
could find to glass[99] in this country during the Middle Ages, is fain
to confess that he cannot point to a single example of what is
undoubtedly English glass made between the Norman Conquest and the time
of our Tudor kings. References to its use in contemporary writers are
much rarer than in France. The _cuppa vitrea_, which in 1244 Henry III.
sent to his goldsmith, Edward of Westminster, directing him to remove
the glass foot, to replace it by one of silver, and to mount the whole
in silver-gilt, was probably of Oriental origin; nor can we even claim
for certain as English the two humbler vessels belonging at a later
time to his son, Edward I.[100]

As to the three ‘verrers’ of Colchester who paid taxes about the year
1300, the distinction between _vitrier_ and _verrier_ does not seem to
have been as sharp then as it is now; they may well have been makers of
glass windows. It is more significant to find in Henry III.’s day a
Laurence Vitrearius holding land at Chiddingfold in Surrey, still in
the time of Elizabeth a centre for the manufacture of the native glass
made of fern-ash and sand. Again, William le Verir of the same place is
mentioned in a deed of 1301. But perhaps the strongest case is that of
John Glasewrythe of Staffordshire, who in 1380 had a grant of house and
land at Shuerwode, Kirdford,[101] and there made ‘brodeglass and
vessel’—that is to say, window-glass and hollow ware (Nesbitt, _South
Kensington Catalogue_, and Hartshorne, p. 132, etc.).

I reserve what I have to say of the mediæval glass of Italy—of the
early Altarists and Muranists—until I have described the enamelled
Saracenic glass which in some measure influenced it.

But before turning again to the East, I must not omit to mention
certain applications of glass that found favour in Western Europe
during the later Middle Ages; indeed, apart from the coloured windows,
such objects constitute the only _genre_ of glass that can distinctly
be classed as Gothic. I group together here various devices by means of
which a design or pattern was applied to the back of a small sheet of
glass—in gold for the most part, but other colours were sometimes
used. The plaque thus decorated was either fixed into a piece of
furniture, or simply backed with some impervious material. In this
somewhat indefinite group is included, on the one hand, what is in fact
a kind of thin mosaic; on the other, something that passed into the
variety of painted glass known in later times as _verre églomisé_. What
distinguishes all this class of decoration is that neither the colour
nor the backing is fixed by any furnace process—it is scarcely to be
regarded as an _art du feu_, and thus lies somewhat outside our subject.

Of the so-called Cosmati mosaics, where the little triangular pieces of
glass are inlaid in marble or wood, we have a good example in the
thirteenth-century shrine of the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. At the
same period a more elaborate means of decoration was obtained by
painting the backs of little plaques of glass with gold and colours,
and fixing them on the panels of pulpits, on the frames of the painted
reredos, or even on secular furniture. I have seen examples of church
furniture thus decorated at Aachen and in the Norman churches of
Southern Italy—a pulpit at Bitonto in Apulia is a remarkable example.
But we need not go far to find a still finer specimen of such work: the
Gothic framework of the _retabulum_ that formerly was placed in front
of the high altar in Westminster Abbey[102] is decorated with bosses of
glass paste cut or cast _en cabochon_, with casts of antique gems, and,
above all, with little plaques of blue and purple glass backed with
silver foil. On the upper surface of these glass plaques a design in
gold, consisting of small medallions with animals and twining branches,
stands out in low relief. The pattern, says Viollet-Le Duc
(_Dictionnaire du Mobilier français_, i. 338), was first painted on the
glass with a mixture of red ochre, wax and turpentine, and over this,
before it was dry, gold leaf was laid, the gold adhering only to the
soft ground. The effect of this external decoration is heightened by
the shadow which it throws upon the silver foil beneath.

In other examples, the pattern is painted in various colours under the
glass, and a leaf of gold, pasted beneath the more or less transparent
pigments, shows through here and there. In all these instances the
crude colour of the gold is lowered in places by coatings of varnish.

But plates of glass, somewhat similarly decorated, may play an even
more important part in the decoration of the backs of altars,
especially on the spandrels in the lower arcades of the reredos. The
decoration now becomes pictorial, and is often most carefully executed.
Or, again, such a little glass picture may be detached and mounted in a
frame to form a pax or _baiser-de-paix_, a _bijou_ reliquary, or other
small devotional object. In such cases the gold is applied to the back
of the glass by weak gum, and the design traced with a pointed
instrument somewhat in the manner of the catacomb glasses. The effect
may be heightened in various ways by additional touches of pigment on
the draperies, or by a glazing of colour for the flesh-tints; the
colours are worked up with a resinous body, and silver foil in little
plates and spangles is added in places; finally, over the back is laid
a piece of tinfoil, and this is folded over the edges (M. Alfred André,
quoted by M. Molinier, _Spitzer Catalogue_, vol. iii. p. 54). The back
of the plate is generally found to be protected by a kind of pitchy
varnish; to fix this some application of heat was doubtless necessary,
but in no case, I think, is the gold design in this late mediæval work
enclosed between pieces of glass which have been subsequently fused

We are here concerned only with the Gothic examples of this class of
work, and of these the majority appear to come from the north of
Italy—they are probably of Milanese or Venetian origin. There is often
in these early Italian plaques a coloured backing under the gold,
generally of a bright red, but sometimes of green or black, and this
backing shows through in places. In the case of a very beautiful
example formerly in the Spitzer collection, the design was drawn upon
the central portion of a plate of flashed glass; although this
medallion is only 5-1/2 inches in diameter, there is a distinct boss in
the centre. That such a defective piece should have been chosen for
this delicate work would go to prove the rarity of sheets of glass with
even surface at this time.

In later days more colour was used in the decoration, but such work as
the magnificent _baiser-de-paix_ in the Louvre, which came from the
chapel of the order of the St. Esprit, does not fall within our present
limit of time.

The late Marquis Emanuele D’Azeglio devoted himself to collecting
specimens of gilt and painted glass of all ages and countries. This
collection, unique of its kind, he bequeathed to his native town of
Turin, where it is now exhibited in the Museo Civico. In some of the
earlier pieces, especially on one of Byzantine character—perhaps
Muranese work of the end of the thirteenth century—the gold is laid
down upon glass of very irregular thickness. There are a few examples
of Gothic work of this character in the British Museum, at South
Kensington, and in the collection of Mr. Salting.

                               CHAPTER IX


I have here to deal with a singularly restricted family of glass—that
made in the Saracenic East during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and
fifteenth centuries. This enamelled glass is important for more than
one reason. It is undoubtedly, as a group, the most magnificent and
decorative that we meet with in the whole course of our history.
Technically, again, the interest of the group is supreme, for this
application of solid enamels, translucent or transparent, to the
surface of glass, was a new departure, and it preceded, as far as we
know, the use of any material of the kind in the decoration of
porcelain and fayence. The Romans and the Byzantine Greeks, it is true,
decorated their glass at times with thin washes of opaque paints, but
we have no definite proof that they ever applied fusible lead enamels
in this way.

There is every reason to believe that this method of decoration was not
in any general use in the East before the thirteenth century. But if we
are still quite in the dark as to the origin of the art, it may be some
consolation to remember that barely thirty years ago the few rare
pieces of Saracenic glass that had reached us were classed as Venetian.
It is only quite lately that this important ware has met with due

No doubt much of the sculptured and engraved glass, that we have for
convenience of arrangement dwelt upon in the last chapter, is of
Saracenic origin; I do not, however, remember any instance of an Arabic
inscription being found on such vessels, but on the deeply carved vases
of rock crystal that seem to have formed the models that these engraved
glasses closely followed, in more than one case tall cufic characters
form part of the decoration. I will only point to the magnificent
crystal vase which bears the name of an early Fatimi caliph (975-996
A.D.), preserved in the treasury of St. Mark’s.

Apart from that in daily use among the people, we may, however, look
upon the glass made during the first four or five centuries of Arab
domination as on the whole following in the wake of the carvings in
hard stone, above all in rock crystal, then so much in vogue. During
the whole of this period the Saracens had hardly developed any well
characterised art of their own: they followed in this, as in so many
other matters, the traditions of the countries in which they dwelt. At
this period their art was at best but a mingling of Byzantine and
Sassanian elements. But before the end of the twelfth century a great
change had come about, and during the course of the next century there
had arisen a definite style—one that has remained ever since the type
of what we know as Saracenic art. It would be impossible to dissociate
this change from that which took place in the West about the same time.
But the Gothic art that sprung up in the land of the Franks was but one
phase of a continuous evolution, while the wonderful outburst that had
in the main its centre in Cairo, became either locally stereotyped or
shared the decay and neglect that overtook other branches of Mussulman

So far as the art of glass is concerned, we may note in the thirteenth
century a strange contrast between the East and the West. For while in
both lands the material was applied essentially to supply a scheme of
colour in decoration, in the West its use was restricted to the stained
glass in the windows of churches; in the East the source of colour was
obtained from translucent enamels applied to the surface of glass lamps
and vases. The Saracens, in the stained glass of their windows, merely
followed in the old Byzantine lines; the pierced framework of plaster,
filled in with fragments of coloured glass, is but a development of the
marble _chassis_ of the Romans and the later Greeks. In the West, on
the other hand, the art of building up pictures by means of segments of
glass was rapidly developed, while the ‘hollow ware,’ the _verrerie_ in
daily use, had, as we have seen, received little attention, and it was
reserved to the few precious pieces of enamelled glass brought from the
Holy Land to find a place along with the plate and jewellery in the
inventories of princes.

The fabulous wealth accumulated by the Fatimi caliphs of Egypt
(908-1171 A.D.) became proverbial in later days. Makrisi, writing about
the year 1400, quotes from an older writer the description of the
treasure-house of the Khalifah Mustansir Billah. This building was
sacked and burned with all its contents during a military riot between
Turkish and Soudanese troops in 1062. Here among the vast accumulation
of Oriental wealth were, it is stated, many thousand vases of rock
crystal and others of sardonyx. We hear also at this time (but not in
the list of these treasures) of glass mirrors in filigree frames, and
of vessels of glass ornamented with figures and foliage. How the
decoration in this last case was given we are not told, but the
reference is probably to carvings in relief: at any rate it would, I
think, be an anachronism to look for enamelled glass in this connection.

There is, however, one application of glass that we can definitely
associate with these heretic caliphs, but this is scarcely an artistic
one. The little coin-like discs of glass stamped with an inscription in
Arabic had their prototypes in Roman times; a few rare examples have
been found with the heads of Roman emperors and letterings in Latin.
Among the Saracens these coin-like discs continued in use as late as
the fifteenth century. In all cases, I think, they come from Egypt. The
glass discs of the Fatimi period are, however, the most abundant and
these are of special interest, as they bear the name of the ruler,
while those of the later Memlook times have only private inscriptions.
The glass varies from an amber tone to a dark bottle-green, but many
are quite opaque and of a purplish black. As these little discs are of
uniform weights, corresponding to parts and multiples of the gold
_dinar_ and the silver _dirhem_, they were at one time regarded as
coins; they are now, however, recognised as weights, but essentially
weights for weighing coins. Indeed a contemporary Arab writer (985
A.D.) distinctly states that in his day in Egypt they used money
weights of glass; and an Arab traveller of the time mentions
incidentally that such weights have this advantage, that they cannot be
readily increased or decreased. The inscription occupies generally the
whole surface, but a few of them bear a rough design—a ‘seal of
Solomon’ or a rosette. Larger weights of glass are rare, but some of a
cylindrical form weighing more than a pound may be seen in the British
Museum. In Dr. Petrie’s Egyptian collection at University College is a
large mass of black glass with a solid ring handle, the whole some four
inches in height. This is probably a weight, but its date is uncertain.

On the whole, the art of the Fatimi caliphs who had their capital at
Cairo (Misr) was still under Byzantine influence. The change of style
that we have dwelt upon is rather to be associated with the Kurdish and
Turkish Emirs, who, ruling first in Upper Syria and Mesopotamia,
finally overwhelmed the effeminate and heretic Fatimi dynasty. To find
the country where the new style arose we must look not to Egypt, but to
the tract of land lying along the frontier of the Byzantine and
Sassanian empires, from Tabriz to the north, by Mosul to Bagdad and
Bassorah. The old Persian and Sassanian elements here doubtless
prevailed over the Byzantine tradition; but the word Persian must not
be applied to the new art, for the Turkish element was perhaps as
important as the Iranian. It was under the Memlook sultans, almost all
of them Turks by birth, that the great mosques that gave to mediæval
Cairo its special _cachet_ were erected. As for the artists themselves,
though a few may have come from the Persian borderland, they were, for
the most part, of the old stock of the land, and many were doubtless

In the towns of the Syrian coast, the change of mastership did not
interfere with the work of the glass furnaces. We have seen in the
Syriac manuscripts how fragments of Arabic are interlarded with the old
indigenous dialect in passages treating upon the manufacture of glass.
Around Hebron the manufacture of glass on primitive lines was carried
on through the Middle Ages: a German pilgrim of the fifteenth century
speaks of the many furnaces in which the ‘black glass’ was melted: the
industry is indeed even now not extinct. There is one form of early
Arab glass which we may perhaps associate with this centre. Certain
long nail-shaped bottles, square in section and pointed at the base,
have sometimes been classed with the old primitive glass of Egypt and
Phœnicia, on the ground probably of the ‘dragged’ decoration of white
on a black base found on some of them. But Franks was undoubtedly right
in attributing these elongated flasks—they are sometimes of
considerable size—to Saracenic times.[104]

William of Tyre says that the glass of his native town was exported to
all countries, and Benjamin of Tudela, the Spanish Rabbi, praises the
beauty of the glass vases there made. There were, he tells us, four
hundred Jewish glass-makers and shipowners in Tyre, and in other cities
of the coast the glass industry was in the hands of the Jews. This was
about the middle of the twelfth century. The Jews long before that time
had, it would seem, a monopoly of glass made with lead. It was to them,
then, that the first enamellers must have gone for their materials. An
Arab writer distinguishes among the exports from Sour (Tyre) both
objects of _verroterie_ and glass vessels worked on the wheel.[105] Of
the glass-works of Tripoli, one of the last towns held by the Franks, I
shall have something to say in a future chapter.

Just as in the case of the glass found in Egyptian and in early Greek
tombs, so now with the enamelled glass of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, we are once more brought face to face with the question as
to where it was made—in Syria or in Egypt. Syria was at this time
again under rulers who had their capital in Egypt; there are indeed few
important periods in Egyptian history when this has not been the case.
Alexandria, it is true, had fallen from its old position,[106] but it
is distinctly recorded that glass was made in the fourteenth century at
Mansourah, the recently founded ‘town of victory,’ above Damietta. At
many places in Upper Egypt, especially at Achmin, fragments, most of
them, but not all, to be referred to Saracenic times, have been found.
But on the whole the evidence for a Syrian origin for this enamelled
ware is much stronger,—I say the _origin_, because it is just in the
case of those rare pieces to which an early date can be ascribed that
we can be certain of an Asiatic _provenance_.

The enamelled glass of the Saracens forms, as I have said, a compact
group. The specimens that we have of it are all, or nearly all,
handsome pieces, worthy, apart from their archæological interest, of a
conspicuous place in our museums or on the shelves of the most
fastidious amateur. Their number is strictly limited—indeed Herr
Schmoranz has drawn up a careful list which claims to contain every
known example.[107] Thanks in great measure to the researches of this
expert, we are able now to make a rough general division of this glass
into two classes:—

1st. Vases, goblets, and basins of many forms, brought for the most
part from Syria. The bulk of the enamelled glass in this division
appears to date from the thirteenth century. Several famous pieces have
for centuries been preserved in the treasuries of Western churches. For
these it is claimed that they have been brought back from the Holy Land
by crusaders and pilgrims—filled, some of them, with earth taken from
Bethlehem or other holy spots.

2nd. Lamps, obtained almost without exception from mosques in Cairo.
These lamps belong, as a class, to the fourteenth century. Only of
recent years has much attention been given to them; they were almost
unknown to the older collectors.[108] The supply appears, however, to
be already exhausted. The decoration on these lamps is on the whole
more broadly treated, with less detail and finish, than that found on
the vases and goblets of our first class.

The glass itself is in all cases remarkable for the number of minute
bubbles contained in it; in some of the lamps these bubbles are so
numerous that the material is barely to be classed as transparent. In
colour the glass varies from a pronounced bottle-green to an amber
tint; it is more rarely of a greyish white. The size of many of the
lamps and bowls must have necessitated the use of large melting-pots as
well as considerable skill in blowing and manipulation. The irregular
form so often to be observed in both lamps and vases is more likely to
be the result of a partial collapse during the melting on of the
enamels, than of any defect in the original piece as it came from the
glass-blower’s hands.

In composition, to judge from the analysis of a fragment of a Cairene
lamp made by Dr. Linke of Vienna (Schmoranz, p. 42), this Saracenic
glass is essentially a normal soda-lime silicate with 69 per cent. of
silica, 15·4 per cent. of alkali, and 8·6 per cent. of lime, thus far
resembling the ordinary Roman type. The specimen examined, however,
contained in addition to the lime as much as 4 per cent. of magnesia.
As Dr. Linke points out, the presence of this last base would hinder
the complete fluidity of the glass in the pots and make it difficult to
get rid of the bubbles. But whether the presence of this earth in a
single specimen is in itself sufficient to prove the non-Egyptian
origin of these lamps as a class is another question. The fact that
nearly one per cent. of manganese was found in this glass is of
interest, as it shows that some attempt had been made to ‘cleanse’ the

As regards the enamels on this Saracenic glass, we find that, with one
important exception, they resemble generally in composition and
character those employed at a later date by the Chinese in the
decoration of their porcelain[109]—we have a readily fusible flux
containing much lead coloured by various metallic oxides. The opaque
red is given by oxide of iron, the green by oxide of copper, and the
yellow by antimonic acid. The presence of this last substance is of
interest: Dr. Percy found antimony in the glaze of Assyrian bricks, and
I have taken for granted that it is the source of the yellow in the
primitive glass of Egypt. The opaque colours, including the white, are
probably produced by the addition of a little oxide of tin to the flux;
Dr. Linke, however, does not seem to have found that metal in his

It is when we come to the blue, the dominant colour in this scheme of
decoration, that a surprise awaits us. This colour, we should almost
have taken for granted, would be derived from cobalt, for it is now
recognised that at this time the use of that substance in the painting
of earthenware (under the glaze) was prevalent in Western Asia. Dr.
Linke, however, declares ‘that even the most subtle re-agents failed to
discover any trace’ of either cobalt or copper in the blue enamel. For
the grounds upon which he was able to attribute the origin of this fine
blue to minute fragments of _lapis lazuli_, only partially dissolved in
the flux, we must refer to the German chemist’s report. Now as
ultramarine, the colouring matter of this mineral, contains a
considerable amount of sulphur, some of it in an unoxidised state, it
could not be used in combination with a flux containing lead, and
indeed an analysis of the blue enamel proved it to be essentially of
the same composition as the glass of the lamps; it contained, however,
as much as 24 per cent of alkali, and this excess would ensure a
slightly greater fusibility. It will be observed that the thick blue
enamel on this Saracenic glass has considerable translucency as seen by
transmitted light, but that the surface is always dull. In the British
Museum is an admirably executed imitation of one of these mosque lamps,
made as long ago as 1867 by M. Brocard of Paris. The blue, in this case
cobalt, differs little in hue from that on the old lamps that stand
beside it. It is, however, somewhat cruder in effect, and the surface
is quite glassy.[110]





I come now to the scheme of decoration of this Saracenic glass. The
important point to bear in mind is that the gold has for the most part
disappeared from the surface. This gilding, however, played originally
a most important part in the decoration. The fine lines of opaque red
now so prominent were originally drawn with a free hand upon a detailed
pattern of gold, with the object of accentuating the design. This gold
brocading, when it is preserved, is of great beauty, especially that
found upon the older pieces. Examine carefully the tall-necked bottle
in the Slade collection: the body is covered with a fine arabesque of
red lines, the pattern being made up of long-necked birds among
foliage, and this appears poor in effect compared with the bands of
rich enamel on the shoulder and neck. The effect, however, was very
different at first when these dull red lines were carried over a rich
ground of gold, of which traces only now remain here and there.

The gold, then, was applied first—at an early stage in the development
of this family of glass it was perhaps the only decoration; the outline
was then accentuated by means of red lines, and the coloured enamels
then laid on in thick masses. We cannot say whether the colours were
all melted on at one firing, for we know nothing in this case of the
practical arrangements of the muffle-stove. On the exquisitely
enamelled bottle from Würzburg in the British Museum (Plate XXII.),
perhaps technically the most superb specimen of this class of
decoration that has come down to us, the pinkish tint of the red and
the manner in which it is gradated into the white, call to mind the use
of the _rouge d’or_ on Chinese porcelain of the eighteenth century; the
green also of the conventional foliage is here shaded into the opaque
white. The blue ground of the central medallion is of a brilliant
turquoise, quite unapproached in other examples; the surface, however,
of this blue enamel is in this case glassy and quite unlike the dead
surface that we see on the mosque lamps. Are we to regard this opaque
turquoise enamel as also based upon _lapis lazuli_, or rather as a
soda-copper silicate?

As to the motives of the enamelled decoration—if figure subjects are
absent from the mosque lamps, they are of frequent occurrence on the
bottles and goblets: there we have polo-players and falconers mounted
on horses, yellow, pink, and white; seated figures drinking and
feasting or playing on musical instruments—always the same jovial,
round-faced type; in only one instance have I noticed an elderly man
with a beard. We sometimes find a frieze with dogs chasing stags and
hares, or it may be a row of conventional lions. Birds are still more
frequent—flying geese, as in the background of the hunting scenes, or
long-necked herons forming part of the ornamental design of the field.
Certain quaint little fishes with big heads and long fins, always of
the same form, are not uncommon on the vases and cups; they are
sometimes arranged herring-bone fashion; in one case, indeed, these
little fishes are found on a mosque lamp.

But the more conspicuous part of the decoration is formed by bands of
tall cufic[111] letters and by flowers, more or less schematised. Apart
from a fleur-de-lis, which occurs chiefly in medallions, the most
important flower is the Oriental lotus. This flower as it appears
relieved on a blue ground in the later mosque lamps is identical in
drawing with the lotus that we see so frequently in Indian and Chinese
art. It is often combined with what at first sight appears to be
another flower, treated _en rosette_, with an involucre of six oval and
six triangular petals, and an indication of a seed-vessel in the
centre; but this again may perhaps be only the same lotus-flower seen
full-face. In some cases, as on certain mosque lamps, these flowers,
broadly treated, form the sole decoration; but more often the floral
design passes into the formal schematised patterns so characteristic of
Arab art at this time.





The medallions that interrupt the broad bands are an essential part of
the decoration; they are filled sometimes with inscriptions, generally
in this case in the _nashki_ or running script, or more often with
certain badges, which are of much interest in connection with the
heraldry, if it can be so called, of the day. These badges are derived
from the most divergent sources: there is one simple design that
resembles the cartouche of an old Egyptian king—it has even been read
as ‘Lord of the Upper and Lower Country’ (a good example may be found
on a bottle at South Kensington). Another badge takes the form of a
strange bird with long tail-feathers, undoubtedly derived from the
imperial phœnix of China; any hesitation as to the origin of this
design is removed on observing in the field certain little curly
clouds, an essentially Chinese motive. A sword, a pair of polo-sticks,
or still more often a cup, charged upon a fesse or band which divides
the medallion, are badges of more local origin. The same may probably
be said of the eagle variously displayed, which in one example, in the
British Museum, occurs exceptionally upon an ovoid shield. In some
cases the Memlook sultans and emirs adopted ‘canting badges’ based upon
their Turki names; as, for example, the well-known duck of the Sultan
Kelaoun. The identification, however, of the owner, or the date of a
vase or lamp from these badges alone, is, in the absence of an
inscription, a somewhat hazardous proceeding.

It is a curious fact that we have only two instances of a signature of
an artist in all this series of enamelled glass. On a lamp from the
Mannheim collection, now, I think, belonging to Mr. Pierpont Morgan, an
inscription in running characters on the foot has been read: ‘Work of
the poor slave Ali, son of Mohammed Ar Ramaki (?), God protect him’
(Schmoranz, p. 67). It is the same Ali, apparently, who signs his name
on another lamp described by Artin Pasha.

I should say at once that these mosque lamps are more properly of the
nature of lanterns—the lamp itself was suspended inside them. I do not
know, however, of any example of these little internal lamps in our
European collections, unless it be one of gilt green glass now at South
Kensington (Plate XXIV. 2). This lamp, however, is somewhat large for
the position assigned to it, and it certainly resembles those sometimes
found in Coptic churches.

These large lamps or lanterns were suspended by chains from the roof or
from the arcades of the mosque. From the Sultan Hassan mosque alone
have come twenty-one glass lamps, now in the Arab Museum at Cairo, and
there are others from the same source in our home collections. The
effect in the mosque when these lamps were all lighted must have
rivalled the illumination of St. Sophia, described by Paul the
Silentiary (p. 97). We must not forget another essential part of the
Arab lamp: this is the little sphere from which the smaller chains that
pass to the handles of the lamp radiate. In private houses—for the
general arrangement is the same in them—this globe may be replaced by
an ostrich egg. In the mosques these spheres are of metal or of glass;
we have only two specimens of the latter material in European
collections—one of amber-yellow glass in the British Museum (Plate
XXVII. 2), a second, larger and ovoid in shape, at South Kensington.
There are three others, one of blue glass, in the Arab Museum at Cairo.

A similar method of suspending the lamps was in use in Byzantine
churches, and something of the sort may still be seen in St. Mark’s. In
the pictures of the Venetian painters of the later fifteenth
century—of Bellini, and Cima, and Carpaccio—the lamps, of a strictly
Oriental or Byzantine type, that hang from the niches that form the
background to their enthroned Madonnas, well illustrate this







It may be said generally of the Saracenic enamelled glass as of the
unadorned glass of the Byzantines that preceded it, that the lamp in
one shape or another is the master form—no longer the wine-cup, as
among the Romans. It would be an interesting study, were the thing
possible, to trace the steps by which the later arrangement of an outer
lantern of glass grew out of the simpler Byzantine or Sassanian
prototype. But it must be remembered that these gorgeous mosque lamps
or lanterns are quite a specialised form; they are only found, as far
as we know, in Egypt and Syria, and they belong essentially to the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The typical Oriental glass lamp is
of quite a different type—a little cup in the shape of a truncated
cone, from four to six inches in height. This is a form that is
generally in use in the East at the present day. Such a vessel
constitutes the essential part both of the street lanterns (the conical
cup in this case passes through an aperture in the base) and of the
coronas of lights by which the larger rooms are illuminated. In the
latter case the cups pass through apertures in a ring or disc of wood
or metal, which is itself suspended, often from an ostrich egg, in the
way already described.

The little vessels are filled halfway up with water, upon which the oil
floats; the wick passes up through a tube which is fixed at the bottom
in various ways. I have before me a cup of this description brought
from an old house in Cairo; it is of very thin, tough, greenish glass;
the ‘kick’ at the bottom is pushed deeply in and is open at the apex.
This opening has been sealed up with some hard pitchy substance, into
which the little glass tube (of later date apparently) that carries the
wick has been fixed. In another type of these cup or beaker lamps the
base ends in a blunt point which is prolonged by one or more knops, so
as to resemble the stem of a wine-glass without the foot.[113] This is
the form that, as I have already mentioned, is so often represented,
suspended from the roof in the altar-pieces of the Venetian painters.
Such lamps are generally elaborately mounted in metal.

But the other form, the truncated cone (the ‘spear-butt’ of Paul the
Silentiary), was in use in Italy at an earlier date. In the chapel of
the Arena at Padua is a careful wall-painting of an elaborate compound
corona or lantern built up with hoops of metal to resemble a large
bird-cage. The little lamps of plain glass fitted into this framework
are of two shapes; one resembles the truncated-cone cup just described,
while the other may be compared to a mosque lamp with the foot removed
and the body prolonged to a point. I do not know if this painting is
contemporary with the famous frescoes of Giotto that cover the adjacent
walls, but to judge from the Gothic framework that surrounds it, it
cannot well be later than the fourteenth century.

This conical cup, then, was widely employed in the later Middle Ages
for suspended lamps. It had quite replaced the balance-pan form of lamp
support of early Byzantine days, some specimens of which, preserved in
St. Mark’s treasury, we have already described: such pans, we should
add, probably supported little standing lamps, more or less of the
well-known classical form. But both these and the conical cups may
possibly at times have held candles, an essentially Oriental means of

We must now return to our enamelled glass, and consider a remarkable
series of little beakers very similar in size and outline to the lamps
of truncated conical form that we have been dwelling upon. Many of
these have now passed, from the treasuries of churches and convents in
which they had been long preserved, into various local museums. Round
more than one of them a legend has grown up—the very names by which
they are known are picturesque and suggestive—St. Hedwig’s beaker, the
glass of Charlemagne, the goblet of the Eight Priests, and nearer home
the famous Luck of Eden Hall. Such cups are to be found from the
confines of Poland to our own rude border country; indeed, the
enamelled beakers of this simple form have, for one reason or another,
been chiefly preserved in northern lands: of late years, however, a few
further examples have been brought from Syria and Egypt. No doubt the
general tradition that these cups have been carried back from the Holy
Land by crusaders and pilgrims is well founded. It is possible that
some of them may, like the carved glasses, have travelled by northern
routes rather than by the Mediterranean.

We see, it is true, a beaker of somewhat similar form in the hands of
the wine-bibbers, in the illustrations to the manuscripts of
contemporary poets, and even pictured on our enamelled glasses
themselves.[115] There is, however, one point to be noted in many of
the beakers in our collections, that makes it difficult to believe that
they have ever been actually used as wine-cups. I refer to the
remarkable construction of the base. This point had been overlooked by
previous writers on the subject, even by Schmoranz in his great work.
It was first pointed out by Mr. C. H. Read in a paper read before the
Society of Antiquaries (_Archæologia_, vol. lviii. p. 217). To use Mr.
Read’s words in speaking of one of these vessels: ‘The goblet is
provided with a foot-rim that has been separately made and fixed on the
base. The bottom of the vessel has been pushed up inwards, in the
fashion to be found in a champagne bottle, but it has a peculiar
feature in that the actual centre, the apex of the cone thus formed, is
reflected downwards, apparently leaving a small hole through the bottom
of the glass which is only closed by the fixing on of the added foot.
This feature appears to be common in these Oriental goblets, and as far
as my experience goes, is not found in any of European make.’ Such an
arrangement would surely have one practical disadvantage if the cup had
been used as a drinking-vessel—the liquid would lodge between the
false bottom and the foot, so that it would be almost impossible to
clean out the cup, and this is a point that would especially appeal to
a Mohammedan. On the other hand, this open ‘kick’ would be admirably
adapted to the introduction of a wick[116] if the vessel before the
soldering on of the ring at the base had been used as a lamp. I should
myself be inclined to think that the little cups in question, sold
perhaps by Jewish dealers at Aleppo or at one of the Syrian ports to
wandering pilgrims before their return from the Holy Land, were never
intended for any practical use. The peculiarity of the form may have
been a result of the prevailing use to which such vessels were put in
their own country, or at least a survival of such a use. I should add,
that for such a suggestion—it is nothing more—I am alone responsible.

                               CHAPTER X


I will now pass in review some of the more famous specimens of
Saracenic glass.

Of the ‘Goblet of the Eight Priests,’ now in the museum at Douai
(figured in Gerspach, p. 107), we have an earlier record than in other
cases. It was bequeathed by one Marguerite Mallet, early in the
fourteenth century, along with other property, for the endowment of
that number of chantry priests. The case of _cuir bouilli_ in which the
goblet is preserved is a remarkable specimen of the French art of that
time. The inscription on this cup is unfortunately now illegible.

For the ‘Glass of Charlemagne,’ which has passed from the treasury of
an abbey near Chartres to the museum of that town, it is claimed that
it was presented by Harun-ar-Rashid to the great Emperor. M. Schefer
many years ago made this cup the starting-point of a special memoir, in
which he collected a mass of information from Arab sources. This essay
may perhaps be regarded as the earliest example of any intelligent
interest in this class of Oriental glass.

The ‘Luck of Eden Hall,’ long preserved in the home of the Musgrave
family, has acquired a certain factitious celebrity from a legend that
has served as the theme of more than one ballad, none, however, of any
great antiquity.[117] Like the Douai cup, it is preserved in a leathern
case—in this instance not of earlier date than the beginning of the
fifteenth century. The ‘Luck’ is figured in Lysons’s _Magna Britannia_,
vol. iv.

These three goblets form a compact group. In all of them the decoration
is simple, consisting chiefly of interlaced bands or straps forming
geometrical patterns. There are no figures of men or animals, and the
colouring is for the most part confined to blue and gold. We may,
perhaps, attribute these glasses to the beginning rather than the end
of the thirteenth century.

Probably of as early a date is the goblet preserved at Breslau (there
is a photograph of it in Von Czihak’s _Schlesische Gläser_). Here there
is no ornament apart from some fine arabesques of gold. This cup has
long been associated with St. Hedwig, but it must not be confused with
other so-called ‘Hedwig glasses,’ which, as we have seen, are carved in
the manner of rock crystal.

I now come to a more elaborately enamelled group, in the decoration of
which the human figure plays an important part.

In the Grüne Gewölbe at Dresden are two beakers or _hanaps_ of this
class, set in rich silver-gilt mountings of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries. Round one of these cylindrical beakers runs a spirited
frieze, with polo-players, mounted on brown, white, and yellow horses;
above is a cufic inscription in gold on a blue ground (Plate XXV.). On
the other beaker, probably the earlier of the two, we see a group of
brilliantly clad turbaned figures seated by a flowing stream—the water
is naïvely rendered by a meandering line of blue enamel; the background
is formed by a flight of aquatic birds. On both these glasses, beside
the usual gamut of colours—gold, blue, red, green, yellow, and opaque
white—we find some mixed brownish tints.





Somewhat taller than these Dresden _hanaps_ is the beaker at
Wilhelmshöhe (it is some nine inches in height). The decoration—an _al
fresco_ wine-party with musicians—calls to mind one of the groups of
figures on the Würzburg flask. Somewhat similar is the beaker preserved
in the picture gallery at Cassel, but the enamels on this are
distinctly poorer.

A beautiful beaker of this class came to the British Museum with the
Waddesdon collection. It stands upon a French-Gothic mounting of the
fourteenth century. We see a prince seated on his throne, with
attendants on either side. The glass is colourless and clear, and among
the enamels a palish green, applied as a thin wash, should be

Since then another goblet of this class has been acquired by the
British Museum. This cup is said to have been dug up in the
neighbourhood of Aleppo. The glass is much decayed, in this forming an
exception to the other goblets of the class. The design includes two
conventional palm-trees, whose trunks are built up of a series of

On a goblet from Coptos, in the same collection, a number of little
fish in grisaille or dull red constitute the sole decoration. There is
a fragment of glass similarly decorated at South Kensington, which
came, I think, from Achmin. We find the same little fishes again on a
cup of glass, described as a _godet à l’huile_, lately added to the
Louvre collection.

These examples practically exhaust the list of the lamp-shaped goblets
of undoubted Oriental origin. But it would be impossible at this point
to pass over the absolutely unique cup from the Adrian Hope collection,
decorated with a seated figure of the Virgin. This goblet is now in the
British Museum, and it is there described as Venetian of the thirteenth
century (Plate I.). The glass, somewhat thick and slightly greenish in
hue, with a few drawn bubbles, in no way differs from that of the
beakers already described.[120] So of the shape and of the quality and
colours of the enamel. The slight ‘kick,’ however, at the base is
normal: that is to say, there is no aperture (see above, p. 159); the
cup, therefore, needs no rim or stand. As regards the decoration, we
find, in addition to the usual colours, an inscription in Gothic
lettering, now quite black, but originally executed in silver. I shall
return to this cup in the next chapter. I mention it here as I am
inclined to find for it an Oriental _provenance_.

I have dwelt at perhaps disproportionate length on this special type of
goblet. We have here, however, a group from a historical point of view,
of exceptional interest.

A small damaged goblet of cylindrical shape at South Kensington forms a
transition to the group of larger beakers. It bears a series of
medallions of blue enamel containing a curious design—a bird of prey
seizing a duck. The cylindrical goblets with projecting collars do not
present any special point for remark. There is some reason for
regarding the quaint little flasks, with narrow swelling necks, as an
early type. There are two of this class at South Kensington; in both
cases the glass is much decomposed. Better preserved is the little
bottle with the red eagle figured in Schmoranz (Plate vii.); the
evidence, however, for the early date (1217) given to it is not quite

It is not known at what time the large pilgrim’s bottle in the
Domschatz of St. Stephan at Vienna was brought from the Holy Land
(Schmoranz, Plate iv.). Much of the surface is left undecorated, and
the glass is whitened by the chalky earth with which it is still
filled. This earth is reputed to have come from Bethlehem, and to be
stained with the blood of the Holy Innocents. The main design of
musicians, seated beneath a conventional tree beside a stream
(represented by a blue meander), calls to mind the decoration of one of
the Dresden beakers. Near in style to this flask is the quaintly shaped
pilgrim’s bottle in the British Museum, that was long in the possession
of a noble family at Würzburg. I have already spoken of the superlative
quality of the enamel on this remarkable example of Saracenic glass.

In the cathedral at Vienna is another enamelled vase (Schmoranz, Plate
xiii.). This graceful amphora-shaped vessel follows exactly on the
lines of the water jars of earthenware still in use on the coasts of
the Mediterranean. The blood-stained earth that it once contained is
gone, but the seal of attestation remains—strong evidence that the
bottle was purchased at Bethlehem by the German pilgrim who brought it
home. The blue is of a poor greyish tint, and the enamels on the whole
low in tone, but the interlaced geometrical design is not the less

The little jug (Schmoranz, Pl. xxx.) now in the hands of one of the
Rothschild family in Paris, was purchased at the Hamilton sale for
£2730; in the catalogue it was described as a specimen of Venetian
glass! The enamels are brilliant and well preserved—polo-players,
mounted on horses of various colours, surround the body. A curious
feature is a collar of wood round the base of the neck, kept in place
by a series of claw-shaped projections.

The larger bottles with tall necks form a class by themselves; they are
often remarkable for the delicacy of the decoration. On the neck of a
tall and richly enamelled example in the museum at Vienna (Schmoranz,
Pls. vi. and vii.) we find a distinctly Chinese motive:—in addition to
the well-known phœnix may be seen a curious development of the cloud
pattern, in the shape of four many-coloured bars. There is a fine
example of these long-necked bottles at South Kensington and another in
the British Museum. The first is remarkable in combining on the same
piece motives from many sources—the Chinese phœnix, the so-called
Egyptian hieroglyph, together with birds and animals in many styles
(Plate XXIII.).

The bowls and dishes form a more miscellaneous group. These we may
regard as essentially ‘table ware.’ In Persian manuscripts—in the
illustrations to Hariri’s tales, for instance—we see such vessels
piled up with fruits and cakes.

The shallow plate belonging to Lord Rothschild is perhaps the oldest
example of this class in our collections. The medallions, skilfully
filled with groups of lions attacking deer and with other similar
subjects, are distinctly Byzantine, or some would say Sassanian, in

An interest of another kind may be found in a pair of dishes, one
bowl-shaped, the other in the form of a tazza mounted on a tall foot,
which have long stood side by side in the Cluny Museum at Paris. These
are undoubtedly specimens of enamelled Saracenic glass, both probably
dating from the fourteenth century, the bowl, however, somewhat earlier
than the tazza. This latter vessel is decorated with a gold arabesque
combined with the thick translucent blue enamel and the red lines so
characteristic of Saracenic glass. A label, however, still proclaims
this tazza to be ‘Style Arabo-Venitien, XV^{me} siècle.’ On the other
hand, no less an authority than Labarte (_Histoire des Arts
Industriels_, iv. p. 546), it is true as long ago as 1864, found in
this tazza an example of one of the processes of enamelling described
by Theophilus, and on this ground deliberately declared it to be a
Byzantine work. On the basis of a vague inscription found on the
companion piece—the deep bowl—a whole theory of the Egyptian or
Byzantine-Egyptian origin of this enamelled glass has been built up by
a German writer (Carl Friedrich, _Die Alt-Deutschen Gläser_).

There is in the British Museum a large deep bowl with a gigantic cufic
inscription in blue, overlaid with scrolls of white enamel. The
coarsely executed but effective decoration calls to mind that on some
of the Cairene mosque lamps. This bowl is known to have come from
Damietta, and it may perhaps supply an argument for those who find the
origin of some of the enamelled glass in the neighbouring town of
Mansourah, where glass-works are known to have existed (Lane-Poole,
_Arab Art_, p. 209).

We have finally a class of high-footed bowls with lids; of these,
unfortunately, no undamaged example is known; the nearest approach is
perhaps the bowl with a perfect lid but defective foot in the British
Museum. The decoration in this case is of great interest. The
medallions in the field, with fleurs-de-lis, Chinese phœnixes, and
quaint monster-sphinxes and griffins, should be especially noted.

                              MOSQUE LAMPS

I now come to the Mosque Lamps, and here a more numerous family has to
be dealt with. In those instances where the lamps can be traced back to
well-known buildings in Cairo, or again when they bear the names of
Memlook sultans or of great officers of their court, a date can
generally be assigned without much hesitation.

A small lamp in the Arab Museum at Cairo, decorated with red
lines—apart from this there are only a few jewel-like spots of
enamel—bears a dedication which may be referred to either the
beginning or the end of the thirteenth century; in either case this
lamp is probably the earliest known to us (Schmoranz, Pl. XV.). Next in
order come those bearing the name of the Sultan Malek Nasir (the
successor of Kalaoun), whose long reign extended (with some
interruptions) from 1293 to 1341. On these lamps the polychrome
decoration is already fully developed: along with them must be placed
those bearing the name of several of this sultan’s emirs. To the reign
of the Sultan Baybars II. (1309-1310)[121] probably belongs the
beautiful lamp of deep cobalt blue glass that Mr. Pierpont Morgan
obtained from the Mannheim collection. There is only one other example,
as far as I know, of enamelling on a dark blue ground,—a lamp of
nearly the same date formerly belonging to M. Goupil.[122] The only
specimen apparently in our English collections of a lamp of so early a
date is the beautifully enamelled example at South Kensington (Myers
bequest), the inscription on which probably refers to the same Baybars.

By far the greater number of these lamps date from the latter half of
the fourteenth century. We have seen that the famous mosque built by
Sultan Hassan (1347-61) has provided numerous examples to our
collections. In these we already find less delicacy and detail in the
decoration, but the broad and effective treatment is well suited to the
position in which these lamps were placed, suspended as they were from
the arcades of spacious mosques.

The period of decline that set in after this time is usually associated
with the advance of Timur (Tamerlane). When in the year 1400 Damascus
was taken by that ruthless conqueror, we are told that he transplanted
to his new capital of Samarkand whole regiments of skilled Syrian
artisans, and among these the glass-workers are definitely mentioned.
Others of these men may have fled to Egypt; in any case the art
lingered on in that country for another hundred years. According to
Schmoranz, the latest known example of this school of Oriental
enamelled glass is a lamp from the mosque of Kaït Bey (1467-1495), now
in the Arab Museum at Cairo. In this specimen we see the art in the
lowest stage of decay.[123]





The rise and fall of this great school of enamellers on glass covers
but a brief period—a glorious interlude in the long story of the
glass-workers of Egypt and Syria. In the latter country after this
time, they appear in a measure to have fallen back upon the older and
more primitive methods, handed down, perhaps, from the days of
Phœnician and Egyptian domination. I have already spoken more than once
of the still existing glass-works near Hebron on the high plateau to
the west of the Dead Sea.

There remain, however, to be mentioned one or two mosque lamps which
depart from the normal type.

In the lamp (now at South Kensington), apparently of green jade-like
glass, which was brought with so many others from Cairo by the late
Captain Myers, the effect is obtained by a wash of green translucent
enamel over the whole of the _inner_ surface. The outside is covered
with an effective but somewhat summary decoration in gold and red
lines, without further enamelling. The Sultan named in the laudatory
inscription may be either Sultan Hassan or his father Nasir.

Another exceptional lamp now in the museum at Cairo is well illustrated
in Schmoranz’s great work (Pl. xi.). This is a smallish lamp of green
cloudy glass; the whole of the body and neck, except a plain band at
the top, is worked into shallow, wavy ribs. It bears no enamel, but on
the surface there are traces of the gilding that formerly covered it:
this lamp came from a mosque built in 1363. At South Kensington are two
small lamps of colourless glass of somewhat abnormal form without
decoration of any kind.

I must finally mention the charming little lamp from the Myers
collection (now at South Kensington) which, it is stated, was found in
a Christian monastery in Syria (Plate XXXIV. 1). The thin clear glass,
with pearly patina, the graceful, vase-like form, and, above all, the
sparingly applied but quite exceptional decoration, in which the human
figure finds a place, distinguish this lamp from the ordinary Cairene
type. In this case the treatment of the figures, which, as I have said,
are never found on true mosque lamps, closely resembles that on the
inlaid metal-ware made at Mosul in the thirteenth century.[124]

And this carries us back to the question of the origin of this
enamelled glass, and we are brought face to face with quite a number of
interesting problems which can only be indicated here. That the
application of enamels to glass by the Saracens was prior to the use of
similar materials on porcelain by the Chinese, I have already
mentioned. It is, indeed, not impossible that this method of decoration
may have been suggested to the Chinese potters by specimens of the
Saracenic glass which, as we now know, found their way to China at an
early date. The use of enamels of very similar constitution on metals
had, however, been known in certain parts of Europe since the first
century of our era if not earlier, and the cloisonné enamels of the
Byzantines had long been famous. In this connection, too, we must not
forget the _vitrum plumbeum_ with which the Syrian Jews manufactured
artificial gems. It is to materials of this kind, true lead-fluxed
enamels, that we must look for the origin of the decoration on
Saracenic glass, rather than to the paint-like colours occasionally
used by the Romans and Byzantines.

We may safely associate the apparently sudden appearance of this richly
decorated enamelled glass with the change that came over the other arts
of the Saracens about this time, and Dr. Lane-Poole is probably right
in connecting this change with the rise of the Kurdish and Tartar
families who played so important a part in the history of the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries (_Art of the Saracens_, p. 127 _seq._).
Nur-ed-din, who ruled at Damascus and Aleppo in the twelfth century,
came from the stock of the Beni Zenky, who adorned their coinage with
figure subjects taken from both Byzantine and Persian sources. His
successor, the great Saladin, came of the Ayubi stock that had ruled in
Mesopotamia. Both families brought with them the traditions of
Sassanian art and a complete freedom from the religious scruples of the
earlier Semitic rulers. A little later the great Monghol invasion of
Genghis Khan, who founded a new dynasty in Persia, opened the way to
other influences, this time from the Far East. During all this period,
the civilisation of the Frankish West was fighting its way into
Palestine and Northern Syria. It would be difficult to find a parallel
case in history—a case, I mean, of as many exotic influences as were
now brought to bear upon Syria and Egypt, at work at the same time and
in the same country. In both lands one result was an outburst of
artistic splendour. This, in the first country, came to a premature end
with Timur’s devastating campaign. In Egypt this glorious period lasted
somewhat longer; but already in the fifteenth century the Memlook
sultans had returned to the stricter rule of the faith, and by the next
century, when after a period of turmoil Egypt fell under Turkish rule,
the short-lived art of enamelling on glass was already extinct.

How completely this was so we may learn from an interesting document
discovered some time since by the late M. Yriarte in the Venetian
archives—amid the inexhaustible store now preserved in the old convent
behind the Frari Church (_La Vie d’un Patricien de Venise au XVI^{me}
Siècle_, p. 147 _seq._). In the year 1569, Marc Antonio Barbaro—that
type of a Venetian noble, the liberal patron of artists and
writers—was ambassador at Constantinople. The document in question is
a despatch addressed by him to the Venetian senate; on it he has drawn
in outline two designs for lamps—one a somewhat depressed version of
our old mosque type, the other what M. Yriarte calls a ‘godet-lampe’ of
elongated form,—in fact, a version of our ‘spear-butt’ or cup-lamp
suitable for fitting into a wooden or metal frame. Barbaro urges the
senate to see to the execution at Murano, with the greatest care, of as
many as nine hundred pieces after these designs, for the demand came
from no less a person than the Grand Vizier himself. There is no
reference, in the order for these lamps, to any enamelling: those that
are not plain (_schietti_) are to be decorated in the Venetian way (_a

The old form was, however, kept up in those beautiful mosque lamps of
fayence, Rhodian or Damascan in style, of which we have a few rare
examples in our museums; these, I think, were made in the days of
Turkish rule, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

I shall return in a subsequent chapter to the later glass of the
Mohammedans—that of Persia and of India—glass that was for the most
part influenced by Venetian models, in part even made by Venetian
workmen: it would be hardly possible to treat of this glass before we
have said something of its European prototype. We know practically
nothing of any mediæval Saracenic glass other than the enamelled ware
of Syria and Egypt. The little bowl of amber-yellow glass in the
British Museum, enamelled with the figure of an angel, was considered
by Franks to be Persian ware of the fifteenth century (Plate XXVII. 1).
With it we may compare the already mentioned sphere from a lamp-chain
in the same collection which is of very similar glass. The decoration
of the first object is distinctly Persian, but its origin may be
sought, perhaps, in the Tabriz district or even further north in
Georgia, rather than in the more southern and eastern districts where,
under Venetian influence, a glass industry sprang up in later days.








A few fragments of glass have been brought from excavations made on the
site of the old city of Rhé, or Rhages, which was destroyed by Hulaku
Khan in 1250. But there is little to be found among these that has any
bearing upon the interesting question of a mediæval Persian glass
industry, nor do I think that the evidence of so early a date for all
these fragments is by any means conclusive. In the rubbish-heaps of
Fostat or Old Cairo, which, like those of Rhé, have yielded so many
interesting potsherds that throw light on the early history of pottery,
many pieces of glass have been found, among them some fragments of
bracelets. These are of two types, in one case of the primitive Hebron
character, in the other built up of twisted rods of _reticelli_
glass,—these last may undoubtedly be referred to Venice. For the rest,
these Fostat fragments point to a local manufacture of somewhat rough
glass of brilliant hues, but the enamelled glass of which we have
treated in this chapter is, as far as I have had opportunity of
judging, conspicuous by its absence.

                               CHAPTER XI


Before taking up the subject of Venetian glass, it will be well to say
something of another early Italian centre of the industry. It is only
of recent years that the important part played in the sixteenth century
by the glass-workers from L’Altare, in spreading the new methods
through France and the low countries, has been made manifest.

L’ALTARE is a little Ligurian town, situated a few miles to the north
of Savona. It belonged in the Middle Ages to the Marquis of Montferrat,
and the relation of that family both with France and with the East
should not be forgotten in this connection. According to the local
tradition, the glass industry was established as far back as the
eleventh century by a body of immigrants from Normandy, and a French
origin has been found for the names of the families employed in the
glass-works.[126] At a later date, probably in the fourteenth century,
other workmen came from Murano, so that when by the end of the
fifteenth century the skilled glass-workers of L’Altare began to seek
employment in foreign countries, they became the principal agency by
which the newer methods of the Venetians were introduced into Northern
Europe. These Altarists must indeed have been a thorn in the side of
their Muranese rivals, for, abandoning the stringent regulations by
which the Venetian government sought to hinder the emigration of their
glass-workers, at L’Altare the self-elected consuls of the craft farmed
out their men to foreign states and towns, receiving a substantial
payment in return.[127]

I do not know of any specimens of glass, either of mediæval or
renaissance date, that can be attributed with certainty to the town. At
the present day, however, L’Altare is an active centre of the glass
industry. Signor Bordoni gives a list of thirteen old families—he
himself belongs to one of them—who still carry on the craft. These
houses have agencies all over Northern Italy and even in South America.

Glass has been made at Venice, or more strictly at Murano, for at least
seven hundred years; but what we especially think of as Venetian
glass—the graceful vessels of endless variety of form, thin and
diaphanous, in which the skill of the glass-blower attains its most
complete expression—these were the produce of a comparatively short
period, of the sixteenth century above all. During the last fifty or
sixty years of the preceding century the Venetians in their enamelled
glass were able to give expression to the spirit of the quattro-cento,
but of the glass that was made before that time practically nothing is
known. After the end of the sixteenth, or at latest the middle of the
next century, the art enters into a period of gradual decline, which
continued until the partial revival of our own day. But before that
decline had set in, Venetian glass-workers had spread over Western
Europe, and had revolutionised the art of glass-making. The history of
modern glass begins with that of the Venetian _cristallo_ in the
sixteenth century.

It is to the Venetian archives that one must turn for information if
the attempt be made to trace the early history of the glass industry of
that city, and these archives have been explored by a succession of
native inquirers.[128]

For the earlier periods the negative evidence is of some importance.
There is no reference of any kind to the manufacture of glass before
the thirteenth century,[129] although by this time a great part of the
interior of St. Mark’s had been covered with mosaics. Like the enamels
of the Pala D’Oro, we may probably look upon the earlier Venetian
mosaics as of Byzantine origin. After the capture of Constantinople in
1204, the Venetians obtained a firmer grip upon the trade of the
Eastern Mediterranean. Their factories had long been established on the
coast of Syria. ‘When Sidon fell,’ says Mr. Horatio F. Brown, ‘the
Venetians received from Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, in return for their
assistance, a market-place, a district, and a church. This was in fact
the nucleus of a colony living under special treaty capitulations’
(_Cambridge Renaissance_, vol. i.). This happened early in the twelfth
century. I shall have something to say later on concerning the
relations of the Venetians with the Latin principalities of Northern
Syria towards the end of the next century, when the republic engaged to
pay the ‘_dhime_’ for the broken glass that they exported. It was
during this period, and under such influences, that the manufacture of
glass was established in the republic.[130]

Early in the thirteenth century there is evidence of the existence of a
guild of glass-blowers. In 1224, twenty-nine members of the _Ars
Friolaria_ were fined for breaking the rules of the trade. In 1268, the
chronicler Martius da Cavale tells us, the _maestri vitrai Muranesi_,
on the accession of the Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo, bore in procession
‘_ricche girlande di perle ... e guastade ed oricanni ed altrettali
vetrami gentili_’: water-bottles and scent-flasks and other such
graceful objects of glass.

In 1279 we hear of German pedlars at Venice—_Todeschi qui portant
vitra ad dorsum_—but each man was only permitted to carry off ten lire
worth of glass at a time.

Meantime, as in other mediæval towns, the question of allowing
dangerous trades to be carried on within the city bounds became a
pressing one at Venice. The newly constituted _Maggior Consiglio_—it
was soon after the famous _firmata_—issued a decree ‘_quod fornaces de
vitro in quibus laborantur laboraria vitrea_’ should be all destroyed
within the state and see of the Rivo Alto. But this apparently was
found to be too extreme a measure, for in the next year the decree was
modified so as to allow of the manufacture of small objects
(_Verixelli_—the French _verroterie_) in little furnaces (_fornelli_)
under certain conditions, and this modified regulation remained in
force until the eighteenth century. The privileged position of Murano,
which lay outside the see of Venice, was thus firmly established.

About this time, too, we hear of furnaces worked by expatriated
Venetians at Treviso, Ferrara, Padua, and Bologna, where factories had
been already established, sometimes under treaty with Venice. It will
be remembered that as yet the republic had no territory on the mainland
of Italy.

There have been some differences of opinion as to what kind of glass
was produced at this time in Venice—in the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, I mean. Without prejudging the question as to whether
anything in the nature of enamelled glass was yet known, we have
evidence for the following statements:—that the preparation of various
descriptions of beads constituted at that time, as indeed it has ever
since, the main staple of the industry; that in the second place, the
blowing of hollow ware for general use already gave occupation to a
separate guild of workmen; and that finally the members of both these
guilds, together with the makers of the _rui_—the little panes of
thick green glass (similar to our ‘bull’s eyes’) still to be seen in
the windows of many old palaces in Venice—were devoting themselves to
perfecting certain new discoveries. These related above all to the
manufacture of mirrors of glass, backed with lead, of which I have
already said something. Again, the making of lenses, the _oglarii di
vitro_ or _lapides ad legendum_, now became a distinct industry. It was
at this time (for instance in the year 1300) that we find the
_Cristallai di Cristallo di Rocca_ complaining of the competition of
the glass-makers. These carvers and polishers of rock crystal were
already established as an important guild in Venice; they looked upon
the glass-workers as intruders. On the other hand, the efforts of the
latter to imitate the nobler material had no doubt an important bearing
on the development of Venetian glass, for it was as a consequence of
their success in making an absolutely white transparent ‘metal’ that
the Venetian glass-makers first acquired a European fame. It was this
_cristallo di Venezia_ that revolutionised at a later time the glass of
Europe. At an early date, in spite of edicts forbidding its sale to the
_Todeschi_, the unworked material, _en masse_, found its way into
Germany, there to be worked up after remelting. Already in the
fourteenth century the water-power of Alpine streams had been applied
to the grinding and polishing of glass, as, for example, at Cortina
d’Ampezzo in the Italian Tyrol. The glass-makers at the same time, or a
little later, came into competition with the carvers of jasper and
agate, which stones they imitated by means of ingenious combinations of
coloured glass (_smalti_).




CIRCA 1300, A.D.]

So far there is no evidence that the newly developed art of enamelling
on glass had passed from the Syrian coast to the Lagoons. The Venetian
glass-makers were still working on other lines, and with other aims. In
view, however, of the close commercial intercourse of the Venetians
with the coast cities of Syria,[131] we may well imagine that some
attempts were made to imitate the brilliant enamels of the East. But
the successful handling of these colours was not a matter to be easily
learned. There were as yet no handbooks to teach the composition of the
coloured fluxes, to say nothing of the various devices and ‘wrinkles’
to be mastered before the enamels could be successfully applied to the
surface of the glass. In the Aldrevandini beaker in the British Museum
we may perhaps see an attempt to overcome these difficulties. The
‘metal’ itself is here quite of a Venetian type, thin and absolutely
white, although disfigured by the black specks so characteristic of
early Venetian glass. There is no trace of Oriental influence in the
decoration; the three heater-shaped shields have charges—keys,
antlers, and fesses—that have been traced back to certain Swabian
towns, but the inscription in Gothic letters—✠ MAGISTER ALDREVANDIN’
ME FECI—points to a Venetian origin. On the ground of the heraldry and
of the inscription, a date of about the year 1300 may be ascribed to
this goblet. The enamels, it should be noted, are of the poorest
description; all the well-known Saracenic colours are imitated, it is
true, but with a striking want of success.

Compare with this goblet the cup from the Hope collection that stands
near it in the Glass Room. The glass is thicker than in the last
example, it is of a slightly greenish tint, and contains a few
elongated bubbles. The decoration is in its way masterly: on either
side of a throne on which is seated the Virgin with the Child in her
lap, stands an angel holding a tall candle; beyond are the figures of
St. Peter and St. Paul. As to the style of the decoration, it is to my
mind distinctly Western; the figures might be taken from a French
missal of the thirteenth century. The _Arte Francisca_ was no doubt
coming into favour in Venice at this time, but even in the fourteenth
century it was regarded as something exotic, and I doubt if it was as
yet practised by Venetian craftsmen who, in the minor arts, long
adhered to Byzantine models. When we come to examine the technique of
the enamels, we are at once struck with their resemblance to those on
the Saracenic glass of the period. We have here the work of one who was
master of his craft; above all, the quality of the blue enamel should
be noted and compared with that on the Aldrevandini goblet.

I think, then, that both the glass and enamel of this cup are the work
of Syrian craftsmen, possibly working at Venice, but more probably at
the court of one of the Frankish princes who held fiefs in Syria during
the thirteenth century,—at that of Bohemond VI. possibly, prince of
Antioch and Count of Tripoli, or of his son Bohemond VII., who
celebrated his marriage with a noble lady from Champagne only a few
years before his expulsion by the Saracens. It was in 1277, under the
rule of the former, that the treaty was drawn up that contains the
often-quoted—and misquoted—words, ‘_Et si Venitien trait verre brizé
de la vile, il est tenuz de payer le dhime._’ What is more likely than
that such a goblet may have been made by some Jewish or perhaps
Christian glass-worker for a nobleman of this thoroughly French

Such an origin may help to account for the fact, otherwise somewhat
difficult to explain, that this goblet is a unique example of its
class. If the Venetians of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were
complete masters of the art of enamel, how comes it that no other
example of the art at all comparable in excellence to this glass has
come down to us? No one, I think, now believes in the Venetian origin
of the _hanap de voirre en façon de Damas_, of the glass vessels _de
l’ouvrage de Damas_, or _peintes à la morisque_ mentioned in the
inventories of the French princes of the fourteenth century. These were
evidently decorated in an Oriental style. We must also remember that
before the end of the thirteenth century the Christian rulers were
finally driven out of Syria; there was therefore only a brief period
during which such a goblet decorated with Christian motives could have
been made in the East.

When some century and a half later the Venetians began freely to
decorate their glass with enamels, we note an entire change both in the
colours and in the nature of the fluxes used. To this point I shall
return later on, but I may call attention here to the almost total
absence of Oriental influence in the designs found on the Venetian
enamelled glass of the fifteenth century. This is the more remarkable
when we remember that at this time as regards other arts—their inlaid
metal-ware and the stamped leather of their bookbindings, to give but
two instances—not only is this influence strong, but we know that
Oriental craftsmen were at work at Venice. I think that one simple
explanation may be given of this apparent anomaly, namely, that by the
time the Italians took to the practice of enamelling their glass, that
art was practically extinct in the East.

It was during the course of the fourteenth century apparently that the
glass-workers organised themselves into separate guilds or _arti_,
governed by the rules set out on the _Matricola_ or _Mariegola_. It is
from these _matricole_ that the little we know of the Venetian glass of
this time is derived.[133] The glass-workers now obtained many
important privileges, and the town of Murano was granted a considerable
measure of self-government; but it was not till the year 1445 that
these rights were fully established. Each _arte_ was governed by an
elected _guastoldo_, assisted by three superintendents, to whom it fell
among other duties to bring the petitions and complaints of the
glass-workers before the Great and the Lesser Council at Venice. Not
the least important duty of the _guastoldo_ and his lieutenants or
_compagni_ was the periodical selection of the proof-pieces—the
_prove_—to be made by the apprentices of the various _arti_ before
they could claim rank as masters. These tasks were inscribed in the
_Mariegole_, and from them Signor Cecchetti, in his often-quoted paper,
has extracted many examples. To give an instance: the _Maestri di
Rulli_ (_Rui_, small window-panes) had among other things to make ‘_due
occhi di bo_,’ an early instance of the term ‘bull’s eyes.’ But the
technical terms employed in most cases render the interpretation very
difficult. Some of the strange-shaped vases in our collections may not
improbably be examples of such proof-pieces.

After this time the working year—the period during which the furnaces
were kept constantly alight—was confined to nine months; this was
afterwards prolonged to forty-four weeks. There was, however, plenty of
work to do during the summer vacation, which ended on October 1, for
the furnaces had now to be repaired if not rebuilt.

The number of separate _arti_ or guilds appears to have varied, and it
was not till the fifteenth century perhaps that the divisions that were
maintained until the last days of the republic were finally
established. But at an early date the _fialai_ and _cristallai_ were
separated from the _specchiai_ or mirror-makers on the one hand, and on
the other from the _perlai_—the bead-makers, more especially the
makers of the ‘canes’ and pastes for beads; a fourth guild, too, was
already established for the _stazioneri_, or retail vendors of glass.
At a later date the _perlai_ were separated into two guilds, of which
one included the makers of _conterie_, the ordinary beads of commerce,
while the other comprised, besides the makers of the _canne_ for the
large beads, those who prepared enamels in cakes for exportation. When
we call to mind that, apart from these latter purely Muranese guilds,
whose members were chiefly concerned with the preparation of the
materials, the actual makers of the beads lived for the most part under
separate organisation at Venice, it will be evident what an important
part the bead industry has played in that city. The government probably
encouraged the subdivision of labour, which made it more difficult for
single workmen to establish glass-works in foreign countries.

In fact, the manufacture and export of beads have at all times formed
the very backbone of the Venetian glass industry. We cannot trace this
trade further back than the beginning of the fourteenth century—by
means, that is, of definite documentary evidence—but by that time a
fleet of galleys was yearly despatched, on the one hand to the Black
Sea, on the other to Flanders and the Thames; subsidiary centres for
distribution were established at the principal ports, and these beads
already form an important element in the cargo.

Unlike the larger articles of blown glass, the strings of beads were in
every way convenient articles of commerce, easily packed and easily
valued and counted. So much was this the case that the name
_conterie_[134] (compare our word ‘counters’) was early adopted as a
general term for the commoner kinds of beads.

Our English tongue is above all poor in words that can be used in the
description of works of art. For apt expressions with which to indicate
specialities of manufacture, varieties of shape or shades of colour,
recourse must continually be had, however unwillingly on the part of
the writer, to the French language. But in one case, at least, we have
our revenge. We possess in the word ‘bead’[135] a convenient term, of
which the exact equivalent, strangely enough, exists in no other
language. Nothing can be more inconvenient and more likely to lead to
misconception than the use of the word ‘pearl,’ or ‘false pearl,’ in
this general sense, and yet no term more definite has been found in
either the French or the German language. In Italian the use of the
term _conterie_ is confined to certain classes of beads. The only
fault, from our point of view, to be found with our English word is
that it may be applied to objects made of other materials than glass. A
term of very similar origin—‘paternosters’—was formerly employed for
a certain class of large beads in France and Italy, but the use of it
has never become general.

We have seen that towards the end of the thirteenth century the
_cristallai di cristallo di rocca_ fell foul of the glass-workers of
Murano, and induced the authorities to forbid the imitation of their
work in the inferior material. Not the least important of the
productions of these workers in rock crystal and other hard stones were
the beads for use in the rosaries (to use a word of later
introduction)—the _paternostri_.

We know, too, that some such prohibition as that referred to was
revoked in 1510; and the ground for this change of policy is found in
the fact that for some time the Germans had been in the habit of
carrying to their own country the ‘canes’[136] of glass, which they
there cut and polished to form _paternostri_. These beads, re-imported
into Venice, found their way ultimately to all parts of the world.

The Venetians, we must remember, at an early date, long before they had
acquired territory on the mainland, had established factories at
Treviso, at Belluno, and along the upper course of the river Piave. It
is probable that advantage was taken of the abundant water-power to
establish in these towns mills for the grinding and cutting of their
glass. This industry, forbidden for a time at Murano, may have been
carried on in a more or less clandestine manner.[137] It was through
this country, too, that the German traders passed, and a link between
the trans-Alpine and the Italian glass industries was thus early formed.

The starting-point in the manufacture of beads is a rod or cane of
glass: according as this cane is hollow or solid, the manufacture is
carried on by radically distinct methods.

In the case of the hollow cane or tube, we start from a ‘gathering’ at
the end of the blowing-iron; this gathering is slightly inflated to
form an incipient _paraison_, and a rod of iron is attached to the
further extremity. This rod is seized by a boy—the _tirador_—who runs
with it at full speed so as to elongate the glass as much as possible
before it has time to cool; the thin tube, or _canna_, thus formed may,
it is said, be as much as 150 feet in length. This tube, broken into
rods of convenient lengths, then passes into the hands of another set
of workmen, living for the most part in Venice. The rods are now
carefully sorted, as to size, by women—the _cernatrici_—and handed
over to the cutter, who, seated at a bench, cuts off equal lengths by
passing the rod between a blade or chisel held in the hand, and a
similar tool fixed in the bench, the size of the fragments being
regulated by means of the _scontro_, a semi-cylindrical block of steel.
If the object was to manufacture the little cylindrical bugles or
_jais_, the bead—if so it may be called—is now completed. But in the
case of a normal bead, the edges had now to be rounded. With this
object the aperture of the little tubes had first to be filled with
some infusible substance; this was done by rolling them in the hand
with a finely ground mixture of lime and charcoal. They were now placed
along with a quantity of sand in a tubular iron receptacle, which was
rotated over the furnace.[138] By this means the angular edges were
rounded off. The beads were then sifted from the sand and shaken up in
a bag to remove the material with which the tubes had been plugged;
finally they were sorted into various sizes by means of a sieve, and,
in the case of spherical beads, those of irregular shape were
eliminated by rolling them on an inclined table. It only remained for
the _lustratori_ to give them a final polish by shaking them up in a
sack with bran.

This was the process adopted for the smaller beads—the
_conterie_—which, before packing, were threaded on a string by girls.
The larger _perle_, such as the _perle a rosette_, or chevron beads, of
which I shall speak presently, had to be ground into shape on the
wheel. Any ornament or design that appears on these beads depended of
course upon the constitution of the original _canna_. This was often
built up of a succession of layers of various colours, obtained by
dipping the first gathering into one or more pots of coloured glass,
before drawing it out to form a tube.

Beads made by this process belong strictly to the class of _blown_
glass. The other system which we will now describe takes us back to the
old primitive methods of glass-working. In this case we start from a
_solid_ rod of glass, which is manipulated in the hand of the workman
somewhat like a stick of sealing-wax. Seated at a table, he melts the
extremity of the _canna_ in the flame, directed away from him by means
of a blow-pipe, and twists the thread of viscid glass around a small
rod of iron.[139] By this or similar methods, not only beads but
various small objects of _verroterie_ are formed. The surface of these
may be subsequently decorated by means of _appliqué_ studs and
stringings of various coloured glass, or again, the half-fused
substance may be pressed into little moulds. The spun-glass also, so
much admired a few years since, is made from rods of glass melted in
the flame of the table blow-pipe.

This is the process of the _suppialume_, in which the Venetian workmen
acquired such skill in later days. It cannot be traced further back
than the end of the fifteenth century, and its invention is associated
with a certain Andrea Vidaore. The guild of the _suppialumi_ was only
finally constituted in 1648. If this process was really only introduced
at so comparatively late a date, we have here a curious instance of a
reversion to an old technique, for it is impossible to overlook the
points of resemblance between it and the manner in which the ancient
Egyptians built up their beads.[140]

It must be noted that the practical difference between the beads made
by the _suppialumi_ and those formed from hollow tubes, is not one of
size. Large or small beads may be formed by either process. It is,
rather, that in the first case the ornament is superficial—it is
something added to the surface of the bead. On the other hand, in beads
made from hollow tubes, the design, though limited in variety, is
carried through the whole bead. This is a distinction much appreciated
by native connoisseurs in Central Africa and elsewhere.

Among the beads made from hollow tubes there is one type, generally of
commanding size, which may perhaps claim some attention. I refer to the
great Chevron Beads, the _Perle a rosette_ of the Italians, _à propos_
of the origin and date of which a not insignificant literature has
accumulated. I treat of them here, as in by far the larger number of
instances, if not in all cases, these beads can be undoubtedly
recognised as of Venetian manufacture. These chevron beads have been
made from canes built up of concentric layers of coloured glass. They
have attracted exceptional attention from the fact that examples have
been found in so many widely separated parts of the world, and from
their possessing, in some cases, apparently well founded claims to
great age. The arrangement and the succession of the colours in the
glass is in every case practically identical. The canes from which they
were formed have been built up of three main concentric layers,
externally a deep cobalt blue, then an opaque brick red, and in the
centre a tube of pale green transparent glass; these main layers are
divided by thinner ones of opaque white glass, and the dividing
surfaces have been worked into a series of chevrons or zig-zags (these
chevrons are in all cases, I think, twelve in number) so as to present
a star-like pattern on a cross section. The only variations on this
general type are as follows: the chevrons are, in a few cases, dragged
laterally so as to resemble the teeth of a circular saw; the central
tube of transparent glass is sometimes divided by a zig-zag layer of
opaque white; and, very rarely, the external layer is green instead of
blue. In shape and size, however, these chevron beads show wide
divergences: in length they may vary from two and a half inches to as
little as a third of an inch, and the diameter, though generally less,
is in a few cases greater, than the length. The extremities in some of
the larger and presumably older specimens are facetted, that is to say,
ground down to a pyramidal form. What, however, we may call the normal
type, is of a cylindrical shape with rounded ends (Plate XV. 2).

These _perle a rosette_ are at the present day made at Murano for the
African market. When in the spring of 1903 I visited the glass-works of
the ‘Venice and Murano Company,’ I was shown by Signor Andrea Rioda
specimens both of these beads and of the canes from which they are
prepared; the company was at that time executing a large order from a
French firm, for the Congo. This work, however, is not generally
undertaken by the firms that make the ordinary _conterie_, for these
large beads have to be separately ground and polished on a wheel—an
important point, as we shall see. They have been made at Murano, the
local tradition affirms, from time without memory.

Quite recently, in the immediate neighbourhood of Treviso, a deposit of
these chevron beads has been discovered in a bank beside an open field;
‘bushel loads’ of fragments were extracted, but not a single perfect
bead. They were without exception broken fragments, not improbably
‘wasters,’ thrown aside possibly by those who were employed in grinding
them. Treviso, I may note, is a town of mills and swift-flowing
streams—in fact, the nearest point to Venice where abundant
water-power could be found. Unfortunately no light so far has been
thrown upon the age of this curious deposit.[141]

In general aspect, in the scheme of colour especially, there is
something unmistakably African about these chevron beads. To say
nothing of their exceptional size, they have little in common with any
other type of polychrome bead, whether Egyptian, classical, or from
Teutonic graves.

I may at once say that I consider these _perle a rosette_ as
essentially of Venetian origin, and made, above all, for the African
market. How the industry arose, and whether the Venetians in this
instance as in other cases took the place of earlier Byzantine or
Syrian glass-workers, there is nothing to show. We know that the
Alexandrians of Greek and Roman times, like the Phœnicians before them,
traded with the native races of Central Africa. These beads have
certainly been found in Egypt,[142] especially in Upper Egypt and
Nubia; it is even said that some of the Soudanese tribes have succeeded
in making passable imitations of them.

It must be remembered that the Venetians, at least in later times, did
not trade directly with inland and barbarous races. Their business was
to deliver their merchandise at certain seaport towns where they had
factories or agencies. The goods then fell into the hands of local
merchants who distributed them by caravans or sent them on coastways in
their ships. So the Arab traders of Egypt, reshipping the Venetian
wares at Suez or other ports of the Red Sea, would carry them in their
dhows to Zanzibar or India; and so again in later days the merchants of
Amsterdam and London, who held at times vast stores of Venetian beads,
distributed them in Dutch or English ships to the very extremities of
the world. The trade in beads was very active in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. At the present day, in the warehouses of Bevis
Marks and Houndsditch, there is probably accumulated a larger stock of
beads than in Venice itself.

So far we are on firm ground, nor is there anything surprising when we
are told that the large chevron beads have been found in Central
Africa,[143] in the South Sea Islands, and even in Canada and the
United States. But when we hear of examples being taken from Red Indian
grave-mounds and even from ancient Peruvian tombs, we feel some need of
hesitation before accepting the statement. So of the specimens found in
England, many of them are water-worn and have an air of the remotest
antiquity: they have been extracted from wells, from river-beds, and,
it is stated, from Anglo-Saxon graves. I may mention that these chevron
beads early attracted the attention of English antiquaries. Dr.
Stukeley, who had several in his possession, brings them up in his
disquisition on Druidical remains, and Bishop Gibson, as far back as
the beginning of the eighteenth century, figures them in his edition of
Camden’s _Britannia_. Gibson mentions that when he was opening a grave
(presumably Anglo-Saxon) at Ash, a worthy friend by way of jest placed
one of these _glain nidr_ or ‘serpent’s eggs’ among the genuine ancient
beads. I will not say with regard to this attempt at mystification—_ex
uno disce omnes_; but the story suggests an attitude of caution in the
case of other similar finds.

I cannot discuss this thorny question here, and must refer those
interested in such subjects as the _Glain Nidr_ or ‘Adder Beads of the
Druids,’ or again, the Breton _Ouef rouge du Serpent Marin_, to the
exhaustive paper by the late Mr. John Brent in the forty-fifth volume
of _Archæologia_.

                              CHAPTER XII


In the fourteenth century, as we have seen, the Venetian galleys
brought glass ware to the ports of England and the Netherlands. M. de
Laborde (_Les Ducs de Bourgogne_) found in the archives of Lille an
order for payment, signed by Duke Philip of Burgundy, ‘_pour seze
voirres et une escuelle de voirre, des voirriers que les galées de
Venise ont avan apportez en nostre pays de Flandres—quatre franc_.’
This is dated from Paris, 1394. Even after making every allowance for
the larger purchasing power of money in those days, the seventeen
vessels of glass bought by a royal prince for four francs cannot have
been of exceptional quality. Again, in the year 1399, Richard II.,
shortly before his deposition, granted permission to certain traders to
sell, on the decks of the Venetian galleys lately arrived in the port
of London, their cargo of small glass vessels and earthenware plates
(_Calendar of State Papers—Venetian_, 1899-1900). Here again there is
nothing to suggest any high artistic value in the glass offered for

As we have seen, with the possible exception of two goblets in the
British Museum, there does not exist a single example of glass of an
earlier date than the fifteenth century, which can definitely claim to
be of Venetian origin.

The _quattro-cento_ glass of Venice,[144] for the most part decorated
with enamel and gilding, may be conveniently arranged in accordance
with the nature of the enamels that cover it.

I will take first a class in which the enamel plays but a subordinate
part. The clear white glass, somewhat thick and heavy compared with
later examples, is often ornamented with _appliqué_ bosses of coloured
glass; such glass is sparingly decorated with opaque enamels, and this
decoration takes the form of little beads or studs, at times combined
with an imbricated pattern in gold. We sometimes meet with large bowls
on low feet (a form of _drageoir_ or sweetmeat dish) which are so
decorated. There is, however, no finer example of this style of
ornament than the standing beaker with cover in the British Museum
(Slade, 362). The general outline and the obliquely curved gadroons of
this magnificent cup were no doubt suggested by some piece of late
Gothic silver-plate. On the flat-headed knob that surmounts the cover
are the half obliterated remains of a coat of arms, but otherwise the
enamelling is confined to some sparely applied studding and filleting.
There is a covered goblet of the same class in the Waddesdon collection
remarkable for an inscription in some South-Slavonic dialect, scratched
with a diamond on the foot. The blue and purple bosses round the body
of these beakers partake somewhat of the nature of prunts.

Another class of fifteenth-century enamelled glass calls to mind in the
manner of its decoration the contemporary enamelled copper ware of
Venice (_émaux peints_). Indeed, in some examples where the enamel is
spread over the whole field and subsequently decorated with other
colours, there is little to indicate that such a vessel has a basis of
glass rather than of metal. This is the case with the beautiful goblet
covered with pale turquoise blue enamel in the Waddesdon Room in the
British Museum. The decoration is given by an elaborate imbrication of
white, red, and gold; the well-drawn male and female figures, in
lozenge-shaped medallions, closely resemble certain woodcuts in
Venetian books of the fifteenth century. If, as is probable, this cup
is not much later in date than the year 1450, we have in it one of the
earliest examples in glass of the complete goblet or wine-glass form,
with bowl, stem, and foot.[145] The outline of the bowl should be
noticed: the double curve, _tending somewhat inwards_ at the top, is
characteristic of these _quattro-cento_ glasses; here again the form is
doubtless derived from silver-plate.

These opaque solid enamels are, however, more frequently applied here
and there upon a basis of transparent coloured glass. For the ground a
deep cobalt blue was most in favour, but a rich leafy green and other
colours also occur at times. The opaque enamels are laid on thickly in
masses; upon these again details are painted by further touches of

Perhaps the most famous example of this class is the _Coppa Nuziale_ in
the Museo Civico at Venice (Plate XXIX.). This cup, in outline somewhat
like a Greek _crater_, with simple massive foot and stem, is of deep
blue glass; it is some eight or nine inches in height. On one side we
have a procession of knights and ladies on horseback; on the other side
the company are seen bathing in an open fountain. Between are
medallions with male and female heads—presumably the bride and
bridegroom. The costume would point rather to the first than to the
second half of the fifteenth century. There is not much prominent
colour apart from the green of the grass and the trees; the horses and
the flesh-tints are rendered by white enamels, and gilding, of course,
is freely used; here and there we see a little pale blue enamel. This
_coppa_ is traditionally assigned to Angelo Berovieri, the greatest
name among the Venetian glass-workers of the fifteenth century. To him
indeed the introduction, or at least the perfection, of the process of
enamelling on glass is generally attributed.





In the British Museum (Slade, 363) is another _Coppa Nuziale_, on which
the style of the decoration closely follows that of the Berovieri cup.
We have the same deep blue ground and the same treatment of the solid
opaque enamels; the bowl, however, in this case is cylindrical. On one
side we see a Cupid seated on a two-headed swan, conducting a triumphal
car; on the other, Venus enthroned in another car is preceded by a
figure—presumably Hymen—bearing a torch; in front a centaur is
grasping the hand of a man in full armour.[146]

The bright green enamel by which on these cups the grass and the
conventional trees are rendered, is perhaps the most characteristic
colour of this _quattro-cento_ ware. Note also on the wide-spreading
foot the manner in which the gold is applied: in the use of this metal,
if in nothing else, the Venetians surpassed their Saracenic
predecessors. Here we have an early instance of gilding _semé_ or
broken up into minute irregular fragments. The gold appears to be
incorporated with the glass; it must have been laid on at an early
stage, for it lies scattered in detached fragments, and this is
undoubtedly caused by the dragging of the glass, while still soft,
during the process of manufacture. This manner of applying gold was
used with great effect by the Venetians during the finest
period—before and after 1500. Notice especially a little cup of thin
white glass in the British Museum, on which the decoration is confined
to a delicate powdering of gold of this nature.

Of the application of enamels of this class to a deep green ground,
there is no finer example than the standing cup from the Debruge and
Soltykoff collections (Slade, 361). This, too, is without doubt a
_Coppa Nuziale_, and in the heads in the two medallions we may again
recognise the bride and bridegroom. On a scroll by the latter head we
read, AMOR VOL FEE—‘Love needs faith.’ The quaint head-dress of the
woman calls to mind certain figures in Carpaccio’s pictures of
contemporary Venetian life.

In the enamelled cups of this class the technical imperfections of the
deep-coloured glass ground should be noticed. This is seen above all in
the irregular outline of the margin. We have here a class of
imperfection of quite a different nature from the tendency to collapse
so often seen in large pieces of Saracenic glass. In the case of the
Venetian glass the unevenness appears to arise from the imperfect
fluidity of the metal when in the hands of the blower.

The date of this enamelled glass is fairly well fixed by the style in
which the figure subjects are treated. The processions—the
_trionfi_—are but rudely executed reproductions of those found on
fifteenth-century marriage coffers, the heads in the medallions we meet
with again on the contemporary mezza-majolica. Both may be seen in the
woodcuts of the earliest printed books. We find the source of the
gadroons and imbricated patterns in the _repoussé_ forms given by the
Venetians to their enamelled copper-ware.

There is somewhat more difficulty in determining the date of another
class of Venetian enamelled glass. I refer to that on which the opaque
enamels are painted with a brush upon a ground of thin colourless
glass. In this decoration, especially in the conventional foliage, the
drag of the brush loaded with the thin, somewhat intractable pigment,
may often be clearly traced. There are some early examples of these
‘painted’ enamels which we may regard as the prototypes of a style of
decoration on glass which soon obtained almost a monopoly among
enamelled wares. We see the same technique and the same opaque colours
on the French glass of the sixteenth century, and the faults are
exaggerated and the palette even heavier in the case of the German
glass of a still later time. We must seek the origin of this school in
the Italian painters on majolica; on the other hand, in the eighteenth
century the methods of the enamellers on glass no doubt influenced the
decorators of porcelain both in Germany and elsewhere.

And here I may say that certain important technical difficulties, that
must always have hampered the use of true transparent enamels on glass,
have scarcely received the attention that they deserve. I mean the
relations of the enamels, as regards the softening-point and rate of
contraction on cooling, to the ground on which they rest. The question
here is very similar to that which presents itself in the case of
porcelain. Our present problem is, however, somewhat simpler, for with
the latter material we have not only to consider the relation of the
enamels to the glaze on which they lie (this takes, indeed, the place
of our glass ground), but in addition the relation of the glaze itself
to the porcelain body beneath must not be neglected.

The first condition for the successful application of an enamel is that
it should be more fusible than the glass to which it is applied; not
only that, but at the temperature at which the enamel fuses, the glass
must still maintain its rigidity, otherwise the vessel on coming from
the enameller’s stove will not preserve its original symmetry. It has
been already suggested that the partial collapse so often observed in
the large Cairene lamps may probably be explained in this way.

On the other hand, if the surface of the glass is not to some degree
softened, there will be no intimate connection between it and the
enamel, and the latter will be likely to scale off before long. This
tendency will be increased if there is much difference in the rate or
amount of contraction between the two materials. Difficulties of this
kind long hindered the employment of certain fluxes and colours—that
of cobalt, for instance, combined with a transparent flux. Such
obstacles may, however, be surmounted in a measure, and the process
simplified by employing (in place of a transparent lead flux) an opaque
white, stanniferous enamel merely stained, in cases only externally, by
a little colouring material. This apparently was the plan universally
adopted by the Venetians in the fifteenth century, and it is here that
their experience of the use of a similar enamel on copper may have
served them.

One cannot but marvel at the technical dexterity so early acquired,
and, alas! so soon lost by the Saracens, in the application of enamels
to glass. The means by which they avoided the use of a lead flux in the
case of their famous translucent blue, is above all worthy of
admiration (see above, Chapter X.).

Certain defects which we note in the glass to which the Venetians
applied their thick enamels may have been inseparably bound up with the
use of these same enamels, and the impossibility of overcoming these
defects may have been one of the causes of their abandonment and of the
general adoption in their place of the painted decoration—mere thin
skins of colour—which they were now able to apply to their white
_cristallo_, the typical glass of Venice. After the commencement of the
sixteenth century, indeed, the use of the solid enamels was almost
confined to beadings and subsidiary ornament sparingly applied.





To return after this long digression to our class of thinly painted
enamels. We find that the use of these painted colours came in at quite
an early date. I will take as typical examples a pair of goblets or
wine-glasses in the British Museum, one from the Slade collection (No.
391), the other presented by the late Sir A. W. Franks. These are both
conical cups of simple outline, of which the bowl passes directly into
the spreading foot. The edge of this foot is turned over to form a sort
of ring on the upper margin. In fact, these goblets may be taken as
representatives of one of the earliest types of that long series of
wine-glasses that we shall come across again and again in later days.
On the first of these cups we see two figures on horseback, one waving
a banner and the other holding a flag; the costume points to the end of
the fifteenth century. This is a detail of some importance, for as a
rule the decoration of this class of enamelled glass is confined to
foliage, scrolls, and classically treated figures of sirens or satyrs.

Almost identical in shape, and decorated in a similar manner, is a
little goblet, or rather fragment of a goblet, lately dug up in the
Piazza of St. Mark at Venice during the excavations for the foundations
of the new Campanile. (Plate XXX. 2). This little glass, between four
and five inches in height, is of a thinnish clear metal, decorated with
scrolls of a somewhat Gothic character, indicated by lines of opaque
white; the other enamels are green, an opaque red, a rich yellow, and a
deep as well as a turquoise blue, the latter laid on thickly. This
goblet may perhaps be referred to the middle of the fifteenth century.

A still finer example of these ‘painted’ enamels is to be found in a
very beautiful ewer now in the Louvre. The colours are laid on with a
brush as in the previous specimens, but as we often find in later
examples—and this applies equally to the French and German enamelled
glass—the opaque red is here replaced by a poor brown. Within a large
medallion is seen a herald riding on a griffin; the ground is covered
by scale patterns and scrolls of many colours.

                              CHAPTER XIII


The history of modern glass begins, as I have said, with the famous
Venetian _cristallo_ of the sixteenth century. Many other varieties
were made at this time, but it was the absolutely colourless and
transparent glass, capable of being blown to extreme thinness and then
worked into every variety of form, that above all established the
European reputation of the Murano glass-workers. Before long, in nearly
every country of Western Europe, the old methods of working were
falling into disuse; and by the aid of skilled workmen who were tempted
away from Murano, or, failing that, were hired from the rival glass
furnaces of L’Altare, the attempt was made to imitate this clear white
glass of Venice.

We have, then, in this _cristallo_ the typical glass of Venice, and
here more than in any other group, whether of earlier or of later date,
we find a family of glass of which the artistic merit depends directly
upon the skill of the glass-blower, rather than on that of the
enameller or engraver. In the simpler and earlier specimens, an
undeniable charm is derived from the extreme tenuity of the
material—there is an evanescent and almost ghostly air about the
‘diaphanous, pellucid, dainty body’[147] of not a few of these glasses.
Although entirely free from any positive colour, there is often a
certain tendency to greyness in the metal, and this is increased to a
misty cloudiness when the surface has been attacked by atmospheric
influence, as is not unfrequently the case with glasses that have been
long exposed to our damp English climate.





There is little change or development to be observed in the glass of
this character made at Murano during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, nor is it always safe to regard contorted shapes and
elaborate decorations as necessarily a sign of a late origin. This
caution is confirmed by an often quoted passage from Sabellico, the
learned librarian of St. Mark’s and historian of Venice; it is from a
Latin work, _De Situ Venetæ Urbis_, written about 1495. We can form
from it some idea of the wonderful variety of the outturn from the
Murano glass-works at that time, and of the elaborate shapes that were
already given to the vessels. When we pass, says Sabellico, from Venice
to the suburb of Murano, we are struck by the grandeur and size of the
buildings; it appears from afar as a city, extending for a mile in
length. The island owes its chief renown to its glass-works. It was a
famous discovery to make glass that should vie with crystal in
clearness. Since then the nimble wit of the workmen and the
never-resting care to find something new have led them to apply to the
material a thousand various colours and shapes without number. Hence
the _calices_, the flasks, the _canthari_, the ewers, the _candelabra_,
the animals of every race, the horns, the beads (_segmenta_), the
bracelets, etc. etc. So far Sabellico—the good man is, I am afraid,
more concerned with his latinity than with the matter in hand: but this
is a weakness that he shares with more than one writer of this time. He
goes on to speak of the ‘Murrhine vases’ made at Murano, of which the
only fault is their cheapness; all these marvels had the Venetian
galleys brought before the eyes of the nations, so that, wondrous to
say, by familiarity they had become as things base and common.

In the means adopted by the Venetians to adorn their _cristallo_ we are
at times taken back to Roman methods. The handles, often of blue glass,
and the stringings and frillings that surround the body are applied
hastily but skilfully by the light hand of the workman. This kind of
ornament reached its completest development in the tall beakers and
vases with handles that took the form of wing-like excrescences. These
‘winged beakers’ were afterwards copied and the forms exaggerated in
Germany and in the Netherlands, where they were held to be especially
characteristic of the now fashionable glass of Venice.

It is certainly remarkable how little this Muranese glass as a whole
reflects the glorious Venetian art of the _cinquecento_. Apart from
some of the earlier enamelled and gilt examples and from the simpler
forms of the pure thin _cristallo_, we can find among it little that is
quite satisfactory from an artistic point of view. Much even of the
sixteenth-century glass is merely fantastic, and appeals only to
childish tastes. The bulk of it was probably made for foreign markets,
for the dull northern barbarian, whose attention had to be caught by
something new and extravagant.

Little heed is paid to this more elaborately decorated glass by the
great contemporary painters. In fact, I can find no example of it in
their works. When glass is introduced, it is invariably of the simplest
description. In the big altar-pieces of Giovanni Bellini, of Cima, or
of Carpaccio, the glass lamps that hang from the roof are in the form
of little conical cups of plain outline. Amid all the elaborate
_staffage_ of Crivelli’s pictures, the lily on the table or ledge
beside the Virgin stands in a little cylindrical beaker of glass, for
all the world like a modern tumbler.[148] So in the next century we may
search in vain in the pictures of Titian or of Veronese for elaborate
examples of Venetian glass. In the banquet scenes of the latter
painter, the wine indeed is served from graceful decanters with tall
necks and globular bodies, and is drunk from tazza-shaped goblets of
glass,[149] but on the _credenza_ or buffet at the side, the gold and
silver plate is never relieved by examples of our material.





A curious account of a banquet given at Mantua, on the occasion of the
marriage of the Marquis, is quoted by Mr. Nesbitt from a contemporary
writer. There was, we are told, on this occasion such a display of
‘_diversi bicchieri, carrafe, e giarre ed altri bellissimi vasi di
cristallo di Venezia, che credo vi fussero concorse tutte le botteghe
di Morano!_’ And there was need of this store, he adds, seeing that
after they had drunk, the guests proceeded to break the glasses they
held in their hands ‘_per segno di grande allegrezza_.’[150] We are
reminded of the feast described by Joinville, though in that case the
glasses were swept off the table by the well-aimed Bible of one of the
guests (see p. 136).

I shall now have to pass in rapid review the principal varieties and
applications of the glass made at Murano in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries.

The Frosted or Crackle Glass is perhaps the simplest modification of
the pure _cristallo_. To produce this, the _paraison_ is plunged
rapidly into cold water, and after reheating to the necessary degree,
but not beyond, it is worked into the desired form. A similar effect is
at times produced by rolling the molten _paraison_ upon fragments of
crushed glass. I have spoken in the introductory chapter of certain
rare cases where a minute fissuring has been set up in the substance of
the glass. This true crackle is probably in all cases the result of a
subsequent structural change.

_Latticinio_, _Lattisuol_, or _Lattimo_ are names given by the
Venetians to a milk-white opaque glass. White enamels were freely used
in the fifteenth century, but the earliest known specimen of Venetian
glass, the whole body of which is rendered opaque by the presence of
oxide of tin (_calcina di stagno_)—the _vetro bianco di smalto_ of the
early writers[151]—can hardly be older than the beginning of the next

The spherical vase (Slade, 402) formerly in the possession of the
Marquis D’Azeglio, is an exceptionally beautiful example of this
milk-white glass (Plate XXXII.). The gilt scrolls harmonise well with
the slightly warmish ground, and were it not for the rudely executed
mermaids on either side, an Eastern origin might well have been sought
for this quite exceptional piece; in fact, I do not know of any other
specimen of undoubted Venetian glass so distinctly Persian in character.

In the Museo Civico at Venice is a flask (_circa_ 1530) of this
_lattimo_ glass, about five inches in height, decorated in blue, with
allegorical subjects. Although somewhat rudely executed, the painting
is masterly in style, and may be compared to that on the best
contemporary majolica (Plate XXXIII.). At a first glance this little
vase might be taken for an example of Medici porcelain, and indeed we
must bear in mind that all through the sixteenth century attempts were
being made in Venice to imitate the porcelain of the Far East, more
especially the plain white and the blue and white wares which were
already arriving at Venice in considerable quantity.

This _lattimo_ glass came much into favour for a second time early in
the eighteenth century; it was at that time often decorated in colours
in a pseudo-Japanese style. This later milk-white glass is once more
closely associated with the attempts then again made at Venice, as in
so many other countries, to imitate the porcelain of China and Japan.
This had indeed, before the end of the previous century, been in a
measure accomplished in France by means of a soft paste, in the
composition of which a glass-like frit played an important part. At a
still later time this _lattimo_ glass was even painted in monochrome,
in imitation of our early printed Worcester porcelain!





Closely based upon this _latticinio_—for the threads in a vast
majority of cases are of an opaque white—is the famous _Vetro di
Trina_ or lace-glass. At the beginning of the last century the art of
making this net-work decoration appears to have almost died out, but in
the thirties and forties it was revived by Domenico Bussolin, and when
later on more interest began to be taken in the Murano glass, it was to
this _vetro a reticelli_ that at first most attention was given. The
details of the manufacture were described and illustrated by the
well-known director of the Choisy glass-works, M. Bontemps (_Exposé des
moyens employés pour la fabrication des verres filigranes_, 1845).

There is, however, a simpler and perhaps easier application of these
bands of _lattimo_, in which they are applied in a series of festoons
to the surface. In this case the opaque white enamel appears to have
been laid on to the _paraison_ at an early stage and dragged into
crescent-shaped waves, so as to resemble closely the decoration of the
little flasks of coloured glass from Egyptian and early Greek tombs—to
those later examples more especially, from Rhodes and Cyprus, on which
the colours are only applied to the surface (p. 37), the resemblance in
technique is very close. There are many interesting specimens of this
festooned _latticinio_ in the British Museum. In the case of the little
_biberon_ (Slade, No. 628) the festoons are worked into a palm pattern,
identical with that often found on the little primitive vases.

I shall not attempt to follow in detail the manner of preparation of
the true _vetro di trina_,—suffice to say that it is built up of a
number of juxtaposed rods; these rods are arranged perpendicularly,
side by side, so as to form a hollow cylinder, and into the midst a
small vesicle of molten glass is inserted; to this the rods adhere, and
the whole mass is then worked into the desired form. The rods
themselves—they are similar to the _canne_ supplied to the
_suppialume_ workers (p. 187)—may be either of opaque or clear glass,
or they may be formed of elaborate combinations of the two (_canelle a
ritorto o merlate_); the most complicated patterns are thus obtained.
When two series of these rods are arranged to cross one another at an
angle, we get a reticulated pattern, and within the _reticelli_ thus
formed a bubble of air may be caught up. There is, indeed, little
opportunity for finding in this kind of work any free play for the
decorative feeling of the artist, and the result of all these ingenious
combinations of crossings and interlacings is only too often to give a
tame and machine-made air to the finished vase or tazza.

The Opalised Glass, the _Calcedonio_[152] of the Venetians, is obtained
by adding the same materials as in the case of the _latticinio_, but in
very small proportions: it stands to the latter as weak milk and water
to pure milk. In practice, I believe, the opalescence is often given by
the addition of phosphate of lime in the form of bone-ash, sometimes,
perhaps, by arsenious acid.[153] Pale blue by reflected light, it takes
various orange and yellow tints when the light is transmitted through
it. Such a vessel as the cylindrical goblet and cover of thick
_calcedonio_ in the Waddesdon Room at the British Museum, with a design
in high relief representing the Triumph of Neptune, must have been cast
in a mould.

We now come to certain varieties of glass which were much admired at
one time, but are now little in favour. The aim, it would seem, in this
class, as in the case of the old Roman prototype, was to imitate
various kinds of precious stones and marbles. But the Venetians showed
here little of the restraint of their classical predecessors, so that
on the whole the colours, where not crude, are huddled together in
muddy compounds.

An opaque red glass resembling jasper was probably known at Murano as
early as the fourteenth century. In an inventory of the property of the
Duke of Anjou (_circa_ 1360) there is mention of a ‘_pichier de voirre
vermeil semblable a Jaspe_.’ So in the next century, Charles the Bold
possessed ‘_Ung hanap de Jaspe garni d’or, à œuvre de Venise_’—to
judge from the expression used this beaker was also of glass.[154]

Already in a Milanese manuscript of 1443 (described below) there is a
formula given for making _schmelz_ by means of a mixture of certain
salts of silver, iron, and copper, and before the end of the century we
have Sabellico’s complaint that the modern murrhine glass was becoming
far too common (see page 201); so that, on the whole, this family of
marbled glass is, perhaps, as old as any other Venetian glass of which
we have specimens. The examples, however, that have survived appear to
be mostly of a somewhat later date. We find imitations of both classes
of the Roman _millefiori_—the tints, however, are generally crudely
matched—and especially several varieties of marbled glass with
contorted veins of many colours. The schmelz _par excellence_ of the
Venetians (the German name would seem to point to a northern origin) is
an irregularly veined and mottled mass, a somewhat unpleasant
combination of bluish-green and purple tints, calling to mind certain
kinds of slag—indeed it may have originally been made in imitation of
some such substance. There are a few exceptionally fine early examples
of this schmelz at South Kensington. Notice above all the spherical
vase from the Castellani collection with _cinquecento_ mountings and
serpent handles of copper gilt; the greenish-yellow and pale blue tints
are in this case harmoniously blended. To judge from the form of the
bowl and stem, the cup of finely marbled schmelz at Hertford House
cannot be dated much later than 1500. In this case, and probably in
others also, the marblings are only on the surface; the interior is of
a uniform greyish-green colour.

Of scarcely less importance is the splashed ware for which we can again
find a Roman if not an Egyptian prototype. The splashes of enamel of
various colours must have been scattered over the _paraison_ at an
early stage, for they have had to follow the changes of form given to
the surface in the shaping of the vessel: we see them stretched out at
the neck on the little burette in the Slade collection (No. 783). This
splashed glass was much admired by the French and successfully imitated
by them.

Something should be said of the painted Venetian glass of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I say ‘painted,’ for such it is
in general effect, although the pigments have probably in most cases
been subjected to some kind of firing. The very poverty and dulness of
the colours are indeed a proof of this; the artist’s palette has been
subjected to the exigencies of the enameller’s muffle. We find
landscapes with classical figures and _amorini_ painted on the lower
surface of bowls and rondelles (_tondi_). In the Dutuit collection, now
housed in the Petit Palais at Paris, is a circular dish some fifteen
inches in diameter, painted on the under surface, so as to be viewed
through the glass; the subject, a dance of cupids, is treated in an
exceptionally fine style and can scarcely be later than the middle of
the sixteenth century. In many cases these designs have been added to
Venetian glass by non-Venetian, sometimes by northern hands. This kind
of painting or enamelling is, however, very subject to injury by use,
and doubtless for this reason it is sometimes protected by a second
sheet of glass. We have in such painted dishes a variety of the
so-called _verre églomisé_ to which reference has already more than
once been made.

The Venetians at times drew designs on their glass with a diamond.
There are some examples of this in a good _cinquecento_ style in the
Slade collection; but this work was confined to the pure scratched
line, and even shading was not much used. It was not till the
eighteenth century that they began to copy the later German methods of
deep engraving and cutting with the wheel.

The British Museum has lately acquired a square plaque of clear thick
glass; at the back, in deep intaglio, is the portrait of a Doge, who,
on the ground of the letters A. G. on either side of the head, may be
identified with Andrea Gritti (1523-1538).[155] The late M. Piot has
extracted from a fifteenth-century treatise on architecture by Antonio
Averlini a dialogue between two artists upon some curious applications
of glass. We hear of _cristallino_ plaques with figures carved on the
lower surface, so as apparently to stand out in relief—a description
which would apply well enough to this _piastra_.

There is no more troubled story in the history of glass-making than
that of the manufacture of MIRRORS at Murano from the fourteenth to the
eighteenth century. We have seen in the early days, when these mirrors
were backed with lead (p. 138), that the Germans had already become
experts in this department. More than once in the Venetian archives
there are references to the secret methods of these _Todeschi_. In a
petition of 1503 there is mention of a plan for making good and perfect
mirrors, a precious secret unknown except to certain Germans. It is
impossible to resist the suspicion that there is here a reference to
the cylinder process, which, as we have seen, was already known to
Theophilus (p. 129); by this process it would have been possible to
produce a fairly large and comparatively flat sheet of glass. The
Venetians, on the other hand, probably continued to a late period to
use the old method of ‘spinning’ or ‘flashing.’[156]

It was only after the middle of the sixteenth century that the
mirror-makers, the _specchiai_, formed themselves into a separate
corporation; but in this guild were included, it would seem, the makers
of the so-called mirrors of steel.[157] Thus we find that in 1574, one
Francesco Zamberlan, who only two years before had taken out a patent
for his ‘_specchi d’acciaio_,’ was admitted to the new guild on the
ground of his special knowledge. Those engaged in the polishing—the
_lustratura_ and _spianatura_—of both materials, glass and metal, were
also members of the guild.

For us the interest in these mirrors lies rather in the framing. We
find the new corporation early engaged in quarrels with the painters
and with the workers in tarsia, mother-of-pearl, and coral (_i
miniatori_, _i marangoni_, _e muschieri_), who found employment in
decorating the frames.

For a time, no doubt, the Venetian mirrors held their own, but before
the end of the seventeenth century the French, thanks to the energy of
Colbert, had not only learned all their secrets, but by an entirely new
method—namely by a process of casting or founding, and subsequent
rolling and polishing of the glass plates—were able to meet the demand
for the large mirrors that were now regarded as indispensable in a
Louis-Quatorze salon. But these ‘_glaces de St. Gobain_’ are of an
entirely different nature from the exquisitely framed little _lustri_
with which we are now concerned. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there
are no characteristic specimens of these _cinquecento_ mirrors—at
least of those in which glass forms an important element in the frame
as well—in any of our public collections. For fine examples of such
work we must go to the Louvre or the Hôtel de Cluny. It will be noticed
that the margin of the glass is invariably bevelled, thus forming a
transition to the elaborate framing. These _cinquecento_ Italian
mirrors were extensively copied, and this at an early date, both in
France and at Nuremberg.

In spite of the heroic efforts made by the authorities in the late
seventeenth and in the following century to introduce the new methods
of working glass at Murano, the Venetians failed to maintain their
position. It was only in the more conservative Eastern markets that the
demand for their mirrors was kept up; even to-day, in Syria or in
Persia, these Italian glasses may not unfrequently be seen in private
houses and even in mosques.

Another characteristic application of the glass of Murano was to the
elaborate chandeliers that formed so important a part in the decoration
of the reception-rooms of a Venetian palace in the seventeenth century.
In these the metal framework is completely hidden by a thick foliage,
as it were, of glass—frequently of the opalescent _calcedonio_—amid
which the tall wax candles spring up here and there. M. Gerspach extols
the decorative value of these chandeliers:—‘_Le soir, le lustre de
Venise allumé est un rayonnement harmonieux sans reflets discordants;
le jour, stalactite ciselée, il égaye l’appartement comme une note
claire et joyeuse_’ (_La Verrerie_, p. 173).

In the eighteenth century the contorted forms, imitating leaves and
flowers, were replaced by pendent discs of colourless crystal, cut,
polished, and often facetted. Of these later chandeliers there is a
splendid series, whether of Venetian origin or not I do not know, at
Hertford House. Such chandeliers were known in England in the
eighteenth century as ‘lustres.’[158] They are above all numerous in
German palaces, and most of the glass is probably of German or Flemish
origin. But of the earlier type I cannot find a single example in any
of our public museums.[159] The manufacture, however, has been revived
at Murano, and chandeliers of this class, with no claims to antiquity,
may often be seen in private houses both at home and abroad. The spread
of electric lighting has given a stimulus to work of this kind, for the
corolla-shaped shades that so often accompany our incandescent lamps
have, in most cases, obviously been modelled upon the glass of the old
Venetian chandeliers.

The glass-workers of Murano were a conservative body; their work was
based upon secret processes and rule-of-thumb formulas. The elaborate
division into different _arti_ or corporations, each governed by its
separate _mariegola_, made it excessively difficult to introduce any
radical changes into the methods of work. It is quite pathetic to
observe the efforts of the comparatively enlightened governing body,
the _conservatori alle arti_, who in the last years of the republic
attempted to introduce the new processes that were revolutionising the
glass industry in the north of Europe. We find reports signed by great
names—Morosini and others—recommending the introduction of English
machinery, and drawing up plans for the cultivation of the _Salsola
soda_ on the islands of the lagoons. Little attention apparently was
given to the artistic side by these reformers. One of the last names in
the long list of the Murano glass-makers is that of Giuseppe Briati,
famous for the purity of his _cristallo_; he excelled, too, in the
designing and the execution of the _vetro di trina_, and Lazari
declares that much of the ‘lace glass’ in our collections attributed to
the _cinquecento_ belongs rather to him or to his school.[160] Briati
in 1739 was allowed to set up a furnace in Venice itself for the
preparation of his _cristallo_, the first time for more than four
hundred years that such a permission had been granted. It is of this
Briati that we are told that his glass found a place on the _credenza_
or buffet at the public banquets of the Doge, beside the gold and
silver plate. This would appear to have been an innovation (see above,
p. 203) introduced with the special aim of encouraging the declining
industry. An exception was again made in favour of one Giorgio
Barbaria, who so late as 1790, in the parish of the Gesuiti,
manufactured bottles by a new English method. But as a French writer
somewhat naïvely puts it—‘_ce genre ne prête guère à la fantaisie_.’

Before this time the Venetians had yielded to the new fashion of the
day, and were making cut and engraved glass more or less after German
or Bohemian models. Of this class were the _trionfi di
tavola_—trophies of glass for the decoration of the dinner-table—as
well as the gigantic chandeliers known as ‘_ciocche_.’ To such
productions the artistic work of the time appears to have been
confined. Of the first there is a fine specimen from the Casa Morosini
set out in the centre of one of the rooms in the Museo Civico at
Venice. I have already mentioned the chandeliers of cut glass. They
played an important part in a _rococo_ interior.

After the occupation of Venice by the French in 1797, the Directory
attempted unsuccessfully to transplant the manufacture of beads
(_marguerites_) to Paris. It is significant that they regarded this as
the most important part of the glass industry. The corporations or
_arti_ were finally abolished in 1806.

During the ensuing thirty years the manufacture of glass was at the
lowest ebb. There was, however, a first revival about 1838, which is
associated with the name of Bussolin. But it was the energy and skill
of a lawyer from Vicenza, Antonio Salviati, with the financial
assistance of certain English enthusiasts for the art, Sir Henry Layard
and Sir William Drake, in the first place, that led, not long after the
middle of the century, to the furnaces of Murano again turning out
something beyond window-glass and beads.

From the technical side Venetian glass belongs essentially to the
Mediterranean family—the art was possibly learned in the first
instance from the Byzantine Greeks. But it is probably as a consequence
of their intercourse with the coast of Syria, the old home of glass,
that the Venetians acquired at so early a date a pre-eminent position
as glass-workers. Like that of their predecessors, theirs was
essentially a soda glass. What distinguished it was, above all, its
total freedom from colour; the Venetians were the first, at least since
Roman times, to make an absolutely clear white glass. This result they
obtained not only by care in the selection of their materials,
especially in the source of the silica, but also by an early mastery of
the use of manganese, ‘the glass-maker’s soap.’ The Venetian glass
excelled again in its working qualities, in the extreme ductility which
it maintained through a wide range of temperature. This property was in
a measure due to the large quantity of alkali which entered into its
composition. On the other hand, this excess of soda has led at times to
a rapid tarnishing of the surface, visible above all in our damp

[Illustration: _PLATE XXXIV_


ABOUT 1500


But it is to the works of the contemporary Italian writers that we had
better turn for information on these practical points. These are of two
classes:—1st, Works of some literary pretension which contain chapters
on the glass of Murano for the information of the general public. 2nd,
Technical treatises, consisting for the most part of formulas for the
use of the glass-maker. To the first class belong Fioravanti’s remarks
on mirrors, which we have already quoted. Biringuccio, the Sienese, in
his treatise on _les arts du feu_ (_De la Pirotechnia_, Venice, 1540),
has a chapter on glass (Bk. II. cap. xiii.). He tells us that the
Venetians made glass from the ashes of _chali_, an herb that grows in
Syria and also near Magalone, in the south of France (the lagoons of
Maguelonne, near Cette). In the place of this _chali_ the ashes of fern
or of the mysterious _duznea_ may be used. One part of the lixiviated
ash is mixed with two of the _cogoli_, the clear white pebbles found in
the bed of certain streams. To these materials a small amount of
manganese is added, and the whole melted in a reverberatory furnace to
form a substance known as _fritta_, already a kind of glass, but ‘_mal
purgata_.’ The glass furnace is then described in some detail: it is
made to hold eight crucibles (_conconi_), each three-quarters of a
_braccio_ (say fifteen inches) in height. These _conconi_ are made with
_terra di Valencia_, and are first well dried and annealed over the
fritting-hearth. We are told how, after melting in these pots, the
viscous substance is collected at the end of a hollow rod of iron,
turned and returned upon the marver to unite the mass together, and
then by blowing down the tube extended to form a vesicle. This
‘_vescicha_’ is now whirled round the head of the workman to lengthen
it, or it may be pressed into a mould of bronze (‘_in un cavo di
bronzo_’). It is now transferred to another rod of iron (the
_pontella_, though the word is not used), worked up in various ways,
and cut with shears. The handles and feet are added, and the vessel may
be decorated by enamelling or otherwise.[161]

_La Piazza Universale di tutte le professioni del Mondo_, by Tommaso
Garzoni of Bagnacavallo, was, to judge from the numerous editions
issued, a very popular work in its day. The copy before me, not by any
means the first edition, is dated Venice, 1585. It contains a chapter
entitled ‘_De Vetrari, o Biccherari, Occhialari e Fenestrari_.’ The
superiority of the glass of Murano, ‘_luogo amenissimo e delitiosissimo
presso a Venetia_,’ he attributes to the saltness of the water, to the
absence of dust, so detrimental to the work, and to the abundant supply
of wood which gives a most beautiful and clear flame. Besides, it is
only at Murano that they know how to prepare the soda with which the
beautiful _cristallo_ is made. That made from the herb _ugnea_ (cf. the
_duznea_ of Biringuccio) or from fern, produces a yellow and brittle
glass,—the inferiority of the potash glass is here indirectly
indicated. Among the long list of the vessels made at Murano we find
_zuccarini a reticelli_ or _a ritortoli_, interesting as an early
mention of lace glass. The word _zuccarino_, literally a basin for
sweets, is used as a general name for covered bowls or dishes. We then
have the account (already quoted) of the preparation of _latticinio_,
and also of a glass made up of fragments of _canne_ of various colours,
a kind of _millefiori_, in fact. There is, he tells us, nothing
imaginable in the world that these Muranese cannot make with
glass—castles even with towers, bastions, walls, and cannon. ‘_Come
nell’ Ascensa di Venetia talvolta s’ è vista_,’ he continues. This
refers, I think, to the display of masterpieces of glass in the
procession on Ascension Day.

Garzoni, we must remember, is in this book in the first place concerned
with the various trades and professions of his time, and he takes us
next to the _occhiolari_, the makers of spectacles, who ply their trade
in the Merceria, and finally to the _Finestrari_ or _Vetriari_, who
with marvellous rapidity fit into frames of lead ‘_certi occhi di
vetro_’ made at Murano. We see from this that the old bull’s-eye glass
was still in general use.

I must now, in conclusion, say something of the other class of writers,
those who, without any literary pretensions, claim to disclose the
secret processes and formulas of the glass-workers. These men are the
successors of Theophilus and of the compilers of the early alchemistic
treatises of which I have spoken in a previous chapter. It is
noticeable that not one of these men, as far as we know, was a
Venetian; indeed in every case, if the writer is not a Florentine
himself, it is from Florentine libraries and archives that his works
have been extracted.

Cennini was essentially a writer of this class, but in his _Trattato
della Pittura_ there are only a few casual references to glass. The
three little treatises found by Gaetano Milanesi in the Florentine
archives, and published by him in 1864, are chiefly concerned with the
preparation of glass for mosaics. They may probably be attributed to
the first half of the fifteenth century, and we thus have in the
recipes which fill these books the earliest documentary evidence for
the composition of Venetian glass. I will quote from the first of these
little works a section (xxiii.) which treats of ‘the placing of glass
on the surface of glass.’ The writer, it should be noted, is concerned
with the preparation of the _piastre_ or slabs from which were cut the
little cubes for mosaic work; this question of the various ways in
which a leaf of gold may be included between two sheets of glass is one
which has already interested us.

‘♃ The glass to be about as thin as an eye-glass. Cut the leaves of the
gold to the length of the glass, and put the gold upon the glass with
white of egg; then place above this gold the other upper glass, and dry
the whole. Then put them in the small ovens (_fornelli_), and let them
be on a level so as not to slope, in order that the glass may not run.
When they have become red-hot, load them with an iron so that they may
grow together and unite. Then place them over the arch of the
_fornacetta_ (probably the fritting-oven), and let them cool little by

The next section treats of the preparation of _lattimo bianco_ by
calcining four parts of tin and two parts of lead, and then mixing the
resulting powder with ten parts of Syrian soda. But as is the case with
all the treatises of this class, the majority of the sections are
concerned with the preparation of the various ingredients by means of
which glass may be coloured—the _colori da ismalti_. The green and
opaque red are both obtained from copper-scale, the purple and crimson
from various mixtures of manganese[162] (so spelt in the text), and the
yellow either from iron-scale or from a mixture of resin and tartar. As
for the fine blue—the _zaffiro_—it should be noted that the pigment
employed is described as _azurro da vetro_,[163] probably a preparation
of cobalt—similar to what in later times was known as smalt—which the
glass-workers obtained ready-made from Germany.

In the early sections of the third of these little treatises[164] the
preparation of the soda is described in some detail. Much importance
appears to be attached to the frit, for the third section is headed
‘_Questa si è la pratica di fare la fritta, ciò è li pane del
cristallino. Nota ed impara._’ In the composition of this frit there
enters not only soda and the white pebbles from the Tecino, but a
considerable amount of gromma or tartar, a substance containing potash,
and perhaps lime also.

The preparation of ‘_calcedonio in tutta perfezione_’ is next
described, and I may note that the presence in it of salts of iron and
copper, to say nothing of silver, mercury, and _azurro_, would point to
some variegated mixture resembling the schmelz of later days rather
than to the opalescent glass to which this name was subsequently given
(cf. p. 206).

Of greater importance than any of these little treatises is the work
that Antonio Neri published in 1612. In fact, having regard to the
influence of this book on future writers on the subject, especially
upon those who sought to make glass by Venetian methods in England and
elsewhere, it may without doubt be given the premier place as the most
important work that has ever appeared on the preparation of glass. We
know very little of the author except that he was born in Florence
towards the end of the sixteenth century, that he was a priest, and
that he spent some time at Antwerp, where it would seem that his
attention was first directed towards the manufacture of glass. When,
after the death of the Grand Duke Ferdinand in 1609, the manufacture of
the soft-paste Medici porcelain was abandoned, we are told that in its
place glass-works were established at Pisa, and with these works we may
perhaps connect Neri’s little treatise. I have, however, already gone
over most of the ground covered by this book in my quotations from
Biringuccio and others, and I will postpone the consideration of what
little further is to be gleaned from it until I come, in the account of
our English glass, to speak of the translation of Neri’s book made by
Merret in 1662.

                              CHAPTER XIV


In the history of European glass the culminating point is perhaps
reached in the Venetian glass of the first half of the sixteenth
century—I am speaking, of course, from the artistic point of view. For
a century or more after this time our history is concerned with little
else than the spread of the Italian methods of manufacture and
decoration over the west of Europe. After the middle of the seventeenth
century the interest becomes more and more centred in the technical and
economical improvements in the manufacture. The invention of
plate-glass by the French, in England the use of coal instead of wood
in the glass-furnace, and the adoption of a heavy fusible type of glass
containing lead (an indirect consequence, perhaps, of this change of
fuel)—these are the really notable points in the history of the first
century of industrial advance. After the middle of the eighteenth
century England takes a more and more important position, and the
prominent question was the production of a glass of high technical
excellence at a greatly reduced price. Preoccupied as we were at that
time with the absorbing interest of this industrial revolution, less
attention was given in this country to the artistic side in the
manufacture of glass.

In the sixteenth century the interest of our subject centres in the
story of the emigration of skilled glass-workers from Venice and from
L’Altare, and in the more or less complete replacement of the old
methods, as these Italians found their way into nearly every corner of
Western Europe. It was technically the victory of the carefully
prepared _cristallo_ over the old mediæval _verre de fougère_ or
_wald-glas_. From another point of view the revolution was but one
phase in the spread of the Italian renaissance. In fact, in one respect
it was distinctly a renaissance, for the glass of Venice in composition
differed little from that made during the Roman domination: it belonged
essentially to the great Mediterranean family of soda-lime glass,
prepared, if not from sea-weed, at least from maritime herbs. On the
other hand, the indigenous glass which the _cristallo_ replaced was
almost without exception of forest origin, a potash glass made from the
roughly lixiviated ashes of beechwood or bracken.

I have said that these Italian glass-workers carried their new methods
all through Western Europe, but, as we shall see, their permanent
influence was not the same in each case. In Germany it was in a measure
but a passing fashion—neither the Italian designs nor the Italian
methods of manufacture ever became prevalent. The _wald-glas_, in an
improved form certainly, held its own, and indeed before the end of the
next century was threatening the supremacy of its Venetian rival.

In France, on the other hand, the victory was in a manner complete; the
old _verre de fougère_, it is true, long survived, but in an
acknowledged position of inferiority. In the Netherlands the case was
more complicated; for while on the one hand at Antwerp and at Liége the
typical Venetian _cristallo_ was more successfully imitated than
elsewhere out of Italy, on the other hand, in many places in the Low
Countries, the old green glass continued to be made, and the old
shapes, above all the essentially Teutonic _roemer_, never fell out of
favour. It so happens indeed that for the best renderings of examples
of both these schools of glass we must go to the works of the Dutch and
Flemish painters, rather than to the contemporary pictures of either
Germany or Italy. This is an interesting point about which I shall have
something more to say later on.

As regards Spain, the Italian influence became on the whole
predominant, but here the question is complicated by the existence, in
Catalonia at least, of a school of enamelled glass of which the
Venetian origin is by no means certain, and this school was already
well developed before the end of the fifteenth century. Finally, in the
case of our own country, the Venetian emigrants who came for the most
part by way of the Low Countries, had soon to divide the hitherto
almost free field with glass-workers from Normandy and Lorraine.

It is only of late years that the full significance of this emigration
of glass-workers from Murano and from L’Altare has been recognised. A
distinguished Belgian antiquary, M. Schuermans, President of the Cour
d’Appel at Liége, about the year 1880—following in this in the steps
of his countryman the late M. Alexandre Pinchart, and in a measure also
in those of M. Houdoy (_Verrerie à la façon de Venise_, Paris,
1873)—began a systematic investigation of the subject, and during a
period of ten years, from 1883 to 1892, contributed to the pages of a
learned periodical published at Brussels (_Bulletin des Commissions
Royales de l’Art et de l’Industrie_) a series of letters—for so M.
Schuermans modestly called them, though they were in fact so many
treatises, extending some of them to more than a hundred pages—packed
full with the results of his researches. One of the most curious
sources of information M. Schuermans found in the reports sent from the
Venetian embassies and agencies in France and elsewhere to the Council
of Ten at Venice. It was not the least important duty of the diplomatic
agents of the Republic to trace out the fugitive Muranese
glass-workers, to endeavour to induce them, by threats or promises, to
return to their homes, and if unsuccessful in this, to denounce them to
the authorities in Venice, who might then proceed to throw into prison
the unhappy families of these recalcitrant workmen. In extreme cases
there are hints of more drastic measures in dealing with the traitors
themselves—for so they were regarded—but I do not think that any
instance of assassination has been definitely made out for the time of
which we are now speaking. It is certainly strange that the only known
cases of such judicial murders occurred at Vienna as late as the
eighteenth century. The story was told long ago by Daru in his
_Histoire de Venise_ (_Pièces Justificatives_), and I do not know that
it has ever been refuted.

Not that these extreme measures were at all times carried out with
equal energy. At times, for political or other reasons, little
restraint appears to have been put upon the wandering forth of the
Muranese glass-workers; while at others the Council of Ten seems to
have regarded the question as one of the utmost moment, aroused perhaps
by reports that seemed to prove that the glass monopoly of the state
was endangered. This was the case at the end of the fifteenth century,
again towards the middle of the seventeenth, and more especially at the
end of that century, when the Venetians began to find their industry
seriously threatened by their German rivals.

In the sixteenth century, as a contemporary writer puts it, ‘_Tous
les rois et princes désiraient et affectaient avoir en leurs royaumes
cette science_’: that is to say, the knowledge of the methods of
preparing the true _cristallo_. To obtain this knowledge from Murano
was difficult and even dangerous. What wonder, then, that recourse
was had to the Consuls of the glass-workers’ guild at L’Altare? These
officials seem to have been always ready to negotiate for the supply
to foreign princes, or even to private individuals—if the requisite
payment was forthcoming—of one or more of their skilled gentleman
glass-workers.[165] But in this case, too, a keen eye was kept upon
these men: they were bound by the strictest oaths to practise their
craft, when in foreign lands, with the greatest secrecy; above all
they were forbidden to take any apprentices from the people among
whom they were working. In France, where so many of these Altarists
settled, these restrictions were the cause of constant friction, but
so successfully were they as a rule enforced, that we find that, in
the case of more than one centre of the new industry, it was
necessary during a period of at least a century to have recourse from
time to time to the original source at L’Altare, to replace the
Italian workmen who had died or wandered off to other towns. For like
their rivals from Murano, these Altarists were always on the move. We
are reminded in this of the wandering porcelain ‘arcanists’ of the
eighteenth century, who carried from one German court to another the
secrets of their craft. To give but a single example; M. Schuermans
has traced one of these _gentilshommes de verre_ in migrations that
led him successively to London, Liége, Maestricht, Rouen, and Paris.

In what respect, if in any, did the glass manufactured by these
‘licensed’ craftsmen from L’Altare, differ from that made by their
rivals the ‘outlaws’ from Murano? This is a question that we are not in
a position to answer. That there was some difference in style of
working, and not merely in the technical excellence of the glass, would
seem to be proved by the expression ‘_à la façon d’Altare_,’ or ‘_ad
uso d’Altare_,’ so often applied to it. There is no doubt that the
glass made ‘_à la façon de Venise_’ was, on the whole, regarded as of
greater excellence, and that in the impossibility of obtaining workmen
from Murano, the resort to the Consuls at L’Altare was in a measure a
_pis aller_. We must not, however, as has sometimes been done, look
upon the craftsmen from the latter town as incapable of producing
anything of artistic merit. On the contrary, they not only turned out a
true _cristallo_, but much of the enamelled glass that was so
successfully made in France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
came in all probability from furnaces worked by Altarists.

In fact, our ignorance on this point affords an excellent example of a
difficulty that is met with again and again in this history of
ours,—the difficulty, I mean, of controlling our literary material by
means of the scanty examples of glass that have come down to us. It
would require a large shelf in a library to hold all the bulky volumes
dealing with the history of French glass that have of late years been
published, works that are due above all to the local patriotism and the
industry of provincial investigators. For books of this kind, the
fashion was set as long ago as 1864 by M. Benjamin Fillon in his _L’Art
du Verre chez les Poitevins_. Since then have appeared not mere
_brochures_, but in many cases portly volumes tracing the history of
the manufacture in Normandy, Picardy, Lorraine, Nevers, Lyons, and
Provence. M. Schuermans has devoted to France a long letter, chiefly
concerned with the settlements of Altarist workmen (_op. cit._, vol.
xxxi.). And yet not only are specimens of glass, undoubtedly French, of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries comparatively rare, but in very
few cases can anything more than a guess be made as to the provinces to
which these specimens are to be attributed. Such attributions indeed,
when attempted, have for the most part had to be based either upon the
armorial bearings forming part of the enamelled decoration, or again
upon the localities where the glasses have been found—and these are
criteria that fail in most cases.

Among the many anomalies that we encounter in the course of this
inquiry—and surely in no kindred branch of art history are so many met
with—there is nothing more surprising than the numerous important
‘developments’ of glass of one kind or another, for which we may search
in vain a rational explanation—unless, indeed, it is the corresponding
fact of the unexplained barrenness of certain periods and countries
where such poverty would have been the least expected. One source of
this apparent caprice in the presence or absence of glass of artistic
merit at times and at places where the contrary might have been looked
for, may be found, perhaps, in the fact that although, since Roman days
at all events, the making of glass has always been an important
industry, it is an industry that has only incidentally come into
connection with the æsthetic movements of the time.[166] Some such
explanation may perhaps be given for the comparatively subordinate
place taken by France in the history of artistic glass, at least until
quite recent days. In one department of the vitreous arts the French
occupied no doubt for a time the premier place—the stained glass of
their cathedrals is acknowledged to be the finest in Europe. But in our
branch of the manufacture, a branch for which, curiously enough, the
French alone have provided a name—_la verrerie_—that nation has never
occupied a prominent position. Since Roman times, the first place as
producers of glass vessels of artistic importance has been held in
succession by Byzantine Greeks, by Saracens, by Venetians, by Germans,
and for a moment by the English. It is only quite of late, since the
commencement of the last quarter of the nineteenth century in fact,
that any claim for such a position could be made for the French. And
yet, in spite of this, the literature of that special subdivision of
the _arts du feu_ with which we are here concerned is especially a
French one, and this is true not only for the technical and industrial
side of the subject, but for the artistic and historical in an even
greater degree.

I have spoken of the determined way in which these wandering Italians
kept themselves apart from the native workmen, so that the secrets of
their craft were preserved through more than one generation. In time,
however, in France at any rate, not a few of these Italian craftsmen
became sedentary, and not the least curious result of the recent
researches by French and Belgian _archivistes_ has been to show how
certain well-known families of glass-makers from L’Altare settled down
in various parts of France, where their representatives may now be
found, many of them still engaged in the same work. So that, thanks to
these investigations, the Saroldi of L’Altare have been provided with
distant cousins in the Sarode family of Poitou; in similar manner the
Ferri are represented by the Ferry of Provence, great glass-masters at
the present day; the Massari by the Massary of Lorraine; and the
Bormioli by the Bormiolles of Normandy and the Nivernais. All these
four families were admitted long since to the noblesse of France[167]
(Schuermans, _Letter XI._, 1892).

It is difficult to form any definite idea of the nature of the craft
secrets of these Italians. It can hardly have related to the more
obvious materials employed, for as early as 1555 (and it was only about
the year 1548 that the great emigration of the Altarists began) the
Oriental soda, the _rocchetta_ of Neri, which was brought by Venetian
galleys from Alexandria, had in France been already displaced by the
Spanish soda or _barilla_, a material that has held its place until
recent times. This _barilla_ was made from the famous soda plant, the
_Salsola sativa_, which, we are told, was grown from seed in various
parts of the province of Murcia, and exported from the adjacent port of
Alicante. So again the quartz pebbles from the bed of the Ticino, so
highly prized by the early Venetian glass-makers, were early replaced
by the pure white sand of Étaples.[168]

There is, however, in this connection, one point worth notice. It is
impossible to prepare a workable glass from quartz and alkali alone;
the presence of a certain quantity of lime is essential. Now in the
forest glass—the _verre de fougère_—sufficient lime (or equivalent
bases) is provided by the impurities in the crude potash employed; but
this is no longer the case when the more carefully prepared Oriental or
Spanish soda takes its place: it is now necessary to supply additional
lime. It is not impossible that the secret of the shrewd Italians may
have lain in this direction.

When speaking of the mediæval glass of France, I have brought forward
some evidence to show that, by the fourteenth century at least, vessels
of glass must have been produced in large quantities for domestic use.
This of course was, without exception, _verre de fougère_, essentially
the glass of the people, which for long was little influenced by the
new Italian methods. It was this glass chiefly that was hawked round
the country by itinerant vendors. Their cry was well known in
Paris—‘_Gentils verres, verres jolis—à deux liards les verres de
pierre!_’ Others, as in old days at Rome (see the quotation from
Martial on p. 82, note), collected broken glass to the cry of
‘_Chambrières, regardez-y!—Voirre cassez, Voirre cassez!_’[169]
Bernard Palissy, writing towards the end of the sixteenth century,
gives but a mean idea not only of the hawkers, but of the makers of
glass in his day:—‘Je te prie, considère un peu les verres qui, pour
avoir esté trop communs entre les hommes, sont devenuz à un prix si vil
que la plupart de ceux qui les font vivent plus méchaniquement que ne
font les crocheteurs de Paris ... et ces verres sont venduz et criez,
par les villages, par ceux mêmes qui crient les vieux chapeaux et les
vieilles ferrailles’ (quoted by Gerspach, p. 193).

It was only when the secrets of the pure _cristallo_ and the
application of enamels were introduced from Italy that glass began to
take a more honourable position in France. We cannot safely trace back
the foreign influence to an earlier date than the middle of the
fifteenth century, and it was not brought into full play till just a
century later.

The name of René, ‘king of Sicily and Jerusalem,’ and ruler under
various titles in Provence, Anjou, and Lorraine, was at one time a name
to conjure with in matters connected with art and literature, above all
in the south of France. Of late years there has been a tendency to
strip this much harassed king of many of his claims to distinction as a
patron of the arts. There seems, however, every reason to connect his
name with the introduction of the finer sorts of glass into France,
not, of course, of the industry as a whole, though even this was at one
time claimed for René. There is evidence to show that as early as 1443
a member of the Ferro family[170] of L’Altare was working for him at
Goult, in Provence. This would be the earliest instance known to us of
Italian glass-workers in France.

King René, we are told, presented to his nephew Louis XI. some pieces
of glass ‘_molt variolés et bien peincts_.’ But we can hardly refer to
so early a date the beaker of enameled glass formerly preserved at Aix,
painted inside with the kneeling figure of the Magdalen by the side of
her Master, so arranged that the former was only visible when the cup
had been drained; so that, as the inscription quaintly expressed it:—

                       ‘_Qui bien boira
                         Dieu verra
                     Qui boira tout d’une haleine
                     Verra Dieu et la Madelaine._’

It was but a few years later, in 1448, that the famous charter of which
a nearly contemporary copy has fortunately been preserved, was granted
to certain glass-workers in Lorraine by Jean de Calabre, governor of
that duchy in place of his father, King René. In this document we have
early evidence of the claim of the glass-workers to the rights of
gentlemen.[171] Full recognition is given to the ‘_plusieurs beaux
droitz, libertez, franchises et prérogatives, et dont eulx et leurs
prédécesseurs ayant joui et usé de tous temps passez et esté tenus et
réputez en telle franchise comme chevaliers estimez et gens nobles
dudit duchié de Lorrainne_.’ Then follows a list of all these
privileges, not the least important being the exemption from ‘_toutes
tailles, aydes, subsides, d’ost, de giste et de chevaulchiées

This is by no means the earliest French document in which the claim to
some kind of nobility is made for the profession. As far back as the
later thirteenth century, in the reign of Philippe le Bel, the
glass-workers of Champagne claimed similar rights, basing their
pretensions on certain edicts of Constantine and on others found in the
Theodosian Code! Charles VI., whose interest in the manufacture of
glass has been already referred to (p. 137), in his _Lettres Royales_
of 1399, granted important rights to the glass-makers, ‘_à cause de la
noblesse du dict mestier_.’ These privileges, however, were confined to
those whose ancestors had followed the craft for several generations.

But for all this, these poor ‘_gentilshommes de verre_’ never obtained
that complete recognition in France that had always been granted to
their brother craftsmen at Venice and L’Altare, and their claims at
times exposed them to ridicule. There is an often-quoted epigram,
directed against one of their number (it is probably by François
Maynard, a follower of Ronsard), which well expresses the popular
feeling with regard to their position—

                     ‘_Votre noblesse est mince;
                     Car ce n’est pas d’un prince,
                     Daphnis, que vous sortez.
                     Gentilhomme de verre,
                     Si vous tombez à terre,
                     Adieu vos qualités._’

The question of these _gentilshommes verriers_ was fully discussed by
the late M. Garnier in his book upon glass (_La Verrerie_, p. 174
_seq._), and he quotes passages from contemporary documents to show
both the extent of the claims and the ambiguous position actually held
by these needy gentry in the eighteenth century. At that time they were
still always referred to as _gentilshommes_, and they vindicated their
social status by fighting duels among themselves. Their position,
however, was often very wretched, less so, indeed, in Normandy than in
Lorraine, where the competition of the Germans was so keen. It is a
significant fact that at the Revolution they as a body joined the party
of the _émigrés_, and actually petitioned M. D’Artois to enrol them in
a special corps. One point is clear: the profession of glass-worker was
at all times in France open to the nobility, and this, of course, was
not the case with other crafts and trades.

This long digression upon the position of the glass-workers in France
was started by certain expressions in the charter granted to the
glass-makers of Lorraine by the son of King René. Not a little interest
attaches to the production of this eastern district; its history, as
concerns glass, differs from that of the more essentially French
provinces.[172] Here the Italians, whether from Murano or L’Altare,
appear to have had little influence. In Lorraine, as in the lower Rhine
country and in the bishopric of Liége—closely related districts—the
making of glass had probably been carried on continuously from Roman
times. In the Ardennes, and especially in the forests of Argonnes and
in the Vosges, the manufacture early took on a purely industrial
character. At the end of the sixteenth century it was claimed by the
glass-makers of the last district that they supplied Switzerland, the
Low Countries, and England with glass; and we shall see later on that
it was from glass-workers from Lorraine, more definitely from the
western Vosges, that we in England learned so much in the later
sixteenth century. These Lorrainers owed their chief fame to their
skill in making window-panes and mirrors, and the old tradition may be
held to be still carried on in the great glass-works at Baccarat, near

I have no space to follow the working of the new methods in Poitou and
in the south, but a few words may be said of the glass-houses
established at NEVERS in the sixteenth century. At that time the
dukedom of the Nivernais was held by the Gonzaga family of Mantua, who
had already acquired the marquisate of Montferrat, upon which the town
of L’Altare was dependent. Louis of Gonzaga, who died in 1595, was as a
patron of the arts quite abreast of his time, and we may note that
besides his possessions in France and Italy he held much land in
Flanders and the Liége country, and that he was married to a princess
of the house of Cleves. The old town of Nevers became for a time an
artistic centre of some importance. In the handsome renaissance palace
built in part by this said Louis (his arms are to be seen carved in
bold relief on the walls), there is now gathered together an important
collection of the enamelled fayence for which the town is famous, and
also a few examples of the local glass, but none of this last is, I
think, of so early a date as the sixteenth century. Altarists had
doubtless come to Nevers before the time of the Duke Louis, but it was
during his rule that the Saroldo family settled here, a family famous
especially for their skill in the use of glass enamels. To the Saroldo
succeeded the Ponta family; and in the seventeenth century Jean
Castellano came from Liége: in addition to these Altarists, Venetian
workmen were employed at times. It is, indeed, a noticeable fact that
here in the very centre of France these glass-works should, for
something like two hundred years, have been dependent upon Italian

[Illustration: _PLATE XXXV_



The glass of Nevers acquired some general renown in the seventeenth
century. Thomas Corneille, the younger brother of the great dramatist,
calls the town a ‘_petit Murane de Venise_,’ and praises the ‘_variété
des divers ouvrages de verre qui s’y font et qu’on transporte dans
toutes les provinces de la France_.’ In this case—quite exceptionally
as regards France—we can associate a special _genre_ or application of
glass—a somewhat trifling one, to be sure—with the local
glass-houses. In the already mentioned museum in the Ducal Palace may
be seen some of these ‘_gentillesses a’émail propres à orner les
cabinets, les cheminées et les armoires_.’ Here may be found landscape
scenes with cows and shepherdesses built up of fragments of glass of
various colours,—these childish compositions are apparently executed
with the blow-pipe. We are told in the journal of Jean Héroard, the
physician to Louis XIII., that when that king was a child he amused
himself with certain ‘_petits chiens de verre et autres animaux faits à
Nevers_.’ Among the scanty specimens of French glass in the British
Museum are some quaint little figures, about four inches in height,
built up of coloured glass enamels. We see there a little statuette of
Louis XIV. strutting along attired as a Roman emperor; there is another
of St. James the Apostle. These characteristic examples of _verroterie_
may very plausibly be referred to the glass-blowers of Nevers at the
end of the seventeenth century[173] (Plate XXXV. 1).

The province of NORMANDY has played a not unimportant part in the
history of glass. It was from the Norman duchy and from Brittany,
according to the tradition preserved at L’Altare, that the
glass-workers wandered forth in the tenth or eleventh century to find a
more peaceable home at L’Altare, in the mountains above the Ligurian
coast. As early as the year 1302 we hear of the famous glass-house at
La Haye, in the forest of Lyons, near Rouen. This is in a charter which
mentions incidentally the bracken, the ‘_feucheriam ad faciendum
vitrum_’—for all this early glass was, as I have said, _verre de
fougère_—which was to be cut only at specified times. It was here,
about the year 1330, that Philippe de Cacqueray is said to have first
made the _plasts de verre_, otherwise known as _verre de France_,[174]
for long the most important product of the Norman glass-houses. These
_plasts_ were indeed merely small sheets of glass, with a thickening or
‘bull’s-eye’ in the centre; they were made by the familiar ‘spinning’
process, which, however, must surely have been known before the
fourteenth century. In any case this _verre de France_ was widely
exported at a later time, and much of it must have found its way into
England.[175] It would appear that the gentlemen of the _grosses
verreries_ where this window-glass was made, held their heads above
those of _petites verreries_ which turned out only ‘hollow ware,’ and
this fact would point to the outcome of the latter works not being of a
very superior kind. If, however, we may judge from the examples
reproduced by M. Gerspach (_L’Art de la Verrerie_, figs. 104-113) from
the collection of M. le Breton, who has done for Norman glass what M.
Fillon has done for that of Poitou, the table-ware made in Normandy
during the seventeenth century possessed no little artistic merit, and
what is more, it had a _cachet_ of its own.

In the seventeenth century, however, the history of glass in France
centres round the manufacture of plate-glass by the new process of
_coulage_ or casting. After the middle of the century a demand arose in
France for large sheets of clear glass, not so much for windows, it
would seem, as for the tall mirrors that were now coming into fashion,
and again for the _portières_ of the ‘glass-coaches’ of the nobility.
Colbert, the great minister of the early and glorious days of Louis
XIV., was in despair because the large panes of glass suitable for
these purposes had to be obtained from Venice or from Nuremberg. After
an unsuccessful attempt to establish a colony of Muranese workmen in
Paris, Colbert had recourse to a Norman family of glass-makers, the De
Néhou, who had lately succeeded the De Cacqueray at Tourlaville, near
Cherbourg. It was in 1675 that Louis Lucas de Néhou was put in charge
of the royal glass-works at Paris, where he perfected his great
discovery of the method of casting glass. He was able to turn out
sheets of unprecedented size by a process in which the ‘metal’ was
poured upon frames, spread out evenly by rollers, and subsequently

The _Manufacture Royale des Glaces_ was removed in 1693 to the Château
de St. Gobain, not far from Laon. The St. Gobain works have for two
hundred years held a pre-eminent position in Europe for the manufacture
of plate-glass. This subject of plate-glass is indeed a little outside
our limits: for the student of the architecture and the decorative arts
of the eighteenth century it is, however, one of no little importance.

I have been able to do little more than select a few examples that have
seemed to me of especial interest from the well-filled records of the
French glass-workers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and
many important centres have been passed over without comment,—Nantes,
for instance, frequented above all by the Altarists; and Poitou, the
source, according to M. Fillon, of many of the finest extant examples
of French enamelled glass. In both these districts members of the
Saroldo family settled—in Brittany they were prominent for over two

In Paris, or rather in the Isle de France, the glass-works of St.
Germain-en-Laye were for a time under direct royal patronage. It was
there, soon after 1552, that Teseo Mutio made for Henri II. ‘_verres,
myroirs et canons_.’[176] Although the king pronounced Mutio’s work to
be equal to that of the Venetians, these glass-houses had but a short

In 1604 a special commission was appointed in Paris to deal with the
difficulty that arose from the obstinate refusal of the Altarists to
teach the French apprentices the secrets of their craft. It was
proposed to get over this obstacle by the naturalisation of the
Italians, but to judge from the continued importation of fresh batches
of foreigners, this measure had but little practical result.

But what examples, it may be asked, can we point to that would throw
light on the nature of the glass made during these centuries by this
succession of Italians, to say nothing of the production of the native
_gentilshommes_? Nowhere in France, as far as I know, is there to be
found anything in the nature of a representative collection to
illustrate the history of native glass. The nearest approach is no
doubt to be discovered in the scattered examples in the Louvre, and
above all in the Hôtel de Cluny, where there are many curious specimens
of the French enamelled glass of the sixteenth and seventeenth

It is to the Venetian enamelled glass of the fifteenth century, to the
goblets of the _coppa nuziale_ class, that we must go back to find the
prototype of what is by far the most interesting family of French
glass. In France these _verres à pied_, enamelled with portrait-heads
or symbolical figures, continued in vogue well into the seventeenth
century, long after the fashion for such work had passed away at
Venice. The enamelling itself on this French glass is not remarkable
for brilliancy, but there is often some native _verve_ in the treatment
of the figures, and a true Gallic ring about the mottoes and verses
that accompany them. Of these ‘_devises, souhaits, proverbes,
dédicaces, vers et maximes_,’ we may distinguish two classes: in the
one case they are of a more or less gallant character, or contain
personal references; in the other a religious sentiment or a pious
quotation is found, generally of such a nature as to suggest that the
original owner belonged to the reformed church. It is sometimes
difficult nowadays to seize the connection between the device and the
subject which it accompanies. Thus on a fine stemless goblet in the
Musée de Cluny we see three halberdiers standing as on sentry duty; the
accompanying motto, ‘_En la sueur de ton visaige tu mangeras le pain_,’
has been interpreted as referring to the hard life of the soldier. Of a
more gallant character are the figures and devices on a goblet of
yellow enamelled glass in the British Museum (Slade, No. 824). A
gentleman in the costume of the time of Henri II. offers a flower to a
lady with the remark, ‘JE SUIS A VOVS.’ The latter—she holds a
padlocked heart in her hand—replies ‘MÕ CUER AVÉS.’ In addition to
these figures we see a goat (_bouc_) drinking from a vase, and this we
may connect with the inscription that encircles the bowl—‘JE SVIS A
VOVS JEHAN BOUCAU ET ANTOYNETE BOUC.’ This is doubtless a marriage cup,
and the name Boucau points, it is said, to a Provençal origin.

As in our country, though in a somewhat less degree, the Gothic feeling
in design lingered long in France, at least in the more remote
provinces. An enamelled glass basin, preserved in the museum at Rennes
(figured by M. Gerspach, p. 199), bears round the margin in large
Gothic letters the words—PRION ⁝ DIEU ⁝ QUI ⁝ NOUS ⁝ PARDON ⁝ 1597. On
the ground of the style of decoration, to say nothing of the lettering,
this bowl might well, in the absence of the date, have been referred to
the fifteenth century.

Perhaps the oldest example that has been preserved of this French
enamelled glass is the tazza in the Cluny Museum, with the arms of
Louis XII. and Anne of Brittany. This cup must date from the early
years of the sixteenth century.

There is one variety of enamelled glass, Venetian in its origin, which
we in England generally associate with France, although there are scant
references to it in the French authors who have described the glass of
their country. I refer to the ‘splashed’ glass, an old method of
decoration indeed, for we have found something very like it on certain
little unguent vases of the ancient Egyptians. In the present case the
enamels—red, yellow, blue, and white—lie in oval masses on the
surface, reminding one in some cases of the sections of the pebbles on
a piece of polished pudding-stone. How these enamels were splashed on
to the unfinished _paraison_ has been already described (p. 64). I may
add that the little barrel-shaped flask (the _barillet_ or _bariz_ of
the old writers) to which this decoration is sometimes applied, is a
characteristic French form.

Among the French glass in the British Museum may be seen some little
scent-bottles or burettes of moulded glass, decorated with
_fleurs-de-lis_ in relief. These are generally attributed to a certain
Bernard Perrot of Orleans, to whom, in 1662, extensive privileges were
granted by Colbert. We are told by a contemporary writer (Abraham du
Pradel, _Livre Commode_, 1691) that this Perrot imitated agates and
gems as well as the porcelain of China, and that he cast his glass into
moulds to obtain bas-reliefs and other ornaments. This early reference
to the copying of porcelain by means of opaque white glass is of some
interest. I do not know what precise source has been found for the
little cups of this milky glass of which there are some examples among
the French glass in the British Museum—they are painted with a rudely
executed floral decoration of a somewhat Oriental type—but they may
without doubt be connected with one of the many attempts made at this
time or somewhat later to imitate the porcelain of the Far East. This
opaque white French glass should be compared with a very similar ware
made at Barcelona, of which something will be said in the next chapter.

                               CHAPTER XV


Before going on to speak of the glass made in Spain, it will be well to
say a few words of that made in the Spanish Netherlands during the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Here, as might be expected from the course of trade, the Venetian
influence was early felt, and before long became predominant. In the
northern provinces, on the other hand, the old Teutonic traditions,
both as to form and material, continued on the whole unchanged to a
much later period, so that the glass of the United Provinces will be
best dealt with in connection with that of Germany.

Already in the fourteenth century the Venetian galleys brought the
glass of Murano to the Flemish ports. In some cases this glass was held
worthy of being mounted in silver. A goblet and an _aiguière_ are
mentioned in an inventory of 1379 as the property of Charles V. of
France. These pieces are indeed described as ‘_voirres blants de
Flandre_’: it is, however, very probable that they came in the first
place from Venice.

As early as 1541 Venetian glass-workers were settled at Antwerp, but,
as in France, the great invasion took place shortly after the middle of
the century. It must be borne in mind that what we know of the
wanderings of these _gentilshommes de verre_ from Venice and from
L’Altare is derived almost exclusively from the researches of Belgian
antiquaries and _archivistes_. In the already quoted works of Houday,
of Pinchart, and above all in the earlier and later letters of the
Belgian judge, the President Schuermans, we have a wealth of
information. M. Schuermans has traced these Italian glass-workers to
Antwerp, to Brussels, to Namur, to Liége, Maestricht and Huy, and in
the northern provinces to Bois-le-Duc, Middelburg, Haarlem, and
Amsterdam. There was a great rivalry between the Muranese, who on the
whole predominated at Antwerp, and the Altarists, whom we find for the
most part at Liége: these were the two most important centres. The Low
Countries indeed became before long a second home to these Italians,
whence they wandered out again to France, England, and Spain.

While at Antwerp the true Venetian _cristallo_ was imported free of
duty, the imitations of that glass, the _voirre de cristal, à la
faschion de Venise_, made over the French frontier at Mézières or in
Germany, and often difficult to distinguish from the originals, were
strictly excluded, and these fiscal regulations were enforced by the
most tyrannical measures. The case is well put by Mr. Hartshorne:
‘There were,’ he says, ‘in the Low Countries in the beginning of the
seventeenth century, real Venetian glasses imported from Venice,
Venetian glasses legally made in the Low Countries, those illegally
made, and foreign imitations of Venetian glass’ (_Old English Glasses_,
p. 39). Apart from these varieties of _cristallo_ glass, the old _verre
de fougère_ doubtless continued to be manufactured.

Before the end of the sixteenth century, the glass-houses of Antwerp
where glass _à la façon de Venise_ was made had acquired a European
reputation. They stood quite apart from the other furnaces in France or
in the Netherlands where Italians were employed. Lodovico Guicciardini,
the historian of the Netherlands, speaks as early as 1567 of the
‘_vassella di vetro alla Veneziana_’ made in Antwerp, and in the later
editions of his work (_Descrizione di Tutti Paesi Bassi_) some further
details are given. The testimony of another Florentine, Neri, from
whose little book on glass I have already quoted, is still stronger. It
was at Antwerp, he tells us, not at Venice, that he had studied the
processes of glass-making.

If Antwerp thus early held a commanding position in Spanish Flanders,
in the Walloon country the glass-houses of Liége in the course of the
seventeenth century grew to a position of even greater importance. This
was due above all to the enterprise of the great firm of the De
Bonhommes, who before the end of the century had almost a monopoly of
the glass trade in those parts: they even established subsidiary works
beyond the frontier in such places as Verdun. They were one of the
first on the Continent to see the importance of the new English
flint-glass; at all events it is recorded that as early as 1680 they
made flint-glass _à l’Anglaise_,[177] and were thus able to withstand
the Bohemian[178] competition which at that time was carrying
everything before it.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Bohemian engraved glass
was copied in both the Walloon and Flemish parts of what is now
Belgium. Indeed when the latter district fell under Austrian rule early
in the eighteenth century, there was naturally a tendency to encourage
Bohemian methods of decoration. Specimens of this engraved glass may be
seen in the museums of many Belgian towns, but I have seen nothing to
equal, in spirit and high finish, the contemporary engraved glass of
the United Provinces. As for the earlier _cristallo_ made at Antwerp,
say from 1550 to 1650, the difficulty is to distinguish, in the case of
the specimens that have survived, the local work from that imported
from Venice, and we have evidence that even at the time the native
experts could not always do so.[179]

I must in conclusion just say one word about a source of information
for the sixteenth and seventeenth century glass of the Low Countries
which is for the most part wanting in the case of other countries. We
have seen how little can be learned from the works of contemporary
Venetian painters, of the famous glass of Murano (p. 202). But in the
north it is quite otherwise; not only in the pictures of the still-life
painters, but in _genre_ scenes, and sometimes even in paintings of a
devotional character, we meet with carefully drawn examples of glass.
It thus happens that the works of the Flemish and Dutch painters of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries throw a great deal of light upon
the kinds of glass to be found both in the village alehouses and on the
buffets of the wealthy. We can take note of the competition of the old
heavy Teutonic forms with the Italian _cristallo_, a competition which
continued in force during all this period.

It is, however, from a work of the Cologne school, from a picture of
the early sixteenth century, now in the Louvre, representing the Last
Supper,[180] that I will take my first example. Here on the table we
see a decanter with tall neck, delicately gadrooned, of distinctly
Venetian type. The drinking-glasses also are apparently of _cristallo_
of the well-known fifteenth-century form, without stem or knop. The cup
of Christ alone has a cover. But there are also on the table several
cups or beakers of a deep green glass, studded with small
bosses—‘prunted’ glass, in fact, of a pure Teutonic type.

These two families of glass may be traced, often side by side, in much
later works—in the pictures of the Flemish and Dutch schools of the
seventeenth century. In the paintings of the former school, however, a
clear white glass soon becomes prevalent even in humble surroundings.
In the _cabaret_ scenes of Teniers, the peasant drinks his beer from a
tall hexagonal glass of thick whitish metal. The wine is kept in
spherical long-necked flasks—a very old type which we have often met
with in our history—a plug of rolled paper taking the place of a cork;
it is drunk from wide-mouthed conical glasses of thin white metal.
Similar glasses appear indeed in the pictures of the Dutch painters (as
in more than one painting by Metsu and De Hooghe in the National
Gallery). But in Holland, in the seventeenth century, the dark green or
almost black prunted goblets of _roemer_ type were apparently held in
even greater estimation. In the famous terrace scene of Jan Steen
(National Gallery, No. 1421), the wine, which is kept in a large
pear-shaped glass vessel with a stopper of wood, is drunk from a small
graceful _roemer_. In J. van de Velde’s still-life in the same
collection (No. 1255) we see again a magnificent _roemer_, of very dark
glass, with prunted stem and threaded foot, half filled with Rhenish
wine.[181] But if we turn again to the Flemish painters of this later
time, we find that when in rich interiors they introduce specimens of
glass among other _objets de vertu_, this glass is always of a Venetian
type. There is one such painter, a follower of Jan Brueghel apparently,
who loves to introduce among a wealth of plate and jewellery, piled on
tables and shelves and even on the floor, the most elaborate specimens
of the fine _cristallo_ of Venice, proving in what esteem this glass
was then held in the Spanish Netherlands. I might give many further
examples, but enough has been said to show that as in the case of
porcelain, of fayence and of plate, so for the history of glass, a mine
of information may be found in the _genre_ and other pictures of the
Netherlandish school.

[Illustration: _PLATE XXXVI_



                             SPANISH GLASS

In the case of France we have seen how vast is the amount of
documentary evidence concerning the glass of the renaissance, and how
comparatively scanty on the other hand the in every way more
satisfactory evidence to be drawn from the examination of existing
specimens. Now in the case of Spanish glass these conditions are in
some measure reversed. We here find the documentary evidence almost
entirely wanting, but we in England, at any rate, have in the British
Museum, and more especially at South Kensington, fairly extensive
collections of glass from the Peninsula. I will not say that most of
the examples are of any great artistic, still less of technical merit.
Far too many pieces in the latter collection are but sorry imitations
of debased French and English models of the eighteenth century, and
even later times. But as we shall see, not a few types, earlier in
style if not in actual date, may be distinguished, and these have a
distinct local flavour.

This is the case above all with a class of rudely executed vessels that
are found in the south of Spain—in Murcia, Andalucia, and Granada. The
metal itself is of a primitive type, of various shades of green and
bluish-green. Indeed, one of the points of interest in this South
Spanish glass is to be found in the fact that it is essentially a glass
of the people: it is a survival from mediæval times, and it thus throws
light upon the long extinct _verre de fougère_ or _wald-glas_ that was
made all over the west of Europe before the introduction of the
Venetian _cristallo_. Not that this Spanish glass is necessarily of the
inland or potash family; we are here in a Mediterranean country, and
the alkali has probably been found in the native soda-holding barilla.
The shapes taken by this rude glass of the south of Spain often
resemble those found in the local pottery; one is reminded at times of
the graceful water-jars that are indeed common to nearly all the
Mediterranean coast. A Moorish origin has been found for some of these
forms, but we may perhaps go further back and call them Byzantine. The
most characteristic shape is a vase with spherical body and with a tall
expanding neck in the form of a truncated cone; neck and body are
united by a series of handles, often eight or more in number (Plate
XXXVI.). Now not only these handles, with their upper and lower
attachments worked while hot by the pincers into toothed and crested
forms, but the whole of the _appliqué_ ornaments of the vessel—the
threadings and the rude floral reliefs—take one back to a very old
plan of decoration. This was a style much in favour in later Roman
times—it is one that is perhaps _per se_ the most characteristic and
natural of all methods of treating the surface of glass. A similar
many-handled vase is a common type among the peasant pottery of the
same districts of Southern Spain; on this we find the same ring of
handles, while the _appliqué_ threadings and rosettes of the glass are
replaced by a similarly applied slip ornament. This pottery is still
manufactured for local use, but I do not know whether any of the rude
green glass is produced at the present day.

We have little or no information about the glass made in Spain during
the Moorish domination. There is a vague tradition that the manufacture
was carried on in Murcia and Andalucia, and Al Makari, the historian,
states on the authority of an author of the thirteenth century, that
Almeria was famous for its vessels of glass as well as for those of
iron and copper.[182]

It is the district lying inland, some distance to the north of Almeria,
that has long, probably from Moorish times, been the centre of the
glass industry of the south of Spain;—this is especially true of Pinar
de la Vidriera and of Castril de la Peña. At this latter town, Don Juan
Riaño tells us, glass has been made from time without memory, and
indeed is still made there. ‘A gallery one mile long which exists at
the entry of the town from which sand has been extracted for this
manufacture, gives an idea of the antiquity of this industry’
(_Industrial Arts of Spain_, p. 232).

There is only one other centre of the manufacture of glass in Spain
that need detain us. This lies in the coast district of Catalonia,
above all around Barcelona; for this town we have direct evidence of
the manufacture as far back as the early part of the fourteenth
century.[183] At this time the Catalan mariners were the boldest and
the most skilful in the whole Mediterranean, and active rivals of the
Venetians in the ports of the Levant. Now there is one variety of
enamelled glass formerly attributed to Venice, which, as is at present
generally acknowledged, has its origin in the Peninsula: much of it was
made at Barcelona. The prevailing note of the enamel on this glass is a
very beautiful apple-green, of two tints, one passing into yellow. This
colour is sometimes found alone, at others associated with a few
touches of other enamels—a lavender blue, for instance, but these
other colours are of no great brilliancy. The green much resembles that
found on the enamelled glass of the Saracens, where, however, this
colour was always sparingly applied. The patterns on the Catalan glass
are generally of a formal floral character, often built up of sprigs
radiating from a centre. But technically the most noticeable point in
this enamel is the method of its application. As in the case of the
Saracenic glass, it is laid on with a loaded brush; it lies in thick
semi-transparent masses on the surface. As a result we have a rich and
jewel-like effect that we may look for in vain in the flat opaque
painting that we see on so many European wares. There are several
pieces of this glass in the British Museum, but the most beautiful
example that I have seen is in the Museo Civico at Venice. This is a
little flask lately acquired from the Maglione collection at Naples;
the dominant green enamel is here relieved by some yellowish foliage
and by red and white birds.

I do not think that any existing example of this green enamelled glass
could be safely referred to an earlier date than the end of the
fifteenth century. But it is not improbable that the Catalans learned
the use of these enamels not from the Venetians, but directly from
Saracenic or Jewish glass-workers in some of the ports of the Levant.
Such a distant source for this decoration, which is indeed somewhat
Oriental in character, I think more probable than a local one in Spain,
for we have no evidence that the Moors, when they held the Peninsula,
ever practised the art of enamelling glass, nor indeed were the
Catalans, after very early times, ever brought much into contact with
their Mohammedan neighbours: their main dealings were with the Levant.

That the glass of Barcelona was widely known and held in some repute
before the end of the fifteenth century, the following notices go far
to prove. As early as 1491—so it is stated in a contemporary Latin
manuscript—glass vessels of various shapes, resembling those made at
Venice, were exported to Rome from Barcelona. Again, when Philippe le
Beau passed through the latter town in 1503, we are told that he went
‘_en dehors de la ville veoire ung four ou faict voires de cristallin
très beaus_’ (Schuermans, _Bulletin_ xxix. p. 138 _seq._). Finally,
Ferdinand of Aragon, about the same time, is reported to have sent to
Queen Isabella a present of 274 pieces of glass manufactured in
Barcelona. That this glass must have been possessed of some artistic
merit we may infer from the fact that the Queen presented several
pieces to the Capella de los Reyes at Granada. These we may perhaps
identify with the _vasi di vedro_ seen among the treasures of this
chapel a few years later by the Venetian ambassador (Andrea Navagero,
_Viaggio in Spagna et in Francia_). M. Gerspach, I may add, calls
attention to an inventory drawn up during the reign of Philip II., in
which, under the heading of _bidrios de Barcelona_, 119 pieces of glass
of various forms are catalogued; among other things—and this is a
point of great interest—mention is made of some enamelled lamps.

At a much later date, not before the eighteenth century probably, a
good deal of opaque white glass, in imitation of porcelain, was made at
Barcelona. At South Kensington may be seen a series of quadrangular
flasks of this material with bevelled edges, about six inches in
height. These flasks—they probably served to hold essences and
spirits—are somewhat rudely painted with floral designs in bright
primitive colours—red, blue, and yellow. Both in India and Persia we
come across examples of glass decorated with ‘painted’ enamels, almost
identical in shape and size with these Spanish bottles. Not only these,
but some of the sherbet-jugs and coffee-cups of this milky glass, that
are still often found in many parts of the East, may well have come
from this district. It will be remembered, however, that a very similar
ware was made about the same time both in France and at Venice.

Other towns in Catalonia, as Cervelló, Almatret, and above all Mataró,
became famous for their glass in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. There is more than one record of distinguished foreign
princes who were conducted in royal galleys to visit the glass-works of
this last town.

M. Schuermans has discovered the names of more than twenty Italians
from L’Altare or from Venice, who found their way to Spain, in some
cases by way of Flanders. At Lisbon, too, in the seventeenth century,
there were many foreign glass-makers, Muranese, Altarists, and Flemings.

At Cadalso, in the province of Toledo, glass-furnaces were at work as
early as the beginning of the sixteenth century; indeed they are said
at that time to have supplied the whole kingdom of Castile. At these
works, at a somewhat later time, the Italian influence became very
strong, and no doubt many Muranese or Altarists were employed.

Before the end of the seventeenth century, the general decline so
noticeable in all the industries of Spain spread, it would seem, to the
glass-works. Workmen were now obtained chiefly from the Low Countries,
and in addition much glass was imported by sea from Antwerp. To how low
a state the glass industry had fallen at this time may be inferred from
the fact that orders for ‘Mexico and the Indies’ had to be executed
abroad. In the next century, when Spain had lost her Flemish
possessions, their place as a source of glass-ware was taken by France.
Philip V., about the year 1720, founded a royal glass manufactory near
his summer palace of La Granja de S. Ildefonso, and workmen were
gathered together from all sources—there were Germans and Swedes as
well as Frenchmen. These works were above all established, in rivalry
to St. Gobain (p. 235), for the preparation of large mirrors of
plate-glass, but all sorts of ‘hollow ware’ were also produced there.
This later Spanish glass, made to royal order, is, however, utterly
devoid of any interest, and it need not detain us.

                              CHAPTER XVI

                          THE GLASS OF GERMANY
    The Green Glass of the Rhine and the Netherlands—Enamelled Glass

It is as a matter of practical convenience that I have chosen not to
make a separate division for the ‘green glass’ of the Dutch of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Not that Holland was in any way
dependent on Germany in this matter, but in the case of this, the first
of the three main divisions of German glass of which I have to treat in
this and the following chapters—the plain or prunted green glass—the
produce of the two countries is very similar. Our second group—the
family of enamelled glass, so important in Germany—is scarcely
represented at all in Holland. On the other hand, in the case of our
third group, the Dutch struck out a line of their own. I shall
therefore treat of the engraved glass of Holland in a subsequent

It is remarkable how little is known of the nature of the glass made in
Germany before the first half of the sixteenth century, when the
Italian influence began to make itself felt. A few insignificant little
bowls and some small flasks that have served as reliquaries have been
preserved in the treasuries of German churches (Plate XXI.), but for
our principal source of information we are dependent upon contemporary
pictures. Here, however, we soon discover that it is rather to works of
the early Netherlandish school that we must turn for information, and
that even from this source practically nothing is to be gleaned until
about the second quarter of the fifteenth century. What is then found
is not of much note, small tumbler-like vessels for the most part, of
thick greenish glass decorated with threadings or studs, the latter
more or less of the nature of prunts. There is, however, one
fifteenth-century form which is of some interest: the metal-mounted
wooden cups of mazer-like form, in use at that time appear to have been
copied in glass; these may be recognised by their peculiar stunted and
sometimes coiled handles.[184]

These somewhat primitive vessels of the fifteenth century are of
interest as leading the way to the first important division of German
glass, the ‘Green Glass’ of Western Germany and the Netherlands.[185]
It is worthy of note that this family of glass, essentially of local
origin not only as regards the nature of the metal but also in respect
of the shape and the method of decoration, only reached its full
development in the course of the sixteenth century, at a time when the
new _cristallo_ was being made by Italian workmen in the same district.
There must have been something like a conscious reaction in favour of
the native forms and materials. As to the pronounced green colour, we
know that this was held to enhance the flavour of the wine drunk from
the glass; as far back as the early sixteenth century, iron and copper
scale were purposely added to supplement the pale tint given by the
iron contained in the impure native potash (Mathesius, _Sarepta_,

In the decoration of this green glass recourse was had to the old
methods of threading, but above all to the more or less circular
projections or bosses of varied forms that are found scattered over the
sides. These are technically known as ‘prunts’—the _nuppen_ of the
Germans. We have had something to say of one special form of these
protuberances when describing the glass of the Anglo-Saxons.[186] These
prunts fall into two groups: the _stechel-nuppen_ or thorned prunts, of
which the old Franco-Saxon form is an extreme type; and the
_beeren-nuppen_ or berry prunts, derived possibly in the first case
from the moulded reliefs of bunches of grapes that we find so often on
Roman glass. A third group might perhaps be made for another classical
form where the projections take the shape of a medallion—a head
stamped on the surface of the prunt while it is still soft.

These _nuppen_ had a practical use,—so Mathesius, a contemporary
writer, tells us.[187] They were to prevent the glass from slipping
between the fingers of the drinker. With a similar object—for the
_insertion_ of the fingers in this case—these prunts are sometimes
reversed, forming deep pits in the sides of the vessel. There is a late
example of this form at South Kensington and another in the British
Museum. The _stechel-nuppen_ may assume less aggressive forms; the
points may be smoothed down while the metal is soft, and we then have
merely a series of disc-like thickenings on the sides of the glass. By
this means, as in the more refined Dutch _roemer_ of the seventeenth
century, effects of great beauty, due to the varying transparency of
the glass, were obtained.

In colour this Rhenish glass may vary from a greenish-blue to a pale
bottle-green, or again to a deep, almost black, tint of olive-green or
violet. It is from glass of this description that the pale-coloured
wines of the country have been drunk, perhaps without break, from late
Roman times. This it is, as well as the fact that it has never been
decorated with enamel, and rarely, in Germany at least, by the wheel or
with the diamond, that has given to the green prunted glass of this
family a position apart. I have called this glass Rhenish, inasmuch as
the centre of the manufacture seems to have been around Cologne, whence
some of it found its way down the river to the Low Countries, along
with the wine that was drunk from it; but much green glass was, we
know, made also in the Netherlands.

From the _cultur-historisch_ point of view, perhaps the most striking
claim to attention of this family of German glass lies in the fact that
here we come across the one original and artistic form of wine-glass
that has been developed in modern times—apart, that is, from the
stemmed glass of Italian origin, about which there will be a good deal
to say in a future chapter. The typical _roemer_—for this of course is
the glass of which I am speaking—consists of three parts: a bowl of
ovoid outline, shaped like the flower of a tulip; a hollow cylindrical
stem, studded with mulberry-like prunts (often flattened out to discs);
and a hollow conical foot, formed by coiling a rope of glass round a
core of wood (Plate XXXVII.). Here we have the _roemer_ in the fully
developed form of the seventeenth century, as we see it in fact in the
still-life pictures of the Dutch painters of the time, or again—this
time in actual use—in the marksmen’s banquets (_schuttersmaaltyd_) of
Van der Helst and Frans Hals. In the earlier forms, however, the foot
is either entirely missing or is present only as a zig-zag or toothed
ring of glass applied to the base of the stem. In these early examples
again the broad hollow stem is not divided from the bowl by a diaphragm
of glass, but forms an integral part of the cup.[188] On the other
hand, before the end of the seventeenth century the cylindrical stem
was more and more encroached upon by the spun-foot, while the coiled
threading with which in earlier days the conical foot was entirely
built up was, in late examples, twisted round a glass support so as to
become a mere ornament[189] (Czihak, _Schlesische Gläser_, pp. 75
_seq._, and Hartshorne, _English Glasses_, pp. 66 _seq._).

[Illustration: _PLATE XXXVII_


ABOUT 1600, A.D.]

Of the Rhenish green glass, the only other forms that I shall mention
are the upright barrel-shaped beaker covered with prunts of various
forms, in which the _Mai-trank_, a kind of ‘cup,’ was brewed, and
finally the _Krautstrunk_ or cabbage-stalk, a tall cylindrical glass
bristling with formidable thorny prunts. Mathesius, who is responsible
for the picturesque name, already in the seventeenth century calls the
_Krautstrunk_ an old form. The form is indeed noticeable, for among
this family of green glass it is the only important instance of the
cylindrical shape so much in favour for the enamelled ware.

The green glass as a group is very poorly represented in our London
museums; as I have said, it can best be studied in the works of the
Dutch painters. The handsome _roemer_ in Jan van de Velde’s still-life
piece (National Gallery, No. 1255) may be taken as a typical example.


We must now turn again to the glass of Venice, and consider how far and
in what direction its influence can be traced upon that made in the
north. This much we know—that in the fifteenth century, and perhaps
earlier, the Venetian glass was largely imported into Germany, and this
not only on the backs of hawkers, for the large Venetian firms had
agencies in many German cities.[190] There were at that time depôts of
the Venetian merchants at such comparatively remote places as the
Silesian towns of Görlitz and Breslau, and early in the fifteenth
century the Italian glass was sold in the market-place of Vienna. At
this time, however, we are unable to trace any influence these
importations may have had upon the local German glass—of this last,
indeed, practically nothing is known. It would seem that it was not
until the sixteenth century was well advanced that any attempt was made
in Germany to compete with the Venetian _cristallo_. Like the mediæval
glass of France and England, the earlier German glass was doubtless a
mere household ware, of all descriptions the least likely to be

It was in Southern Germany—in Switzerland and Swabia, and still more
in the wealthy towns of Augsburg, Regensburg, and Nuremberg—that the
Italian influence, in the matter of glass as in the other departments
of the arts, was most strongly felt. As early as 1531 the town council
of Nuremberg granted a subsidy to promote the introduction of the
Venetian methods of making glass. We are told that Augustin Hirschvogel
(_d._ 1560), a member of the well-known family of glass-stainers, some
of whom we shall meet again before long, was interested in the
question, and, according to one account, he learned the secrets of the
art at Murano. In any case, there exist specimens of what is
undoubtedly German glass, decorated with coats-of-arms of local
families, both the shapes and the enamelling of which carry us back to
the Venetian enamelled glass of the early sixteenth century. Good
examples of this ware may be found in the richly enamelled pilgrims’
flasks, of which there are examples in the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg
and in the British Museum. In such specimens the Italian influence is
seen not only in the beadings and the gilding, but in the nature of the
metal itself. How strong this southern influence was in these parts in
the second half of the sixteenth century we may see in the work of the
contemporary goldsmiths. In the case of glass, however, the purely
Italian forms seem to have been early abandoned, and the same may be
said of the style of the enamels employed in the decoration.

Of a later time than these South German examples of enamelled ware are
the even more definite copies of the sixteenth-century glass of Venice
that were made in the neighbourhood of Cologne. Here we have deliberate
imitations of the Italian models—tall-stemmed glasses of thin
_cristallo_ with wide-winged handles, the latter often of deep blue
metal. There is a row of these _flügel-gläser_, as the Germans call
them, arranged on an upper shelf in the British Museum; some of these
may perhaps be referred to the glass-house at Dessau, where Italians
were employed between 1679 and 1686, but as a whole such glasses must
be of a somewhat earlier date than this. In any case, we must regard
these _flügel-gläser_ as exotic growths, which lie quite apart from the
two great German groups of the seventeenth century—I mean, of course,
the enamelled and the engraved glass.

In fact, the real influence of the new _cristallo_ of Venice was
exerted in another direction. People who had seen this clear white
glass were no longer content with the thick heavy metal of varying hues
of green, blue, and yellow, often full of bubbles and defects. Already
early in the sixteenth century in various parts of Germany attempts
were made to introduce the Venetian methods of working, above all the
Venetian materials. Now the Germans of that day were a practical
people, already well ahead in many of the technical arts, above all in
those relating to mining, to the smelting of metals, and to the _arts
du feu_ generally. After a moment of hesitation, instead of merely
copying the formulas that they learned from the Italians, they adapted
them to the conditions of their own country, and thus were soon able,
in the central mountain districts among a population of miners and
woodmen, to establish a glass industry quite independent of foreign
aid. In France, on the other hand, and still more in England, up to the
end of the seventeenth century, whatever glass of artistic character
was produced was made for the most part by foreign workmen, and to some
extent with foreign materials. Perhaps the most striking instance of
the independent line taken by the German glass-workers may be found in
the continued use of potash made from the beechwoods of their forests,
and with this alkali they were soon able to produce a glass as
brilliant and colourless as the soda-made _cristallo_ of the south.

So far we have only got to the fringe of our subject; for the green
glass of the Rhine and Holland can in no way be regarded as
characteristic of German glass as a whole. Such glass I would rather
class as Lotharingian, using that term for that central land that is
neither French nor quite German. In so doing I am of course treading on
delicate ground; but I am prepared to maintain that it is rather in a
heavily enamelled _willkomm-humpen_ of plain cylindrical form from
Saxony or Franconia than in a prunted _roemer_ of green glass that we
have a really characteristic type of the glass of Germany.

And this brings us to the question, to how much of this Central German
glass the term Bohemian may be fairly applied? This at least may be
safely said, that the expression ‘German glass from the Bohemian
frontier’ would cover nearly the whole of it. What it is essential to
remember is that with the exception of a small section of the engraved
glass we have little to do with Prague and the Czecs of the central
plateau of Bohemia. As a whole this glass was made by German-speaking
people dwelling on either side of the mountains which gird Bohemia to
the north-east, the north-west, and the south-west, and divide that
kingdom from Silesia, from Saxony, and from Bavaria respectively. Of
all these districts it may be said that wherever the pines and beeches
of the wooded slopes provided both fuel for the furnaces and (from
their ashes) the indispensable potash, wherever, too, from the
hillsides a pure white sand could be extracted, and finally, wherever
in the mountain streams a source of power for cutting the wood or
grinding the glass was at hand, there a glass furnace would sooner or
later be established.

Starting from the gorge of the Elbe above Dresden, to the east a
complicated system of mountains covers the frontiers of Bohemia and
Silesia. In the valleys that run down on either side glass has been
made from the fourteenth century, if not before. It must not be
forgotten that until it was seized by Frederick the Great in the
eighteenth century Silesia had long been a dependence of the crown of

To the west, beyond the gorge of the Elbe, the high plateau of Misnia
falls abruptly on the Bohemian side, forming the Erzgebirge. Although
for the glass of this district, the classical land of mining and
metallurgy, we have no modern work to fall back upon, yet in the
sixteenth century it produced two important writers on metallurgy and
mining—Georg Agricola, the learned professor of chemistry, and the
Lutheran divine Mathesius. Both of these writers have something to say
upon the contemporary processes of glass-making.

At the western extremity of the Erzgebirge, on the one hand the
Fichtelgebirge forms a link joining those mountains to the Thüringer
Wald—these are both essentially German forest districts where much
glass was made; on the other hand the Böhmer Wald runs south-east to
the Danube. On the southern slopes of the latter range was made much of
the glass that supplied the rich Franconian and Bavarian cities.

And the mention of these towns brings us to this difficult question:
How far was the enamelling and the engraving of the finer specimens
carried out in the mountain valleys where the glass was made, and how
far in the workshops of the cities to which the undecorated glass had
been transported?

For the northern districts at least Herr von Czihak has brought forward
much evidence to show that the artists in the local towns carried back
to the mountain furnaces, to be there fired, the glass that they had
painted with enamel colours, and that even the finer kinds of engraving
were done in the upland villages where water-power was abundant. This
was certainly the case in later days in the famous centre of
glass-engraving that grew up at Warmbrunn, in the Hirschberg district
of Silesia. On the other hand much glass was, it would seem, enamelled
in Dresden, and in the south the finer work both of the enameller and
the glass-engraver was probably executed in the studio of the
artist—at Nuremberg, for instance, or in other Franconian or Swabian

For the German glass of the sixteenth century we have fortunately the
two already mentioned contemporary writers, both of them Saxons by
birth—Georg Agricola and Johann Mathesius. Agricola, it is true, ‘the
founder of the sciences of mineralogy and metallurgy,’ in his famous
work _De Re Metallica_,[192] devotes only a few pages at the end of his
last chapter to the subject of glass; but here may be found the first
accurate drawing of a glass furnace that has come down to us. Agricola
mentions that he had passed two years at Venice, and had seen much of
the glass-working when there.[193] Indeed, what he says of the
materials, of the source of the alkali above all, seems to have
relation to the Italian rather than to the German glass.





But this is not the case with the furnaces, which he describes and
illustrates. Agricola distinguishes three separate ovens: the fritting
oven; the main oven, where the glass is melted in pots; and an
annealing oven for slowly cooling the glass. These ovens, however, may
be combined in various ways in smaller works, reducing the number to
two or even to one. The fritting oven is a detached building of beehive
shape, which is also used for annealing the pots. The main oven, eight
feet in height and ten feet in diameter, is of a similar outline. The
wood is burned on the floor of a lower chamber, without any grating of
firebars; the flame passes through into an upper chamber, around which
are arranged eight pots, each two feet in height, with a working-hole
in front of each pot. From the back of this chamber a passage opens
which conveys the heated gases to the quadrangular annealing oven.

Surely so much information has rarely been compressed into one print as
we find in the main illustration to this part of Agricola’s text (Plate
XXXVIII.). Here at one working-hole (_fenestrella_) we see a workman
gathering the glass at the end of his _fistula_ or blowing-iron,
another is shaping the gathering upon the marver at his foot, a third
is vigorously blowing the _paraison_ to the required size, and a fourth
is swinging another round his head. On the ground lie scattered moulds
of various forms, and here, too, we may discover the forceps
(_pucella_) used in shaping the glass. To the right, in the foreground,
lies a large wooden case closely packed with glass vessels of various
shapes: we can distinguish, I think, bottles, alembics, and some
prunted cylinders, which may well be the _Krautstrünke_ of Mathesius.
Above, to the right, the itinerant hawker marches off with a fresh
supply of glass of all shapes arranged in an open-work crate strapped
on his back. Finally, to the left, in a little office, the master
discusses business with a customer over a foaming glass of beer—this
last a truly German trait.

Our other source of information for the German glass of the sixteenth
century is found, of all places in the world, in a collection of
so-called sermons written by the friend, table-companion, and
biographer of Luther—Johann Mathesius (1504-1565). Mathesius, after
leaving Wittenberg, settled as pastor at Joachimsthal, a famous mining
centre on the southern slopes of the Erzgebirge. These _Sermons for
Miners_[194] are a strange mixture of what to us seem fantastic
analogies drawn from the Bible, with matter of an eminently practical
nature relating to the crafts and occupations of his audience. The
title of his fifteenth sermon will give some idea of how he treats the
subject:—‘Of glass and the making of glass, and passages where it is
mentioned in the Holy Writings, and how we may thereby call to mind
both the fragility of our present bodies and the clearness and
brilliancy of our bodies in the future state.’

A careful perusal of what both these writers have to say on the
manufacture of glass leaves the general impression that in the first
half of the sixteenth century Germany had not made much progress in
that art. It is to Venice, in the first place, and then to Antwerp,
that Mathesius turns for brilliant examples. At Murano, he tells us,
they can actually make panes of glass ‘through which from one’s room
one can see all that is passing in the street.’ So too, he says, it is
in that town and in Antwerp that is made the finest _schmelzglas_ of
all colours used by the goldsmith—above all the mysterious

‘Now,’ says Mathesius, ‘we come to the German glass-houses. Some have
their own sand, others pound white quartz and pebbles. They make use of
the ashes of oak, maple, beech, and pine; the ashes of the fir and of
the willow turn out good work, but from their fatty nature yield glass
that is not so white. Native salt is added also to the sand and ashes,
but the Polish rock-salt is more advantageous. Many buy up broken glass
and make with it the best work.’[196] If you wish, continues Mathesius,
to obtain white and pure glass, it is essential to use only well dried
wood, for green wood makes the glass opaque and blackish. The metal
should be cooled more than once and remelted, the glass-gall being
carefully skimmed off each time. If you propose to make fair and pure
glass, ‘neither bubbly, feathery, cloudy, dull, stony, or gritty,’
prepare your frit carefully by rabbling and turning over the mixture of
sand, potash, and salt on the floor of the first furnace, in the same
way as metallic ores are treated ‘when they are roasted by the valuable
new process.’ (Whatever this may have been, it was an illustration that
would appeal to his audience of miners.) When the mixture begins to
sinter together, the stuff should be shovelled into cold water. The
frit thus prepared is then placed in the melting-pots and gradually

There then follows a careful account of the various processes involved
in the blowing and shaping of the vessel: of this I will only remark
that there is no mention in it of the use of the shears for trimming
the rough edges of the glass—technically an important point.

                       ENAMELLING ON GERMAN GLASS

We are now able to form some idea of the processes by which glass was
made in Central Germany about the middle of the sixteenth century, and
when we come to examine the glass itself by the aid of extant examples,
it will be found that this is indeed the date from which the start must
be made, for there are few pieces in our collections that can claim a
greater antiquity.

It was apparently not long before this time that the Germans began to
apply enamels to their drinking-vessels whether of glass or pottery.
Mathesius (1562) speaks of enamelling as a new art. ‘The ready wit of
man,’ he says, ‘is always finding something new; some have on the white
glass painted all kinds of pictures and mottoes, and burnt them in, in
the annealing oven,[197] as we find the “counterfeits” of great men and
their arms _painted upon the panes that are set in our windows_.’ This
is an important passage which confirms what we might otherwise be led
to infer—namely, that the origin of the enamelling that we find on the
beakers of the German renaissance must be sought, not in the fifteenth
and early sixteenth century enamelled glass of Venice, but rather in
the new method of colouring window-glass that was at this time
spreading all over Germany. I refer to the highly finished pictures,
_painted in enamel colours_ on white glass and subsequently burned in,
which were now replacing, especially for secular use, the true
lead-mounted stained glass of the old church windows. It was an easy
step to apply this method of decoration to the cylindrical surfaces of
the great tankards and goblets from which the German people drank their
beer. Now it is not in Northern or Central Germany that we find the
best specimens of these enamelled ‘quarries.’ The finest examples come
from the south, from Nuremberg, from Swabia, and above all from
Switzerland, at that time the home of a distinguished school of glass
painters. And the same may be said of the glasses, though this is a
point that has been somewhat neglected until quite lately. Both the
_willkomm-humpen_ and the _pass-gläser_—the broad and narrow
cylinders—found in Swiss and Bavarian collections are, as a rule, much
more carefully decorated than the quaint but rude glasses of what we
must vaguely call the central district. Unfortunately we have no means
of more definitely determining the place of origin of the latter class
of beakers; in fact it may be said generally of the glass made on both
sides of the mountains that encircle Bohemia, that there is little to
distinguish the productions of the different centres, however far apart
they may lie.





Now it is not too much to affirm that, as a whole, the enamelling on
German glass is in every way bad. The colours are opaque; when not
crude they are muddy and dull. It is almost too high praise of them to
say that they look as if they had been painted on in oil-colours. Take,
for example, an average _adler-humpen_, such a one as the big beaker in
the British Museum (Slade, No. 835). A mustardy yellow, that takes the
place of the gilding that is absent in the main painting, is
predominant; there is then an opaque blue, crude and unpleasant, and a
dull maroon, which—and this is universally the case on these
glasses—is the nearest approach we get to red. Apart from these
colours we find only browns and drabs of undecided tints. So much for
the main decoration; but if we now look carefully we find round the
neck something that takes us back to Venice—a delicate scale pattern
of fine powdered gold, and above this a line of beading with little
pearls of various colours. This band of exotic ornament is seldom
absent, at least in the earlier specimens.[198]

There is no need to say much of the shapes of these enamelled glasses,
for they are almost invariably of a more or less cylindrical form, with
a foot of the simplest character; covered glasses are comparatively
rare. They may be divided for our purpose into the broader beakers
(often with curved sides and sometimes of great capacity) on the one
hand, and on the other the narrower straight-sided tall cylinders. Much
ingenuity has been devoted by German writers to the identification of
the names by which these glasses were known in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, and they have attempted to distinguish between
the _spechter_, the _bröderlein_, the _Krautstrunk_, the _pass-glas_,
the _humpen_ and the _willkomm_. On the other hand, the term
_wiederkomm_ or _vidrecome_, given by so many English and French
writers to the large broad forms, is unknown in Germany, so that I
think the expression may be definitely abandoned and replaced by the
word _humpen_ or _willkomm humpen_. _Narren-gläser_—fools’
glasses—says Mathesius, would be a better name for these huge beakers
that a man can hardly lift. The tall, narrow cylindrical form, when
divided by horizontal lines, is known as a _pass-glas_. The _spechter_
of Mathesius has been identified with a glass of this shape, sometimes
decorated with square nail-headed studs. These _spechter_ came from the
Spessart forest district (west of Würzburg), and they form, as it were,
a link between the prunted green glass of the Rhine and the enamelled
beakers of Central Germany.

There is a small group of enamelled glass of very uncertain origin
which claims attention here. We are concerned with certain little
ewers, either of colourless or more often of deep cobalt-blue glass;
they are generally mounted in metal, but the handle is always of glass.
There are several examples of these ewers in the British Museum, many
of which bear dates ranging from 1577 to 1618. The cobalt-blue glass
has, by Dr. Brinckmann, been traced back to the glass-houses of Neudeck
Platten, on the Saxon-Bohemian frontier. In the treatment, however, of
the enamels on these little jugs, we are reminded of some of the work
executed by the Altarists in France. The enamelling is of a somewhat
more pleasing character than that which we find on the big beakers;
white, yellow, green, and red are applied without shading. A favourite
subject is a stag-hunt or the coursing of a hare, and at the side is
often found a graceful lily of the valley[199] (Plate XL. 2).







To return to our broad cylindrical glasses—the huge _humpen_ and the
smaller _kanne_, both of which indeed sometimes take the form of a
barrel or a truncated cone—it is usual, on the basis of the
decoration, to divide these beakers into the following classes:—

1. The _Reichs-adler Humpen_. On these, the double-headed eagle,
displayed, with imperial crown, occupies nearly the whole surface of
the glass. A big crucifix covers the breast of the bird, though this is
replaced in some examples by the ball of empire. The arms of the seven
electors and of the forty-eight members of the _Heilige Römische Reich_
are arranged in a definite order along the outstretched wing
feathers[200](Plate XXXIX.).

2. The _Kur-fürsten Humpen_. Here, on the upper zone, the emperor on
horseback rides in front of the three spiritual electors—the four lay
princes follow below. In other cases the kaiser sits on his throne,
with the electors on either side.[201]

3. The Fichtelgebirge glasses, on which a mountain landscape is rudely
indicated. None of these glasses can be attributed to an earlier date
than the second half of the seventeenth century. A good example in the
British Museum shows the Ochsenkopf, one of the highest peaks of the
district, as well as the four rivers that issue from its slopes. A
padlock hanging by a gold chain over the mountain points to the
treasures therein contained: as an often-repeated inscription
says:—_An Eisen, Erz und Holz, thut mann viel von ihm ziehen_. Many of
these beakers, and perhaps others of a similar character, may be
referred to the glass-houses of Bischofsgrün, which are situated at the
foot of the Ochsenkopf.

In spite of the crudity of the enamels and the rudeness of the design,
it is impossible to deny that there is a certain attraction in the
intensely German character of the decoration on these three groups of
glasses, which thus form a class by themselves. They smack of the soil
and of the simple German folk who made them. The earliest example
known, an _adler-humpen_, is dated 1547, and differs little in the
quality of the enamel from the later specimens, which range down to the
beginning of the eighteenth century.[202]

There are in the British Museum two remarkable tankards which, though
they do not fall under any of the above divisions, may well be
mentioned here. On one we see an elaborate hunting scene: in the centre
the net is spread and the game is being driven in by dogs and beaters
(Plate XLI.). On the other is a strangely crude representation of the
Last Supper, in the arrangement of which, however, Leonardo’s famous
design may still be traced.

[Illustration: _PLATE XLI_


ABOUT 1600, A.D.]

Before treating of the big glasses painted at Dresden and of those of
the South German school, I may well say something of the second class
of cylindrical vessels, of which the most important sub-division is
formed by the _pass-gläser_, the tall narrow beakers divided by
stringings of glass or by enamelled rings into a series of zones. These
glasses played an important part in the drinking contests of the time.
It would seem—to judge from the lengthy verses, commencing and ending
in all cases with the word _vivat_, found on many of them—that it was
required of the drinker to swallow at one draught the liquid contents
of each zone, neither more nor less. At other times the drinking was
apparently regulated by the dealing of cards. There is a remarkable
example of the typical _pass-glas_ at South Kensington: it is divided
into twelve zones by quilled threadings of glass. The simple decoration
of hearts, roses, and wreaths, as well as the long inscription, is
painted in white enamel.

A somewhat later group of enamelled glasses may be traced to Dresden,
to the _Hof-kellerei_ of the Saxon electors, whose arms these glasses
bear. The painting on them, though of no great artistic merit, is
somewhat less rude, more ‘urbane,’ in fact, than that on the previous
examples. They form, indeed, a transition to the carefully executed
Nuremberg glasses. There are several examples of these Saxon beakers in
the British Museum. A fine covered _willkomm_ (Slade, No. 843) bears
the portrait of the elector John George as well as of the four Saxon
dukes, all booted and spurred, and with plumed hats on their heads.
This beaker is dated 1656, the year of the elector’s death. Another, a
_pass-glas_ (Slade, No. 847), has the arms and initials of Augustus the
Strong, king of Poland (1697-1733); the four zones into which this
glass is divided, each holding about half a pint, are indicated by
numerals, calling to mind, says Mr. Nesbitt, the peg tankards of the
sixteenth century. Another example, dated 1658, also from the Slade
collection (No. 851), a goblet with the arms of the elector of Saxony,
encircled by the garter, is remarkable for the glass being externally
striped with opaque white bands in obvious imitation of the _vetro di
trina_. There is a somewhat obscure reference to German glass so
decorated in the often-quoted sermon of Mathesius, and of this passage
much has been made by German writers.[203] I doubt whether the
imitation was in any case more than superficial, and I do not think
that, at least before the middle of the seventeenth century, any
example of German glass can be pointed to which is really built up with
rods as in the case of the true Venetian lace glass.

There is a large class of painted beakers on which the decoration has
reference to the occupation of the original owner, and among these the
_zunft-becher_, the guild or corporation glasses, hold an important
place. These glasses date, without exception, from a comparatively late
time, when among the upper classes the new engraved crystal glass had
taken the place of the enamelled ware; already by the end of the
seventeenth century the latter had come to be regarded as somewhat
_bourgeois_ in character. However that may be, these _humpen_ bearing
the arms of the guilds and quaint representations of the trades and
industries are among the most interesting of their class. Many of these
_Innungs gläser_ are still preserved in the halls of the trade guilds.
Herr von Czihak mentions several instances of this in Breslau and other
Silesian towns.

In Southern Germany the Venetian influence was not only more early
felt, but, what is of greater importance, it continued in play for a
longer time, being continually renewed by fresh importations of the
Italian glass. The art-loving dukes of Bavaria, Albrecht V. and his
successor Wilhelm V., in the second half of the sixteenth century, did
much to promote the manufacture of glass on improved methods. Strangely
enough, however, we find that it was from Antwerp, not from Italy, that
the assistance came in the first case; and it was to compete with
Italian glass imported from Venice _by way of Antwerp_ that Bernhart
Schwarz, a glass-maker of the latter town, erected a furnace—at
Landshut, on the Isar. Scarpaggiato, the Venetian, who came later, was
engaged, in the first place, to make window-glass and mirrors. He is
stated, however, to have been a master of the art of making _vasi a
reticelli_ and _a ritorti_ of both white and coloured glass.

At Hall, near Innsbruck, some remarkable imitations of Venetian glass
were made in the third quarter of the sixteenth century. In the
Imperial Museum at Vienna there are many specimens of this Tyrolese
glass, much of it scratched with the diamond and heavily gilt. There
may be seen a goblet made by the art-loving Archduke Ferdinand, the
husband of Philippine Welser.

As I have already said, it was in the towns of South Germany—Swabian
and Ducal Bavarian—as well as in Switzerland, that the new art of
painting window-glass with enamel colours was carried to the highest
perfection, and we can trace the influence of this school of painters
upon the decoration of the enamelled beakers preserved in the museums
of Zürich, Munich, Augsburg, and other South German and Swiss cities.
But it is to the Franconian Nuremberg, which, though further to the
north, fell under the same influences, that we must turn to find the
most brilliant work of this southern school. Here we come upon the
family of the Hirschvogels, so many of whom during the course of the
seventeenth century were famed as designers of glass for windows, and
we have evidence from documents that have been preserved that the
younger members at least of the family painted on drinking-glasses with
enamel colours (Friedrich, _Alt-Deutsche Gläser_, p. 157).

It is chiefly on the ground of the coats-of-arms found on a few
examples that we are enabled to attribute to Nuremberg artists a
variety of enamelled glass which differs in many respects from the
heavily painted _humpen_ and _pass_ glasses of which I have been
speaking. In the British Museum may be seen certain tall cylindrical
beakers which may be taken as examples of this South German glass. The
metal is colourless but somewhat grey, and, as in the northern glasses,
a delicate scale pattern of gold with scattered pearls of enamel forms
a ring below the upper margin. But now we find the gold used freely in
the rest of the decoration also, replacing the coarse yellow enamel of
the northern beakers. The colours are purer and more effectively
combined, and we see among them a green of good quality. In the case of
the two beakers from the Slade collection in the British Museum, the
figure of Jacob Praun on one glass, on the other that of his wife,
stand detached in the field; there is no other decoration apart from
the heraldic bearings of this Nuremberg family (these are on the other
side of the glass) and the above-mentioned gold band. I may add that
the Nuremberg enamellers showed a superlative skill in the treatment of
these elaborate coats-of-arms backed with fluttering mantlings.

Of the larger _humpen_ and _pass_ glasses painted with allegorical or
sometimes comic subjects, we have no good examples in our English
collections. A beaker in the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg, showing the
ten ages of man in as many compartments, is an exceptionally good
example of such work. The drawing and composition of the subjects on
these larger South German glasses are carefully carried out—the
colouring, however, is generally poor; in the later examples, indeed,
it tends to pass over to the monochrome or _grisaille_ class, of which
I must say a word before finishing with these enamelled wares.

The school of _grisaille_ painters on drinking-glasses, founded towards
the middle of the seventeenth century by Johann Schaper, is in many
ways closely associated with the contemporary engravers on glass. Like
the latter, the _grisaille_ painters followed the pseudo-classical, the
‘Italianising’ style, rather than the old German traditions. Schaper,
who came from Harburg on the Elbe, settled in Nuremberg in 1640, and
died there in 1670. His manner of work, founded on copper-plate
engravings, was much admired at the time, and he is in the next century
mentioned among the famous artists of Nuremberg by Doppelmayr in his
_Nachricht von den Nürnbergischen Künstlern_. Schaper, he says, ‘_auf
die Trinkgläser ... gar delicat mahlte_,’ burning in his work
afterwards so successfully that he surpassed all his contemporaries. He
painted—round the sides of small tumblers and wine-glasses, for the
most part—landscapes, figures, and heraldic bearings, either in black
or a warm sepia, signing his work with his initials. There are some
small examples of the glass enamelled by him at South Kensington. The
large goblet in the British Museum (Slade, No. 860), painted with a
cavalry combat, is of a considerably later date, but it shows that
Schaper’s influence continued into the eighteenth century; in this
case, however, the _grisaille_ is heightened in places by touches of
colour. The tall _pass_-glass (Slade, No. 859), painted with an
elaborate procession celebrating the birth of a Bavarian prince,
belongs, on the other hand, to quite another school. It is dated 1662,
and Schaper’s influence had probably not reached Munich by that time.

                         PAINTED AND GILT GLASS

Before passing on to the many-sided subject of engraved and cut glass,
a word must be said of certain applications to glass of painting and
gilding which were much in favour in Germany in the seventeenth
century. I have here to deal with a miscellaneous class of objects;
indeed the chief connecting-link between them is the fact that the
decoration is in no case fixed by fire.

Single sheets of glass may be simply painted at the back, and ‘fixed’
by means of a transparent varnish. Such plates, painted with Biblical
or allegorical subjects, may be seen let into the panels of the
elaborately carved and inlaid cabinets of the time. It cannot be said
that the effect of this _pausch glas Malerei_, as it is sometimes
called in Germany, is very satisfactory. It is indeed merely a debased
variety of what used to be known in France as _verre églomisé_; the
term _fixé peint_ has also been used for work of this kind.

The gilding that was so plentifully applied to the German engraved
glass of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was fixed by a ‘cold’
process, by simply attaching the gold-leaf by means of a varnish. For
the most part it is only when applied to the sunk part of an _incavo_
decoration that this gilding has survived.

The gilding, however, has been more effectually preserved in the case
of another cold process which came into vogue before the end of the
seventeenth century, and rapidly spread from Bohemia, or perhaps rather
from Silesia, to various parts of Germany. In the case of these
_zwischen gläser_ we are taken back to an old process, already known to
the Alexandrian Greeks. The plan adopted in no way differs in principle
from that made use of in the decoration of the beautiful bowls from
Canosa, now in the British Museum (see p. 46).[204] Very inferior to
these in artistic merit are the little footless tumblers, with designs
in gold, often hunting scenes, which seem to have been made on both
sides of the Silesian-Bohemian frontier before the end of the
seventeenth century. These are built up of two glasses, both somewhat
tapering and both cut into an equal number of perpendicular sides, so
that when the smaller of the two was inserted into the interior of the
larger the glasses fitted exactly, and could not rotate one upon the
other. The inner glass being somewhat the taller, we find the ring of
junction, which is generally concealed by a band of gold, about half an
inch or so below the top of the glass. The edges are so exactly
bevelled that this line of junction is barely perceptible even to the
touch. Before fitting the two glasses together, the inner one had been
coated on the outside with gold-leaf, and the design carefully engraved
on the gold with a steel point; while on the inside of the outer glass
a coating of old linseed oil or of varnish had been smeared. I should
add that a medallion of ruby glass, variously ornamented, is usually
found at the bottom of these tumblers inserted between the two layers
of glass, or sometimes replacing the base of the outer cylinder. These
glasses will not stand warm liquids: an example in the British Museum
is disfigured by some large flattened blisters, probably the result of
heat.[205] Glasses built up in this manner may of course be decorated
in other ways; the gold-leaf, for instance, may be replaced by silver
foil. Kunckel, of ruby-glass fame, describes a method in which the
inner glass is plainly gilt, while the outer one is painted on the
inside in imitation of precious marbles (_Ars Vitraria Experimentalis_,
1679). I have seen examples of this manner of decoration in German

                              CHAPTER XVII

                    THE GLASS OF GERMANY—_continued_
  German Cut and Engraved Glass—The Ruby Glass of Kunckel—Milch Glass

I have still to describe the origin and development of a method of
decorating the surface which forms, I may almost say, the last main
division in the artistic history of glass. For when I come in
subsequent chapters to treat of Dutch and English glass—and with this
my task practically closes—it will be found that this glass falls
almost entirely under the head, and is in a general way an outcome, of
the engraved or cut glass of Germany.

Here at the beginning I am confronted with a difficulty of a class only
too often met with when treating of the technique of the minor
arts—the difficulty of finding in our language suitable words to
express, without danger of misconception and confusion, the practical
details of the matter in hand. I have now to deal with the methods by
which the surface of glass may be cut, polished, scraped, or eaten
away, so as to form an artistic design. This, I may say at once, can be
effected by any one of the following methods:—

1. By _scratching_ with a diamond. I can find no other word; the term
‘engraving’ is vague and ambiguous; to use the word ‘etching’ is still
worse, for though the result resembles in a measure the etched line on
copper, this expression should be reserved for the process by which the
surface is eaten away (the German _ätzen_) by acid.

2. By removing the surface by means of a small revolving wheel, or more
rarely, of a cutting-tool, with the aid of emery or other hard powdered
stone. The term ‘engraving’ may well be used here, if it is understood
in the sense in which we speak of an ‘engraved gem,’ for small hard
stones have been cut in this way from ancient times.

3. When, however, by means of a large wheel, the surface is deeply cut
away, we may better use the words ‘cutting’ or ‘carving.’ The grinding
down of the surface and subsequent polishing, as in the case of glass
cut into facets, would fall into this division. It is, however, often
difficult to say which of these terms—engraving, cutting, or
grinding—it is preferable to use; nor is the use of the German words
‘_schleifen_’ and ‘_schneiden_’ much more definite.

4. By exposing parts of the surface to the fumes of hydrofluoric acid,
the only acid that will attack glass. This process may well be called

We have already spoken of the use of the diamond by the Venetians for
scratching lace-like designs upon the surface of their thin glass, so
unsuitable for other forms of engraving. The diamond point was early
used in a similar way in Germany. Mathesius, after speaking of the
imitations of the _vetro di trina_, made in his day in Silesia,
proceeds to say that it is also the practice to draw (_reissen_) ‘_auf
die schönen und glatten Venedischen gleser mit demand_ [diamond]
_allerley laubwerck und schöne züge_.’

This decoration with the diamond point was carried to great perfection
in Silesia. Herr von Czihak has reproduced in his work on the glass of
that country (p. 122) two tall cylinders of this ‘_gerissene glas_’ (so
it is called in contemporary inventories), which cannot be later than
the sixteenth century. So, again, much of the glass of _cristallo_ type
made at Hall in the Tyrol was thus decorated.

But this process of drawing designs with a diamond point on the surface
of glass required the sure hand of an artist; there was no room for any
‘_pentimenti_’—moreover, the result was not effective.[206] Before
long, in Germany at least, except here and there by amateurs, it came
to be used merely as supplementary to the newly introduced processes of
cutting, engraving, and polishing—that is to say, to the combination
of methods concisely indicated by the Germans as _schliff und schnitt_.
This was, indeed, a return to a very old treatment of the material much
in favour in later Roman times. We have recognised in the so-called
Hedwig glasses the last efforts of an art already extinct in the West
and decadent in the East; but we have no link with which to connect
these rude, deeply carved goblets with the engraved glass of the German
renaissance. The Germans were, indeed, familiar with the processes
employed in polishing the surfaces of hard stones, especially of their
native agates (as in the Hunsrück district). This they effected in
early days by rubbing on a board, the _schleif-platte_, and already by
the middle of the fifteenth century by means of a grindstone
(_schleif-stein_) turned by water-power. There is, however, no evidence
to connect this industry with the new art of engraving glass, which
arose, it would seem, full-fledged at Prague and at Nuremberg just
before the commencement of the seventeenth century.[207]

There is, indeed, every reason to accept the origin of this art given
by contemporary writers—that it was learned from the Italian carvers
of rock crystal, who in the last years of the sixteenth century were
working for the Emperor Rudolph II., that moody recluse and most
unsatisfactory ruler, who was, however, an eager and industrious
inquirer into all the new arts and sciences of the day. This
essentially _cinquecento_ art of carving in rock crystal had been
before this time carried to great perfection in the north of Italy. The
most famous master was Valerio Belli (1479-1546), called Vicentino,
from his birthplace. The finest work of this school is to be found in
the caskets built up with plates of rock-crystal delicately carved in
shallow intaglio.[208] Other artists carved in the round bowls and
vases in the form of shells or other shapes, suggested, in the first
place, by the outline of the original mass of crystal. If these men
were in any way indebted to Greek artists from Constantinople or
elsewhere, it can only have been for the knowledge of the mechanical
processes, for there is no trace of Byzantine influence in their art.
To judge by surviving examples, it was in the main the work carved in
the round that found favour at the court of Rudolph II. We hear
especially of two craftsmen from Milan, Girolamo and Caspare Miseroni,
who worked for that prince.

As what we know of the early history of cutting and engraving on glass
in Germany is chiefly derived from Sandrart’s famous work on the lives
of German artists, I will here translate, with considerable
abbreviations in places, what he says on this subject (_Teutsche
Academie_, Nürnberg, 1675, Part II. book iii. chap. xxiv.).—It was
during the reign of the most worthy Emperor Rudolph II. that the art of
cutting glass was rediscovered and made public by Caspar Lehmann,
_Cammer-Edelstein und Glas-Schneider_ to his majesty. The emperor
rewarded him richly for his discovery, and in the year 1609, at Prague,
granted him certain privileges in a diploma which has been
preserved:—‘Let all men know that our privy-precious-stone and
glass-cutter Caspar Lehmann has informed us, that now some years since,
with great strivings, with busy reflection, and not trifling cost, he
discovered the art and practice of glass-cutting. And let it be known
that the same C. L. shall have full liberty to carry on his art and
work free and without let; and that no one, whoever he be, shall,
without his consent, practise or deal in such art or work. And we
request all the Electors, Princes, etc. etc., of the Empire to punish
any infraction of this privilege with a fine of twenty marks of gold of
true alloy.’

Lehmann, indeed, continues Sandrart, well deserved these privileges.
Both he and his comrade Zacharias Belzer (they were both friends of
Hans von Achen and Paul von Vianen, and for the most part they were
lodged at court in one apartment) executed such excellent and artistic
works in crystal and glass (some of which are still preserved in the
Imperial Schatzkammer and also in the palace of the Elector at Munich)
that they command the admiration of all connoisseurs.[209]

George Schwanhart the elder, says Sandrart, was the son of Johann, a
skilful cabinet-maker and armourer, who made, among other things,
exceptionally beautiful inlaid work of mother-of-pearl. George, who in
his youth had learned cabinet-making and other arts from his father,
acquired from the above-mentioned Lehmann a thorough acquaintance with
the new art of glass-cutting. So much was he loved by Lehmann on
account of his ingenious parts that the latter, before his death,
bequeathed to him his privileges and rights as well as other
property.[210] Schwanhart, after this time, further cultivated the art
and much advanced it by various inventions, especially by the new
‘smooth or polished cutting’ (_hellen oder blancken schneiden_). His
industry and skill obtained for him the praise and love of emperor,
kings, and princes, as well as of all those who cultivated the arts and
sciences. The late Emperor (Ferdinand III., 1637-1658) continued these
privileges to his sons, Henry and George the younger, and gave to both
of them appointments at court.

Now although, continues Sandrart, these artists had brought to
perfection the art of glass-cutting as far as it depended upon judgment
and drawing, yet in consequence of the too powerful and clumsy
machinery made use of by them, even they were unable to give grace and
charm to their work. When we consider the big heavy wheels that they
were fain to employ—turned by those still flourishing weeds, their
loutish assistants—we may well marvel at the work they turned out.
Since that time the discovery of more convenient and efficient tools
has brought it about that nowadays the art of glass-cutting is no
longer a strenuous task, but rather a pastime. So that with
intelligence and industry all the charm and softness of nature, whether
trees, landscapes, animals, or portraits, may be by this art expressed.
And yet these glass-cutters of to-day, with all their advantages, might
obtain from their patrons still greater praise, were they to devote
themselves more to the practice of drawing and to travelling about
instead of marrying early and, as a consequence, having to work in the

Henry Schwanhart—I am still dependent upon Sandrart—who with his
brother George inherited his father’s privileges, has not only
distinguished himself as a philosopher and a poet, but has carried the
art of glass-cutting to greater perfection. He has succeeded in tracing
on glass, landscapes and complete views of towns—the city of Nuremberg
above all—in correct proportion and cunningly retiring perspective, as
in a painted picture. Nay, with his subtle wit he has done what before
was held to be an impossibility, he has discovered an acid (_corrosiv_)
of such a nature that the hardest crystalline glass yields to it, and
like metals and stones, suffers itself to be corroded and eaten
into.[212] He has quite lately given a complete proof of his skill in
this art by etching all kinds of ornamental designs and inscriptions
with the greatest neatness and precision. He has engraved, too, the
human figure both nude and draped, and has brought it, as well as all
kinds of animals and flowers, into high relief (_in erheben zehr hoch

So far Sandrart, who was a contemporary of the younger Schwanhart, and
I think that this long extract will give the reader some idea of the
high esteem in which the art of engraving on glass was held at that
time, as well as of the relation of the glass-engravers to the workers
in other branches of art. The works of the Schwanharts are now, I
believe, only to be identified in the case of certain examples of
engraved glass in the Museum at Hamburg. Here may be seen a _roemer_,
signed ‘G. S. 1660.’ The delicately engraved landscape on this glass,
where the work of the diamond and that of the finest wheel are
skilfully combined, would point to this being probably the work of the
younger of the two Georges.

That even before the end of the sixteenth century there were engravers
of glass in other parts of Germany, above all in Silesia, is very
probable, but there can be no doubt that it was the connection of
Lehmann and of the Schwanharts with the Imperial Court that first
brought this style of decoration into favour with people in high
station. In fact, for some time this engraved glass was made for the
most part to the order of wealthy patrons. Besides those named by
Sandrart, the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz and the Bishops of Würzburg
and Bamberg are mentioned as patrons of the new art, and large prices
were given for fine specimens of engraving.[214] One immediate
consequence of the new fashion was to cause a demand for an absolutely
clear white glass, and this led to such improvements in the manufacture
that the glass of Silesia and Bohemia was soon recognised as the best
in Europe.





From other sources we hear that George Schwanhart the elder had three
daughters, Sophia, Maria, and Suzanna, who devoted themselves to the
engraving on glass of flowers and ornaments, and especially of those
examples of calligraphy then so much in fashion. Sandrart, most
ungallantly, fails to mention these ladies, who were his contemporaries.

Many other names of engravers on glass have been handed down to
us,[215] but I will only mention Hermann Schwinger (1640-83), who was
also a wood-carver and engraver on copper. We have in the British
Museum (Slade, No. 883) a tall cup of thin white glass elaborately
engraved with a Bacchic subject. Below, scratched by the diamond in
small characters, may be read ‘_Herman Schwinger, cristall schnider zu

There has been much discussion as to the nature of the improvements
effected by the Schwanharts in the glass-cutting machinery. But before
the end of the seventeenth century the arrangement of the wheels and
the division of labour were probably on the whole established much in
the manner that we find in local works in Bohemia at the present day.
In a general way we may say that there has always been a distinction
between the mechanical processes of grinding and polishing and the more
delicate and artistic work of the engraver. In the latter case the work
is done by pressing the glass against the edge of a minute copper
wheel. On the other hand, the glass is ground down on a wheel of iron
from three to eighteen inches in diameter, it is smoothed upon a stone
wheel and finally polished upon one of wood, with the assistance in
each case of suitable abrading mediums, whether emery, quartz sand,
tripoli, or putty-powder.

As early as the seventeenth century these _glas-schleifer_ were divided
into several more or less independent groups. The _eckigräber_ did the
coarser work. It fell to them, in the first place, to remove all
irregularities on the surface of the glass—for example, the rough
projections left on the foot where the pontil had been attached—and
more especially to make the cross cuttings required to form the facets,
which at a later time were so much in vogue. The _kugler_ were another
class of workmen, who prepared the shallow circular or oval pits which
play so important a part in the decoration.

The work of the actual engraver belongs more to the domain of art. The
cutting in this case is effected by a little wheel of copper from a
quarter inch to an inch in diameter, revolving rapidly at the end of a
horizontal spindle, moved by a treadle. These little copper wheels are
of various forms, and not the least part of the skill of the artist
lies in the selection of the form most suitable for the work in hand.
The decision as to the depth of the engraved line, and again as to
which part should be polished and which left dull depends also upon his
judgment. His difficulties are increased by the fact that he is unable
to follow the progress of the work in hand, for not only has he to
press the glass against the under surface of the wheel, but the part of
the surface on which he is working remains covered by the emery or
other abrading material employed (Von Czihak, pp. 136-139). It will be
noticed that as a rule the incised parts are left unpolished and dull
as they come from the wheel, and that the polishing is reserved for the
little circular depressions, the _kugeln_, which then show out like
jewels cut _en cabochon_.

We are apt to associate this engraved glass with Bohemia, but to say
nothing of the highly finished and artistic work done at Nuremberg and
Regensburg, it is probable that in no other district has the engraving
and cutting of glass become so much a distinct industry as in the
Silesian valleys that descend from the highest peaks of the
Riesengebirge towards the town of Hirschberg. As early as the
commencement of the seventeenth century we come across an Italian
engraver on rock crystal in the service of the Freiherr von
Schaffgotsch at Schloss Kynast, and at the same spot towards the end of
the century, in the employ of the same family, we find Friedrich
Winter, who has the credit of being the first in this district to apply
water-power to the cutting and polishing of glass.

Soon after this time there are many complaints of the decadence and
vulgarisation of the art. Thus in 1708 a writer in a commercial paper
complains that the engraved glass, which formerly was only to be found
on the table of people of quality, had now become ‘dirt-cheap,’ and
that the art of the glass-cutter was brought into contempt by the
hawkers of glasses who scoured nearly the whole of Europe with their
engraved wares. Whole chestsful of these commoner glasses, the writer
says, were sent to Spain, and found there a good market (quoted by Von
Czihak, p. 129). Sandrart, it will be remembered, some years before
this, had uttered a protest against the _stimpler_—the bungling,
ignorant workmen—who were ruining the art, and now we find the same
expression used in the diploma of the monopoly that was granted to the
above-mentioned Winter in 1687 by Count Christoph Leopold of Silesia.

Thanks in a measure to the energy of Winter and to the support given to
him, the little town of Warmbrunn soon became known all through Germany
as well for its cut glass as for the warm springs to which it owed its
name. As in other parts of Silesia, the glass industry, after the
separation from Bohemia, suffered from the fiscal regulations of the
new Prussian régime. Frederick the Great took an interest in the
manufacture of glass, but this was shown rather in the encouragement
and patronage accorded to the new glass-works that had been established
nearer to his capital.

On the other side of the mountains also, at the end of the seventeenth
century, some of the great Bohemian landholders were active in
promoting the manufacture of glass on their estates. Of the Kinsky
family and the town of Steinschönau (even to-day a great centre of the
glass industry), we hear something in the curious account of his life
left by a wandering glass-cutter, one Kreybich, who was born in that
town in 1662. Kreybich, who had mastered the arts both of enamelling
and engraving glass, carried his wares on his barrow all over Southern
Germany. In his later journeys he pushed forward as far as Poland and
Russia. As early as 1688 he is found in London, where, in spite of the
competition of many new glass-furnaces (these, he confesses, turned out
better metal than that which he had with him), he found a good demand
for his engraved glass. When the wandering retailers of glass—we can
hardly call them hawkers—returned to renew their supplies, then, says
Kreybich, there was an eager demand from the glass-houses, and no less
from the glass-cutters, the _kugler_, and the polishers. But not a few
of these wandering glassmen carried, it would seem, their
engraving-wheel and their tools with them, and engraved on the spot the
arms or the initials of the purchasers of their glasses.

We may indeed regard the first half of the eighteenth century as the
most flourishing period of the glass industry in Bohemia and Silesia.
At the end of that time the Bohemian town of Haida—at the present day
the centre of more than one branch of the glass manufacture—rose to
importance, thanks to the fostering care of Count Kinsky. But the
industrial and commercial element now came more and more to prevail.
Enterprising manufacturers like Franz Weidlich of Steinschönau exported
to Spain and Portugal, and others supplied the Eastern market as far as
the Indies with glass summarily decorated with ‘little wreaths cut with
a small copper wheel with the aid of emery.’ This Eastern trade passed
through Vienna, and meeting with every encouragement from Maria Theresa
and from Joseph II., soon undermined the time-honoured monopoly of the
Venetians in the Levant and in Persia. With the Western market it was
otherwise. The German glass had to reach the Peninsula by way of the
Flemish ports, Antwerp and Ostend. What we have known as the Spanish
Netherlands were now in Austrian hands, and the new government was
eager to promote the local industries. The energetic firm of the
Bonhommes (see p. 242), long established at Liége and other
neighbouring towns, competed successfully first with the German and
then with the English glass-makers, just as formerly they had competed
with the Italians, adopting in turn the methods of each.[216]

But in addition to cutting or engraving with a wheel and scratching
with a diamond, there is a third method by which the surface of glass
may be removed. This is by means of hydrofluoric acid, the only
re-agent by which glass is rapidly attacked. The discovery of this acid
is usually ascribed to Scheele, the Swedish chemist (born 1742), and a
date as late as 1771 is given to the discovery. But there is no doubt
that the special virtues of the fumes that are given off when
fluor-spar is heated in sulphuric acid were known before this
time.[217] We have seen how Sandrart, writing before 1675, mentions
that his contemporary Henry Schwanhart engraved glass by means of a
‘_corrosiv_,’ and the statement is repeated with picturesque details by
Doppelmayr. By covering part of the glass with a varnish and exposing
the rest to these acid fumes, Schwanhart produced a smooth pattern on a
dead ground. Certain calligraphic inscriptions on plates of glass,
preserved in German museums,[218] were probably engraved in this way,
but at the time the process did not come into general use. At a much
later period hydrofluoric acid has been largely employed in England and
elsewhere for engraving on glass. Still more recently this method has
given way to the sand-blast. These are both, however, purely industrial
processes that have little to do with art.

We have seen how close was the relation in early mediæval times between
the quest of the alchemist and the art of the glass-maker—that part of
the art above all that was concerned with the production of coloured
pastes. So again at the end of the seventeenth century, when the search
for the philosopher’s stone, the universal medicine and other such
nostrums, had again come into vogue in Germany, the glass-maker’s craft
is once more found in close relation with these ambiguous researches.
This intimate connection is well illustrated in the history of Johann
Kunckel, a man whose career in more than one aspect reminds us of that
of Böttger, the discoverer of the secret of making porcelain. Böttger
may indeed be regarded as Kunckel’s successor at Meissen and Dresden,
for both for a time held official positions as alchemist or arcanist at
the Saxon court.[219] Kunckel was born in 1638 (or perhaps somewhat
sooner) in the duchy of Schleswig. At an early age we find him in the
service of the Saxon Elector engaged in the search for the
philosopher’s stone. He lectured, too, on chemistry at Wittenberg
before a numerous audience. After the year 1677 he entered the service
of Frederick William, the _Grosse Churfürst_. It was at Berlin about
this time that his researches upon the transformation of matter led him
to make inquiries into the colouring of glass, above all into the
mysterious process by which glass could be stained of a crimson or
purple tint by means of gold. That such a colour could be thus obtained
had long been a tradition among the alchemists. In the old books the
secret was dangled before the eyes of the student without being fully
explained. The Saracens were probably acquainted with it; Agricola
mentions the _ritzle_, the ‘_aurum quo tingitur vitrum rubro colore_,’
and Neri refers to the red tint derived from gold.[220]

Not a little of the mystery that so long surrounded this ruby colour
had its origin, no doubt, in the following facts:—1. The full tint is
only to be got when an extremely minute quantity of gold is present. 2.
The colour is not developed until the glass is reheated; on first
cooling the metal is nearly colourless. It is scarcely necessary to
point out how both these properties of the gold pigment must have
appealed to the imagination of the alchemists, and have furnished them
with arguments in favour of their transformation theories. Here, then,
we have one explanation of the interest taken by these early inquirers
in the processes of the glass-maker.

In 1679 Kunckel published his _Ars Vitraria Experimentalis_, a work
which is indeed merely a retranslation into German of Merret’s edition
of Neri (see p. 219), with supplementary notes.[221] Not that Kunckel
here fully discloses the secret of his famous ruby glass—he draws back
at the last moment. Orschall, however, his rival, a man of whom we are
told that ‘he took to polygamy and other irregularities, and died in a
monastery in Poland,’ in his famous tractate _Sol sine Veste_, first
printed in 1684, is somewhat more explicit. _A propos_ of his
experiments with certain ‘handsome vases in the style of porcelain,’ he
tells us that the milkiness of the glass with which the Oriental
porcelain was imitated was only developed on reheating, and the same,
he mentions, is the case with _the ruby colour of the glass containing

Kunckel was settled by the Great Elector on the Pfauen-Insel, near
Potsdam, and it was in the glass-houses already erected on the island
that, surrounded with the greatest secrecy, he first made his famous
ruby glass. After a time, however, constrained by what he calls ‘_die
lüderliche Verkrämerung des Rubin-Flusses_,’ otherwise by lack of gold,
he passed over to the service of the Swedish king. He died at Stockholm
as Baron Löwenstjern in 1702.

Kunckel’s name has become attached to certain large ewers and beakers
of ruby glass. He made, too, glass of a deep emerald tint, but
specimens of this are rare. Some of his glasses—and these are perhaps
the oldest—are carved in high relief; others are blown with great
technical skill. Large sums were given at the time for examples of his
work. The vases of blown glass took on classical forms, and were set in
scroll mountings of silver gilt. But these mounted pieces are for the
most part of later date than Kunckel’s time, for glass of this kind was
made at Zechlin and other places near Berlin up to the middle of the
eighteenth century and perhaps later. A tankard of ruby glass in the
British Museum (Slade, No. 869) bears the cipher of Frederick I.
(1701-1713); in the same collection is another fine example (Slade, No.
868), a graceful ewer, set in a rococo silver-gilt mounting.[223] Among
other specimens of this ruby glass in Lord Rothschild’s collection is a
tumbler-shaped beaker, ‘frosted’ on the outside.

As in the case of the porcelain made at a later time in Berlin, the
Prussian glass as a whole is distinguished by its technical excellence
and, compared at least to the bulk of the contemporary work, by a
certain severity of form and decoration.

Much opaque white glass was made in Germany, as in other countries, in
the first years of the eighteenth century. By this means it was hoped
to find an equivalent for the Oriental porcelain, which had not yet
been successfully imitated. At South Kensington may be seen a covered
beaker of this _milch-glas_ elaborately painted with a baroque design;
more often, however, the decoration on such ware is in a pseudo-Chinese
style. Von Czihak has extracted from the contemporary work of a certain
Kundmann, a learned doctor and dilettante, a recipe for making this
glass with human bones; this formula, the author states, he obtained
from Kunckel (_Rariora Naturæ et Artis._ Breslau, 1737). Kundmann
claims for this glass, prepared from bones found in heathen
burial-urns, that it surpassed in whiteness the best porcelain. On one
of his glasses preserved in the museum at Breslau, there is a quaint
Latin inscription. You are asked to offer a libation to those poor
heathens for whom, after suffering both on the field of battle and in
the furnace of the glass-maker, the pains of hell are reserved.
Kundmann had too, in his cabinet, some little glasses on which were
engraved the tobacco-plant and other designs relating to smoking.
These, he declared, were prepared solely from sand and tobacco ash
(_Schlesische Gläser_, p. 62).

There is one important branch of the Bohemian-Silesian glass industry,
of which before ending a word must be said. This is the manufacture of
beads and other kinds of _verroterie_, as well as of glass pastes for
artificial jewellery.

_Paternoster Kügelchen_ were probably made from an early date: the art
may have been learned from wandering Venetians. In Bohemia,
_Betel-Hütten_ (‘bead furnaces’) are mentioned early in the seventeenth
century. At Winterberg, of eight glass-furnaces four are so described.
Here we have the very word (_Betel_, from _Bete_, a prayer) from which
we have formed our term ‘bead.’ But nothing quite equivalent to this
last convenient word ever came into use in Germany. From the word
_Paternoster-Kugel_, when at a later time the demand came rather for
beads for personal ornament or for export, the Germans passed to the
ambiguous expression _Perlen_ or _Glas-Perlen_.

The manufacture of the more elaborate forms of beads by means of the
blow-pipe—the _suppialume_ process of the Venetians—spread slowly in
the north. Doppelmayr (_op. cit._, p. 226) states that the use of ‘a
little copper pipe fixed over a burning lamp’ for making small objects
of glass was first taught at Nuremberg by one Abraham Fino, who came
from Amsterdam in 1630. The Dutch, he says, had been taught the art by
a Venetian. Kunckel, on the Pfauen-Insel, was occupied in making beads
for exportation to West Africa by the newly founded Brandenburg African
Company. In the early years of the eighteenth century the competition
with Venice was keen, but in this branch the Italians seem to have held
their own. Not so, however, in the kindred industry, the manufacture of
glass pastes for artificial jewellery. Before the middle of the
century, certain districts in Northern Bohemia obtained almost a
monopoly in this art. These ‘Bohemian stones’ were made first at
Turnau, by the Fischer brothers. This was early in the century; by 1786
there were, it is said, 443 master-workmen in the district thus
employed. After that time the first place was held by the rival town of
Steinschönau, to this day the centre of the industry (Lobmeyr, _Die
Glas Industrie_, 1874, p. 135).

                             CHAPTER XVIII


In Holland the War of Independence does not seem to have interfered
with the work of the glass furnaces already established in several of
the towns by Altarists or Venetians. M. Schuermans, who has devoted a
section of one of his letters to Holland (_op. cit._, vol. xxix. pp.
147-66), finds traces of the Italians at Bois-le-Duc, Middelburg,
Haarlem, and Amsterdam. But by the beginning of the seventeenth century
there were already at Amsterdam glass-houses managed by Dutchmen. M.
Henri Havard has found in the registers of the States-General mention
of two Dutch glass-makers who obtained at this time a privilege for
fifteen years to make ‘glasses for Rhine wine in the shape of _roemers_
as well as beer glasses’ by certain new processes (_Oud Holland_, i.
182). For a time there was an active rivalry between the glass-makers
of Amsterdam and Antwerp: at a later period the enterprising Liége
family of the Bonhommes obtained a footing in several Dutch towns. But,
as I have already said, the ‘green glass’ of the Rhine (not always
necessarily green or even coloured) was from early times in favour in
Holland, if indeed we are not to regard it as indigenous in the
country. At a later period there is no doubt that most of the finer
specimens were made there. It is glasses of this class, _roemers_ in
the first place, but also tall ‘flutes,’ that we see so often in the
works of the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century. Those of a
Venetian type, on the other hand, though by no means absent, are much
rarer than in the contemporary paintings of the Flemish school.

The Dutch seem above all to have esteemed the _ruimer_ or _roemer_; on
glasses of this shape the finest engraving and diamond-scratching were
expended, and it was these glasses that they selected to mount on tall
silver stands of elaborate workmanship. There are the _bekerschroeven_
(beaker-screws), which may at times be seen on the buffet in a
seventeenth-century Dutch interior. There are several fine examples of
these trophy-like arrangements in the Rijks Museum at Amsterdam.

For us, seeing that we must confine ourselves to points of real
artistic interest or historical significance, the glass made by the
Dutch in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is of importance
mainly under these two aspects: 1. That here the art of engraving, or
rather scratching, with the diamond was carried to greater perfection
than in any other country. 2. That starting from the close of the
seventeenth century, the forms and methods of construction of the Dutch
drinking-glasses (apart from the _roemer_) first greatly influenced,
and then in turn were influenced by, our English glasses.

As in Germany, where the Emperor Ferdinand III. learned the art,
drawing with the diamond on glass was in Holland practised as an
elegant accomplishment by people in good position, and above all by
ladies. Indeed we are here brought into contact with a cultured
literary set, a _coterie_ of which the members held a higher social,
and perhaps intellectual, position than we can allow to the majority of
the great painters of the day whose names are better known to us.
Typical frequenters of this circle were the three sisters, daughters of
Roemer Vischer, who were immortalised in the songs of Huyghens, Cats,
and Hooft (Don Henriques de Castro, ‘_Een en ander over Glasgravure_,’
_Oud Holland_, i. 286; see also Hartshorne, p. 48). A still more famous
literary lady was Anna Maria van Schurman, who among so many other
accomplishments had, as Cats has recorded, mastered the art ‘_met een
diamant op het glas gheestigh to schrijven_.’[224] Several good
examples of the work of these ladies, which took the form for the most
part of mottoes engraved with scrolls and flourishes on the bowls of
_roemers_, are preserved in the Rijks Museum: some of these have been
admirably reproduced by Mr. Hartshorne in his work on English

Another interesting class of diamond-scratched Dutch glass is well
represented in the British Museum. Here we find portraits of
contemporary celebrities, of members of the house of Orange in many
cases, together with coats-of-arms, scratched on the bowls of
wine-glasses—either conical glasses of Venetian forms or tall narrow
‘flutes.’ Sometimes, indeed, designs of this character are found on
winged glasses of purely Venetian type. Mr. Nesbitt was of opinion that
these were made in Venice (Slade Catalogue, No. 891), but we now know,
thanks to M. Schuermans’ researches, that such glasses may well have
been produced at this time in the north. The similarity in form of the
bulbs or knops on the stems of all the glasses of this series should be
noted: in no case is there any trace of cutting with the wheel on this
part, still less of any facetting. On a thin funnel-shaped glass
(Slade, No. 889) we have on one side the arms of England and
Orange-Nassau impaled, on the other is a portrait of a lady in the
costume of the middle of the seventeenth century, doubtless the
‘counterfeit’ of Mary, Princess of Orange, the daughter of Charles I.
It is to her that we must refer the inscription in Gothic letters,
‘_Het Welvaren Van De Princes_.’ In these Dutch glasses scratched with
the diamond may be found perhaps the earliest instances of glasses
‘that have been made to speak.’





Of quite another nature were the elaborate compositions engraved for
the most part with the wheel upon plates of glass. It was to work of
this kind that Gerard Dou was brought up by his father—himself ‘a
glass-worker and writer on glass,’ and subsequently master of the
glass-makers’ guild at Leyden. The younger Dou was apprenticed to one
Dolendo, who is described as ‘a right good plate-etcher,’ before he
entered the studio of Rembrandt (Martin, _Gerard Dou_, pp. 28-29).

There came into fashion in Holland in the next century a method of
engraving on glass, if engraving it can be called, of quite a different
nature. This is the stipple or dotted method, the _stip_ of the Dutch,
by which a design of the utmost delicacy—a mere breath, as it were—is
made to appear on the surface of the glass. When examined with a glass
the decoration is seen to be built up of minute dots as in a stipple
engraving,[226] differing from the latter, however, in this, that in
the case of the work on the glass, the lights are given by the dots and
the clear untouched ground represents the shadow.

One of the earliest masters, if not the inventor of this method, was
Frans Greenwood, who appears indeed to have worked with the wheel also.
Greenwood—his name would point to an English extraction—was born at
Rotterdam in 1680, and the latest date found on his engraved work is
1743. There is in the British Museum a wine-glass with a Bacchic
subject, a highly finished example of this _pointillé_ process, signed
‘F. Greenwood f^t.’ In the eighteenth century this stippling on glass
was practised by painters of some note. Thus there are two glasses in
the Rijks Museum (dated 1750 and 1751) both stippled with portrait
heads, which bear the signature of Aart Schouman, a portrait-painter of
repute at the time. But the greatest master of the art was Wolf, an
eccentric genius who lived at the Hague. We know little of him except
that he married in 1787, and died young in 1808. Glasses stippled with
graceful designs by this master, somewhat in the manner of Bartolozzi,
are perhaps less rare than those of Greenwood or Schouman. Some of his
engravings are found upon goblets of flint glass with facetted stems,
of English make, probably. On an example of his work in the British
Museum a graceful female figure bears a scroll with the words, ‘_Werken
van het genootschap. K.W.D.A.V._’

The tradition of Wolf was carried on by Daniel Henriques de Castro, who
died as late as 1862. The son of the latter artist, in an article on
the subject in the first volume of _Oud Holland_, has collected some
traditions bearing on the methods of execution of this now lost
process. The author relates how he had come across an old man who had
watched Wolf while at work on one of his glasses; according to his
report, his only tools were an etching-needle and a small hammer. This
is a matter of some importance, as both the late Mr. Nesbitt and Mr.
Hartshorne appear to have taken it for granted that this delicate
film-like engraving was produced, in part at least, by means of acid.
But the two processes can hardly have been combined, and the effect is
quite unlike that produced when the surface of glass is eaten away by
hydrofluoric acid. It would, indeed, be quite impossible to produce
such delicate work by any etching process of this latter kind.[227]

I shall have something to say of the Dutch wine-glasses of the late
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when I come to speak of the
English glasses that were in a measure founded on them. Suffice to
mention that already, before the end of the seventeenth century, we
find on these glasses the welted foot and the baluster stem moulded and
uncut, enclosing one or more ‘tears’—forms that somewhat later passed
over to England.

                              CHAPTER XIX


In an English work treating of glass, or rather of certain descriptions
of glass, and that chiefly from the artistic point of view, what
position in the book and what relative amount of space should be given
to the glass of England?

The position is, indeed, readily defined, for our country has but
slight claims to recognition as a producer of artistic glass until the
commencement of the eighteenth century—indeed we may perhaps say until
that century was well advanced. The consideration, then, of the glass
of this country must be kept back until that of all the other European
States—Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands—that have
at one time or another produced glass of artistic importance has been
dealt with.

As to the relative importance of our English glass and the amount of
space to be allotted to it, this is a question difficult to answer. For
a moment, no doubt, towards the end of the eighteenth century, it held
the premier place in Europe, on the ground, above all, of the
excellence of the material. Advantage was taken of certain exceptional
qualities in the English flint or lead glass to produce a deeply cut,
facetted ware, solid and brilliant, something undoubtedly _sui generis_
and suitable to its place on the sideboard, or on the well-polished
mahogany table when the cloth was removed. The flashing fire of the
lights cast back from the skilfully arranged facets of the decanters
and glasses, combined with the softer reflections from the silver plate
to give an undeniable charm and an individual stamp to these late
Georgian dinner-tables. This play of lights has appealed to, and has
been not unsuccessfully reproduced by, more than one painter of the
present day. But this facetted ware, the one glory of our English
glass, came late into vogue, at a time when the prevailing fashions
allowed little room for any freedom of treatment, so that it is only
rarely that we can find any merit in the forms and decorations of
individual examples.

It is, however, to a somewhat earlier period that the modern enthusiast
turns. His interest lies in the air-twisted stems, the folded feet, and
the bell-shaped bowls of the drinking-glasses of the eighteenth
century. Now these, though made of flint glass, belong mostly to a time
before full advantage had been taken of the dispersive power of that
material upon the rays of light. Here the question may well be
asked—putting aside all matter of historical or sentimental
interest—what can we say of these endless rows of glasses, classified
and sub-classified on the ground of variety of stem or bowl, as
_objects of art_? But this is a point upon which I should prefer not to
deliver a definite judgment; I have said enough to indicate my personal
standpoint. I can only refer the reader to the copiously illustrated
work of Mr. Hartshorne on English glass, of which the larger part is
occupied with this branch of the subject.[228]

It may be said that the history of English glass divides itself into
two periods. For the first we have abundant documentary
evidence—patents for new processes and petitions for or against these
patents, to say nothing of notices in contemporary journals and
memoirs—but against this an almost total absence of examples of the
glass actually made. This period extends from the early days of
Elizabeth almost to the end of the seventeenth century. In the second
period, on the other hand—and this includes nearly the whole of the
eighteenth century—the documentary evidence almost completely fails
us; but in its place a fairly rich material harvest is available—the
wine-glass, above all, so dear to the collector, now asserts itself.

When at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, or even a little
earlier, a few rays of light begin to be thrown upon the glass made in
England, we find the industry centred in a district on the borders of
Surrey and Sussex: we are here at the western extremity of the great
forest of the Weald, that was a little later to become for a time the
home of an important iron industry. Here the raw materials and the fuel
were at hand. Fuel from the oaks and beeches, and from trees of smaller
growth; the silica from the ‘Hastings sands,’ selected from spots where
the beds were tolerably free from iron; and finally the alkali, for the
most part from the ashes of the bracken that then as now grew so
abundantly in the glades of the woods. For this old English glass, like
that of France, was essentially a _verre à fougère_,[229] made in
districts remote from towns. At a somewhat later time the glass-workers
were indeed forbidden to set up their furnaces within twenty-two miles
of London, seven miles of Guildford, or within four miles ‘of the foot
of the hills called the Sussex downs.’

The little village of Chiddingfold, just within the boundary of Surrey,
may perhaps lay claim to be the original ‘metropolis of English glass,’
and a line measured from Hindhead to Petworth passes close to the
various places—Loxwood, Kirdford, Fernfold, Wisboro’ Green—where we
know that furnaces were already established early in the sixteenth
century. I have already referred to this district when speaking of the
English glass of mediæval times (see p. 139). Fragments of green glass
have been found on the site of a glass-house at Chiddingfold. In the
Museum at Lewes are two bulbous flasks with long necks of this green
Weald-glass. There was another centre of the glass industry in East
Sussex, in the country to the north of Hastings. In a mediæval document
concerning Beckley, in this district, the name Glassye Borough occurs.
At these woodland glass-houses, for many generations, the wandering
pedlars, the ‘glass-men,’ had been wont to renew the stock of
‘vrynells, bottles, bowles, cuppis to drinck and such lyke,’ that they
hawked along the country-side. You may send, says Thomas Charnock in
his _Breviary of Philosophy_ (1557), to Chiddingfold, to the

                ‘And desire him in most humble wise
                To blow thee a glass after thy devise.’

That is to say, that the glass-blower, as we have seen in other cases,
worked from the patterns provided by his customers.

Camden says of the Sussex glass that in his time it was only used ‘of
the common sort.’ Possibly the Sussex glass-blowers made quarrels and
bull’s-eyes for windows also;[230] this, however, was an industry that
centred rather in London, especially in Southwark. Now it was above all
the demand for larger and better made panes for use in the new mansions
with spacious windows—the ‘glass houses’ of the proverb about throwing
stones—that were now springing up on every side, that gave the most
powerful impulse to the introduction of the newer methods of working
glass that had already taken root in France and in the Low Countries.
It must be remembered that in the preparation of the stained glass for
church windows large pieces were not required. Considerable artistic
skill in this branch would be quite compatible with a very primitive
method of blowing and ‘flashing’ the glass. At this time the new
industry—the making of large sheets of broad-glass, that is to
say—was centred in Lorraine, in the country stretching from the Vosges
to the Ardennes; in a lesser degree in Normandy. It is uncertain in
what the superiority of the ‘_verre en tables quarrées_’ made by the
Lorrainers consisted; there is no positive proof that they had as yet
adopted the German cylinder process (see pp. 129 and 234 _note_),
though this is in every way probable.

The French glass-workers who came to England belonged, for the most
part, to the old noble families. We find in our English documents some
of the very names—Hennezel, for instance—that occur in the famous
_Charte des verriers_ granted by John of Calabria, son of King René, in
the year 1448 (see p. 230).[231] When these foreigners are mentioned in
our English documents they are invariably described as gentlemen or

We must remember that in the sixteenth century Antwerp held a
commercial position something like that taken later by Amsterdam and
London: the town was, above all, the centre of the glass trade. It is
not surprising then to find that it was through the medium of an
Antwerp merchant, one Jean Carré, that the French glass-makers were now
introduced into England.[232] Carré, in association with a certain
Briot, brought over both Normans and Lorrainers, and the quarrels and
disputes that soon broke out appear to have had their origin in the
fact that the men to whom the first patents were granted were not
practical workers themselves, and that they were therefore dependent on
others.[233] In any case, before the year 1570, gentlemen of Lorraine
bearing the well-known names of Hennezel, Du Thisac, and Le Houx, as
well, probably, as representatives of the Le Vaillant and other Norman
families, were making glass in more than one spot in the Weald as well
as in London.

But these proud, hot-headed foreigners do not seem to have been popular
in Sussex. There were frequent petitions against the destruction of the
woods to supply the fuel for their glass-houses, and we hear of an
attempt made to rob the ‘outlandish men’ that made glass near Petworth
and to burn their houses. Before 1576, then, the Lorrainers were
already in search of forests where they could work without hindrance;
they began that long peregrination that took them by way of the
Hampshire woods to the Forest of Dean, and finally to Stourbridge and

Some remains of a glass-house at Buckholt Wood, on the line of the old
Roman road between Salisbury and Winchester, had long attracted the
attention of antiquaries before a satisfactory explanation of their
origin could be found. Large quantities of broken window-glass, as well
as fragments of glass of many other kinds, including some of distinctly
Venetian type, had at times been dug up. These remains, doubtless,
represent a store of ‘cullet’ or old broken glass destined to be
remelted, and therefore not necessarily all of it made on the spot.
Fragments, too, of the glass-pots were found, of a greyish-white clay
not of local origin. It is only quite recently that with these
discoveries have been associated certain entries in the registries of
the Walloon Church at Southampton (these were published a few years ago
by the Huguenot Society). Among those admitted to the Lord’s Supper, in
the years 1576 to 1579, we find the names of members of the Du Thisac,
Hennezel, and Le Houx families, all Lorrainers, as well as that of
Pierre Vaillant, a Norman. These communicants are described in the
registry as ‘_Ouvriers de verre a la verriere de boute haut_’
(elsewhere spelt _Bocquehaut_), a fairly good French rendering of the
word Buckholt. It is not every day that one comes across so neat and
conclusive an instance of documentary research supplementing and
completing the work of the ‘men of the spade.’

But here again, in spite of the attraction of the not far distant
Walloon Church, the Lorrainers made but a short stay. In 1599 one
‘Abraham Tysack, son of a frenchman at the glasse-house,’ was baptized
at Newent, in the Forest of Dean, where, at any rate, there can have
been no deficiency of fuel. But the wanderers made apparently no long
stay in the district, for we find that some at least of the number
after a few years settled at Stourbridge, in Worcestershire. The famous
clay of this district, still unsurpassed as a material for the
glass-pots, was, it would seem, already worked along with the beds of
coal which this clay underlies. Here, at King’s Swinford, in 1612, the
name of Tyzack occurs in local records, and a little later, at Old
Swinford, those of Henzey and Tittery. In this neighbourhood some
members of these families at length settled down, maintaining close
relations with certain of their relatives who pushed on as far as
Newcastle-on-Tyne. At this last town, in 1617, a Henzey was fain to
enter the service of Sir Robert Mansell, who was already bringing the
principal glass-workers of England within the net of his monopoly.

I have dwelt on the wanderings of these Lorrainers, who were above all
makers of window-glass, as to them rather than to the Venetians is due,
I think, the definite establishment of a glass industry in England. For
it must be borne in mind that the principal stimulus came from the
demand for better and larger panes for the windows of the new
renaissance houses,—somewhat later, perhaps, for the windows of
‘glass-coaches’ also.

Already early in the sixteenth century not a few examples of Venetian
and, perhaps, even of Oriental glass, may have found their way into the
houses of the wealthy. But we must regard as quite exceptional—the
result, probably, of some passing whim of the king—the collection of
371 pieces of glass that were in 1542 in the possession of Henry VIII.
These are described under the head of ‘Glasses and sundry other things
of erthe’ in an inventory of certain valuable effects in the Palace at
Westminster (_Archæological Journal_, vol. xviii., 1861). Among them
there is mention of flagons, basins, ewers, standing-cups, cruses,
layers, spice-plates, and even forks and spoons of glass. Many of these
pieces are described as ‘jasper-colour’—these were probably of a kind
of _schmelz_—and there is frequent reference in the list to ‘blue
glass’ and ‘glass of many colours.’ A ‘layer’ with the initials ‘H and
A engraven on the cover,’ as well as a cup with ‘Quene Annes sipher
engraven on it,’ had doubtless belonged to Anne Boleyn. The following
items are of some interest:—

‘One thicke glasse of christall with a case of lether lined with
crymson vellat.’

‘Three aulter Candlestickes of glasse.’

‘Oone Holly-water stocke of glasse with a bayle.’

‘Twelve bottles of glasse with oone cover to them all wrought with
diaper work white.’ By this last expression are we to understand some
kind of _vetro di trina_?

Finally, ‘One rounde Loking Glass sett in a frame of wood, vj cornered,
painted under glass with the armes of Ingland, Spayne, and Castile’
carries us back to the days when Catherine of Aragon was queen. Of this
method of decorating the frames of mirrors with inlay of glass painted
on the inner surface I have already spoken. I would again refer the
reader to the mirror in the Arnolfini Van Eyck at the National

The earliest notice that we have of Venetian glass-workers in England
carries us back to the year 1550, and it takes a form that is
characteristic of the times. This is a petition to the Council of Ten,
that has been found among the Venetian state papers. It is signed by no
less than eight Muranese glass-workers, imprisoned in the Tower of
London: they declare that they are threatened with the gibbet if they
fail to work out their contract. These poor men were indeed between the
devil and the deep sea; for did they delay their return to their homes
they were liable, by a newly issued edict, to a long term in the
Venetian galleys. It was only by the personal intervention of the young
king that some arrangement was finally made that allowed of these
Muranese glass-workers returning unmolested after working off part of
their contract. One of these men indeed elected to remain behind, but
he before long made his way to the Low Countries, and this first influx
of Venetian workmen seems to have led to little as far as English glass
was concerned.

Cornelius de Lannoy, from whom Cecil hoped so much, was perhaps as much
an alchemist and a universal schemer as a worker in glass. He was set
to work at Somerset House in 1564, but with little result, it would
seem. He attributed his failure to the clumsiness of the English
workmen and to the want of a suitable clay for his glass-pots.

It is to Jacopo Verzelini, a man evidently of some energy and resource,
that we must give the credit of first successfully making the Venetian
_cristallo_ in England. When in 1575 he obtained a patent ‘for the
makinge of all manner of counterfayt Venyse drinkinge glasses’ (but
not, it would appear, of glass for windows), he was already established
in London. Stow, writing a little later, says: ‘The first making of
Venise glasses in England began at the Crotchet Friars, about the
beginning of the reign of Q. Elizabeth, by one Jacob Vessaline an
Italian.’ The Friars Hall, he tells us, ‘was made a glasse-house,
wherein was made glasse of divers sorts to drincken.’ It was in this
same hall probably that the unhappy craftsmen of Edward VI.’s time had
been set to work. Verzelini, like other glass-workers of the period,
reached England, it appears, by way of Antwerp. At any rate he was
married to a lady of that town, of good family, who bore him twelve
children. This we know from the monumental brass to his memory that may
still be seen in the little church of Down in Kent, where in the year
1606 he was buried.

We see, then, that before the death of Elizabeth the making of both
hollow ware and window-glass by the new methods was firmly established
in London and in the provinces. Great complaints had already arisen of
‘the making of glass by strangers and outlandish men,’ and we hear of
‘the timber and woods spoiled by the glass-houses.’[236] The same
difficulty arose as in France. It was argued that the foreigner should
be required to take native apprentices. But there is evidence that as
late as the first quarter of the seventeenth century, the making of the
better kinds of glass, the ‘Christalline Morana Glass,’ was still in
the hands of Italians. This we have seen was for long the case in
France as well. But we in England were in a measure dependent upon the
foreigner for our window-glass also, this time upon the Lorrainer.

Of glass made in England during Elizabeth’s reign I can point to a
goblet now in the British Museum. It is dated 1586, and bears an
inscription in capitals of somewhat Gothic character—IN : GOD : IS :
AL : MI : TRUST. The glass is engraved with the diamond, and is
decorated with stringings of white enamel.[237] The plain cylindrical
glass tankard in the Gold Room is remarkable only for the silver-gilt
mounting and for the arms of Cecil on the cover.[238]

We have seen that early in the seventeenth century the French
_gentilshommes de verre_ were firmly established at Stourbridge and at
Newcastle. Now by this time the outcry against the destruction of our
English forests, the source of the timber for the navy, was becoming
general. It was directed against the iron-smelters in the first place,
and then against the makers of glass, above all against foreigners. ‘It
were the less evil,’ says a proclamation of 1615, ‘to reduce the times
into the ancient manner of drinking in stone and of lattice windows
than to suffer the loss of such a treasure.’ It was in the Stourbridge
district that Bub Dudley[239] and others were occupied at this very
time with the problem of smelting iron by means of pit-coal. With them
was probably associated Thomas Percivall, to whom more than to any one
else is to be given the credit of the first successful employment of
coal in the glass-furnace.

Others were working on the same lines. To Sir William Slingsby and his
associates a licence was issued in 1610, but this was a very general
document, vaguely worded. More precise was the patent granted the next
year to Sir Edward Zouche, Thomas Percivall, and others. It was under
this patent that the process was perfected, probably at the glass-house
at Lambeth, under the charge of Percivall. Only a few years later, in
1616, English coal was brought into use at the glass-works of St.
Sever, near Rouen, very likely through the mediation of one of the
Norman glass-workers settled in England.

There were many difficulties to be overcome before this pit-coal could
be used with success. Greater care had to be taken in the selection of
the materials for the pots—perhaps without the Stourbridge clay
success would not have been attained—and it was found to be necessary
to ‘close the pots,’ that is to say, to use a covered crucible so as to
protect the glass from the smoky, sulphurous gases given off by the
coal. The credit of the invention of these closed pots, with the mouth
at the side facing the opening of the furnace, is also to be given to

I dwell on these practical details for a special reason. In the first
place, the use of coal and the consequent change in the form of the
crucibles mark the beginning of English glass as a distinct _genre_.
Again, this change is closely connected with a further and still more
important step—the use of lead as an essential constituent in a new
kind of ‘metal,’ the famous English flint-glass of later days. It is
these two novelties that form our contribution to the technique of
glass-making. Not that I can find any proof that lead-glass was made in
England at so early a date. But on the one hand the use of a covered
pot rendered it more difficult, at that time at least, thoroughly to
melt the contents, and therefore favoured the use of a more fusible
mixture; on the other, in the case of a glass containing lead, it is
above all essential to protect the ‘metal’ from the fire.

The history of the progress of glass-making in England from the early
days of Elizabeth to the outbreak of the Civil War in the next century,
is chiefly concerned with the licences and patents granted to a
succession of English and foreign ‘adventurers.’[240] No doubt there
were many abuses in this system; but it is impossible to overlook the
fact that the Cecils and the other advisers of the Queen were enabled
by such means to encourage the foundation of many industries, and this
chiefly by the help of foreigners. For at the beginning of Elizabeth’s
reign we had fallen sadly behind in the matter of the industrial arts.
Not only France and Italy, but Germany too and the Netherlands, had
much to teach us.

Already, however, before the death of the Queen and still more in the
next reign, there arose, as I have said, a great popular outcry against
the monopolists, and this feeling of indignation found an echo in more
than one of James’s parliaments. It is the more strange, therefore, to
find that it was during this reign that the whole glass industry of the
country fell for the first and last time into the hands of one man. But
this was no other than Sir Robert Mansell, Admiral of the Fleet, a man
of exceptional energy and a born fighter, one who had in early life had
more than one brush with the Spaniards. King James, when approached on
the subject of Mansell’s glass monopoly, marvelled that ‘Robin Mansell
being a seaman, whereby he hath got so much honour, should fall from
water to tamper with fire.’

The first we hear of Mansell in this connection is in the year 1615,
when we find him associated with Sir Edward Zouche, Thelwell,
Percivall, and others in a patent for making glass with sea-coal. But
before this he had probably for some time been interested in certain
London glass-works. And now before two years had elapsed he had bought
out all his partners[241] and commenced his reign as ‘glass-king.’ This
monopoly, in spite of frequently renewed opposition, Mansell succeeded
in maintaining up to the time of his death in the days of the
Protectorate. He hunted down the local glass-houses where wood, now
forbidden by law, was still employed. He granted licences to some of
the Lorrainers working at Stourbridge and elsewhere, while—as at
Newcastle, where he had glass-works under his direct management—he
took others of these foreigners into his employ. In London, on the
other hand, at the glass-furnaces of Winchester House, which he now
took over, Sir Robert employed Italians.

We here come into contact with another and not less interesting man,
James Howell, like his master Mansell, a Welshman.[242] Howell was in
1618 ‘steward of the glasse-house’ in Southwark, but he was glad to
change this position for that of traveller for Mansell in Spain and
Italy; for, so he writes to his father, ‘I should in a short time have
melted away to nothing among these hot Venetians.’ His duties were now
to obtain workmen from Italy, and the raw materials, especially the
‘barillia,’ from Spain. In the following year he brought over one of
the famous Miotti family from Middelburg, and not long afterwards we
find him writing from Alicante an interesting account of the ‘Barillia,
a strange kind of vegetable that grows nowhere upon the surface of the
Earth, in that perfection as here.’ ‘The Venetians have it hence,’ he
continues, and he proceeds to give a detailed account of the method of
preparation (Book I. section I. xxv.). Howell’s letters from Venice are
most interesting, and have provided many ‘elegant extracts’ for later
writers. For instance, there is a passage in which he speaks of ‘lasses
and glasses,’ and of the brittleness that beauty shares with the
mirrors of Venice[243]—the rest of the passage is, however, rather too
outspoken for our present taste.

The contention between Mansell and the anti-monopolists was above all
warm about the year 1623, on the occasion of the renewal of his patent
for another fifteen years, and the ‘New Patent,’ the ‘Reasons against
the same,’ Mansell’s ‘Defence’ and his ‘Motives and Reasons,’ and
finally the ‘Answer’ to this last, followed in quick succession. All
these documents and pamphlets are reproduced by Mr. Hartshorne; they
form indeed an important source of information for the history of
English glass. From them we learn that Mansell, after many failures
elsewhere and the expenditure of many thousand pounds, first at
Newcastle successfully made window-glass with the native coal; that the
clay for the pots was at the commencement brought from Staffordshire,
but that as the English clay proved unsatisfactory, he obtained a
better material at infinite cost ‘from beyond Roan in France,’ and
finally from ‘Spawe in Germany.’ At the time he was writing he indeed
protests that he had already sunk £24,000 in his ventures.

The precise position of Mansell after the expiration in 1638 of the
second term of his patent is somewhat obscure, but he seems to have
steered well among the troubles of the time and to have maintained his
monopoly. At the period in question, he tells us he was producing
‘Ordinary Drinking Glasses’ for wine and for beer at four shillings and
half a crown a dozen respectively, as well as mortar-glasses[244] at
one-and-fourpence a dozen. He was at the same time making beer and wine
glasses of crystal (these were from two to three times as dear as the
last), beside looking-glasses and spectacle-glass plates in rivalry
with the Venetians; finally, with English materials, window-glass and

There is nothing in all this, or indeed in any of these patents and
petitions, to point to the existence of lead-glass at this time. The
use of barilla, I may add, is incompatible with the preparation of a
lead-glass; in such a glass it is essential that the alkali should be
potash. On the whole, during the long period of the Mansell monopoly
(from 1615 to, say, 1655) little progress appears to have been made in
the manufacture of glass, but of course we must make allowance for the
times of civil strife that filled the latter part of this period.

After the Restoration the issue of patents began again. Everything
points at this time to a renewal of interest in Venetian glass. When,
however, in 1663 the Duke of Buckingham obtained his licence, his claim
was based upon the improvements he had made in the looking-glass plates
and in the plates for the glass-coaches. As in France, sheets of large
size and good material were now in demand for both purposes. It was
somewhat later, it would seem, that he turned his attention to making
hollow ware in the Venetian fashion. Although nitre, a salt of
potash,[245] played an important part in the glass made by the duke,
there is no proof that any use was made of red lead or of litharge.
Evelyn, who in 1673 visited the duke’s ‘Italian glass-house at
Greenwich where glasse was blown of finer metal than that of Murano at
Venice,’ says nothing about such substances being employed.

But in spite of this progress in the home industry, the importation of
chests of glass from Venice was at its height in the reign of Charles
II. This we see from the correspondence of a London glass merchant, one
John Greene (1667-1672), with a Venetian firm, which has fortunately
been preserved.[246] Along with these letters were found the ‘office
copies’ of the patterns which Greene sent out to Venice as a guide to
the glass-blowers. Here we have mention of ‘clouded calsedonia glasses’
for beer, claret, and sack, ‘creuits with or without feet, brandj
tumblers,’ and ‘glasse floure potts.’ Not the least interesting item is
the ‘Rhenish wine glasse,’ which is illustrated by a typical roemer
with prunts on the stem, almost our only evidence of the use of these
goblets in England. Greene advises his Venetian correspondent that the
looking-glasses and the coach-glasses are to be packed at the bottom of
the cases to escape if possible the search of the custom-house
officials. What especially strikes one in examining the patterns of the
drinking-glasses, which form the bulk of the orders (Hartshorne, Plates
30-32), is the fact that the stem or shank, so important a part of the
eighteenth-century glass, is not yet developed; the conical bowl is
separated from the foot by a simple or fluted bulb, or sometimes by two
such bulbs or knops.

But this Venetian trade had now seen its best days; there are some
hints of a falling off in Greene’s last two letters (1671-1672). On the
other hand, during all this period the enterprising glass firms of the
Netherlands kept up a close intercourse with England. As early as 1662
a patent for making various kinds of glass was obtained by one John
Colenet, whom Mr. Hartshorne has very plausibly claimed as a member of
the great glass-making family of Ghent and Namur, the De Colnets, so
often mentioned in the letters of M. Schuermans. A few years later the
tables were turned, for now the De Colnet firm was fain to engage an
Englishman to produce ‘_verre à l’Angleterre_.’ In 1680 the great rival
firm of Liége, the De Bonhommes, according to a document quoted by M.
Schuermans (Letter vii.), was already making ‘_flint-glass à

Now this statement brings me face to face with what is the great crux
in the history of English glass—the question, namely, when and where
lead-glass was first applied to the manufacture of hollow ware.

But first I must say a word of a little book published in 1662. This is
the already-mentioned translation by Christopher Merret of the _Arte
Vetraria_ of Antonio Neri (see p. 7). Merret, who was a man well
abreast of the science of his day and an early, if not an original,
member of the newly founded Royal Society, has supplemented Neri’s
series of recipes with certain ‘Observations’ of his own. Here may be
found some curious information concerning the materials used in the
manufacture of the _cristallo_, for it is with this glass that the
author is chiefly concerned. Merret does not appear to have had much
acquaintance with the glass made in England in his day. For the
practical details of the furnace and for the processes of glass-blowing
he takes us back to Agricola. Both Neri and his translator are indeed
for the most part occupied with the nature and preparation of the
materials, and with the various methods by which glass may be
coloured.[247] Neri, like all the old writers, knew of the merits of
lead-glass in the preparation of pastes for the manufacture of
artificial gems; in his sixty-first section he tells us: ‘Glass of
lead, known to few in this art, as to colour is the finest and noblest
glass at this day made in the furnace. For in this glass the colours
imitate the Oriental gems, which cannot be done in crystal. But unless
diligence be used all sorts of pots will be broken, and the metal will
run into the furnace.’ Upon this passage Merret observes: ‘Glass of
Lead! ’Tis a thing unpractised in our furnaces, and the reason is
because of the exceeding brittleness thereof.’ Lead, he continues, is
indeed the principal ingredient in the glaze of the potter, ‘and could
this glass be made as tough as Crystalline, ’twould far surpass it in
the glory and beauty of its colours.’ Thus we see, with Merret as with
Neri, the great merit of lead-glass is the capacity possessed by it of
bringing out the colours of metallic oxides. They still regard the
material from the mediæval point of view. The bad working qualities of
this glass of which Merret complains may very probably have been due to
the fact that, starting from the basis of their _cristallo_, the
glass-workers continued to use the soda-holding barilla instead of
employing a potash salt.

The Venetians in the preparation of their _cristallo_ laid great stress
on the hard white pebbles, the _cogoli_, from the bed of the Po or of
the Ticino; these they regarded as an essential constituent of a good
glass. We in England, during the reign of Charles II., succeeded in
replacing these pebbles by our native flints; and this English
flint-glass,[248] properly so-called, early acquired a good reputation
on the Continent. The ingenious Mr. John Houghton, writing in 1683
(_Letters for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade_), after speaking
of our dependence upon the Venetians some years since, goes on to say:
‘Now by the fashion of using glasses in coaches and other good means we
easily enough serve our neighbours.’ In 1682 he tells us there were
exported from England two thousand five hundred and seventy-two
drinking-glasses, besides some looking-glasses and ‘window chests.’
This confirms what I have said of the date when English flint-glass
became well known in the Low Countries. Now it is generally taken for
granted that by this time the term flint-glass had come to mean
lead-glass. Certainly soon after the beginning of the next century
lead-glass was already recognised as essentially a substance of English
origin; but, as I have said, there is unfortunately not a word of
evidence, documentary or otherwise, to show when or where this glass
was first made, nor is it possible, I think, to point to any example of
this lead-glass to which an earlier date than the first or second
decade of the eighteenth century can be attributed. Indeed everything
points to the English flint-glass of the last quarter of the
seventeenth century being a form of the Venetian _cristallo_.

In any case it is essential to bear in mind that both in chemical
composition and in physical properties no two things could be more
unlike than the _cristallo_ on which the early flint-glass, properly so
called, was founded, and the lead-glass which afterwards usurped the
name.[249] The one is a typical soda-lime, the other an equally
definite potash-lead glass, and the materials had to be sought for from
entirely different sources.

The above-mentioned Mr. John Houghton, who every week, in the
commercial paper edited by him, published an article on some technical
or scientific subject, in the spring of 1696 devoted a series of these
‘leaders’ to the subject of glass. After some general reflections on
the substance, when we are told, among other things, that
‘Vitrification is the last mutation of bodies of which Nature is
capable and from which there is no going back,’ in his issue of May 2
he takes up the main subject. ‘According to my information,’ he tells
us, ‘we are of late greatly improved in the art of _Glass-making_. For
I remember the time when the Duke of _Buckingham_ first encouraged
_glass-plates_, and _Mr. Ravenscroft_ first made _Flint-glass_.[250]
Since then we have mended our Window-glass and outdo all abroad. And
what e’er may be said against _Stock-Jobbery_, yet it has been the
Means to raise great Summs of Money to improve this Art.’ Again, on May
16 we are given a carefully classified list of ninety glass-houses
existing in England. Of these, twenty-four were in London, nine at
Bristol, seventeen at Stourbridge, and eleven at Newcastle. These
glass-houses he divides into those for looking-glass plates, for
bottles and for ‘_Flint, Green, and Ordinary_.’ Now the rational
inference from all this seems to me to be that Houghton, _who was in a
position to know_, knew nothing about lead-glass. The flint-glass
houses are classed together with the ‘green’ and ‘ordinary,’ and
flint-glass for him was glass made from flints.

So, as we have seen, Haudicquer de Blancourt, writing in France a few
years earlier, knew nothing of lead-glass other than that used for
objects of _verroterie_. It is at least evident that if our own
glass-makers had mastered the art before the end of the century, the
secret was well kept.[251]

But before proceeding further, it may be well to form some definite
idea of the composition of lead-glass and of the physical properties
that led to its replacing in great measure the soda-lime glass of
Venetian type. In the first place, as I have said, it is essential that
the alkali in this glass (in the manufacture of hollow ware, at least)
should be potash, and it was, perhaps, the fact that the lead was at
first used along with soda that so long delayed the production of a
‘metal’ suitable for the manufacture of blown-glass. Again, the potash
in the case of lead-glass must be something quite different from the
impure material employed for the old green glass; this crude alkali
contained, among other bases, a large percentage of lime. Saltpetre
appears to have been used in the first place, and then a more carefully
lixiviated form of vegetable ashes known as pearl-ash. The amount of
lead oxide may vary from 28 to 40 per cent., and the specific gravity
of the resultant glass from 2·8 to 3·6.

The great merit of lead-glass lies in its absolute transparency and
brilliancy, combined with a certain darkness in the shadows. This
brilliancy and fire, it is well to point out, are only indirectly
dependent upon the refractive power exercised by the glass upon the
rays of light that pass through it; in this respect lead-glass differs
little from rock crystal or from the Venetian _cristallo_. But one
quality it has which distinguishes it from all other kinds of glass as
well as from nearly all transparent natural stones, the diamond, of
course, excepted. This is the power possessed by it of _dispersing_ the
rays of white light: the elements of which this light is composed in
passing through lead-glass are bent aside in _different degrees_, so
that the issuing ray is broken up into its component colours. This it
is that gives fire, but this fire is only fully brought out by means of
facetted or angular surfaces. On this point—the distinction between
refraction and dispersion—a good deal of confusion exists. The
following table, which I borrow from a little book on gems by Professor
Church, may help to clear up this point:—

                            Refractive Index.  Comparative Dispersing

   Diamond,                       2·75                   44
   Flint-glass,                   1·57                   36
   Rock-crystal,                  1·55                   14
   Plate and crown glass,         1·52                   15

We here see that lead-glass or flint-glass has little greater
refractive power on light than rock crystal or the ordinary plate and
crown glass of commerce which belongs to the same family as the
_cristallo_ of the Venetians. In dispersive power, on the other hand,
it stands apart from both these substances and rivals the diamond in
scattering the component rays of white light.

                               CHAPTER XX


We may probably regard the reign of William III. as the turning-point
in the history of our English glass as in so many other of our minor
arts. It is to that period that one must assign the first beginnings of
our modern industrial life,[252] and it is in the Dutch influence, at
that time so dominant, that the principal stimulus is to be found.

Of the window and mirror glass of the period a most interesting series
is preserved at Hampton Court. Many of the panes of the windows facing
the garden façades of the palace are strongly tinged with purple, a
result of the process by which the colourless protoxide of manganese is
reconverted into the purple bin-oxide under the influence of sunlight.
Placed between the windows in William III.’s state bedroom are some
curious mirrors with frames ornamented with _appliqué_ plates of deep
blue glass carved into patterns and monograms. Observe, too, a charming
mirror of the same period over the fireplace in this room.

It is, however, still difficult to point to surviving examples to
illustrate the vessels of English glass made about this period. Certain
covered bowls (such as that reproduced by Mr. Hartshorne on p. 238 of
his great work) may date back to the end of the seventeenth century.
The same author gives an illustration of a fine posset-pot with quilled
handles, preserved at Chastleton. This bowl, decorated with roses,
masks, and berry-like prunts, may be as old as Charles II.’s reign.
When one calls to mind the picturesque pottery—the slip-ware—that was
made at the time, it would seem not unlikely that in the local
glass-houses something similar may have been attempted in glass.

We have, of course, plenty of glass wine-bottles, a few of which may
date as far back as the reign of Charles I. These bottles are mostly of
a black impure glass and of a globular form, squat and compressed at
the sides, reminding one of the leather _botel_ from which our word
bottle is derived. Similar bottles are found in the Low Countries, and
they may often be seen in Dutch pictures. The introduction of the
practice of bottling wine, as far as England is concerned, is generally
connected with Sir Kenelm Digby, that universal genius who, in the
reign of Charles I., was occupied with so many branches of the arts.
Drinking-bottles of this description, dating from the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, are often dug up while excavating the foundations
of houses. An extensive collection, chiefly of local origin, may be
seen in the Guildhall Museum, and Mr. Hilton Price has a representative
series derived also from excavations in the city. The surface of these
bottles is often covered with an iridescent scale giving them an
appearance of great age. A circular stamp bearing the maker’s name is
sometimes found on the shoulder, but these stamped bottles are in all
cases, I think, of later date. There is a small collection of these
stamps in the British Museum.

I have already pointed out that during the reign of Charles II. the
prevalent form of the drinking-glass was still of the old Venetian
type. The stem was almost non-existent; it was at best represented by a
spherical bulb connecting the two cones—the upper one often truncated,
the lower very shallow—that formed respectively the bowl and the foot.
In the Spanish Netherlands, before the end of the century, another form
became prevalent: the stem now assumes more or less a baluster form,
divided from the bowl by a distinct shoulder; the knop of this stem is
often hollow, and generally duplicated. In some cases a silver coin is
found lying loose in this hollow bulb. Such a form we may perhaps
regard as the starting-point for the vast and varied series of English
drinking-glasses which constitutes the principal element in a
collection of English glass.

Since the drinking-glass forms so important a part in the history of
our native glass, perhaps it may be well to turn for a moment to
consider the process by which a vessel of this sort is made, the more
so as we are told by a high practical authority that in the manufacture
of a wine-glass every principle of glass-blowing is illustrated (H. J.
Powell, _Principles of Glass-making_, 1883). Wine-glasses, says Mr.
Powell, may have either a ‘straw shank or stem’ pulled out from the
substance of the bowl itself, or more often a ‘stuck shank’ made from a
separate piece of glass subsequently added to the bowl; again, the foot
may be either blown or cast.

I will take as an example a wine-glass with a ‘straw shank’ and a blown
foot. ‘The glass for the bowl is first gathered and blown to the
required shape. Upon the centre of the base of the bowl, which is still
attached to the blow-pipe, a small quantity of molten glass is
skilfully dropped from the end of a working rod [the pontil]. Part of
the added glass is formed into a small button by the grip of the spring
tool [procello], and the residue is pulled out into the stem. In the
meantime a smaller bulb has been blown and its extremity fixed to the
end of the stem from which the button has previously been removed. The
smaller bulb is severed in the midst and the cup-shaped remnant
adhering to the stem is reheated, opened by the insertion of one point
of the spring tool, and by rapid rotation thrown out into a disc or
foot by the agency of centrifugal force.’ The pontil is now attached to
the foot by means of a seal of molten glass, and the upper bulb (the
future bowl of the glass) ‘wetted off’ from the blowing-tube by the
application of a moistened iron. The glass, held by the pontil attached
to the foot, is completed by reheating the severed edges of what is now
the bowl, cutting them even with the shears and rounding them by a
second exposure to the fire. The now completed wine-glass is finally
separated from the pontil by a jerk and taken to the annealing oven. A
rough edge remaining where the pontil was attached is at the present
day invariably smoothed by grinding; not so, however, in the case of
the older glasses, and this is a point to be noted by the collector. In
Germany and Bohemia the rough edge of the bowl after shearing is ground
even on the wheel instead of being rounded off in the furnace, and
foreign-made glasses may be often distinguished by their more angular

We shall now be in a better position to attack that extensive and
complicated series, the drinking-glasses of the eighteenth century. Mr.
Hartshorne, who in his _Old English Glasses_[253] has treated the
subject in great detail, mentions incidentally that he has made more
than a thousand full-sized outlines of glasses that have passed through
his hands. We must be content, then, to accept the classification of
such an authority, although some of the divisions may seem a little
arbitrary to one who has no claim to be an expert. Thus out of sixteen
families of English eighteenth-century glass there are only two that
contain any objects other than drinking-glasses in the narrower sense
of the word; again, four or five of the groups are based chiefly upon
the liquor—wine, beer, mead, mumm, syllabub, cider, cordial water, or
punch—that these glasses were presumably made to contain. In a
division of glasses from this latter point of view I shall only mention
three heads which alone seem to me of sufficient importance to merit
separate treatment—wine-glasses, glasses for ale and beer, and glasses
for cordial waters—and even these, though varying in size, pass
through the same series of shapes in bowl and stem. Again, a cross
division may be made distinguishing the ruder and somewhat more solid
household and tavern glasses from those destined for the table of the

The main lines, however, of the classification of these
drinking-glasses must be based upon the form of the bowl and upon the
outline and construction of the stem. But first a word may be said of
the relation of our eighteenth-century glasses to their predecessors
and contemporaries on the Continent. On the whole, one may conclude
that the new forms and methods of decoration grew up in Holland, in the
Spanish Netherlands, or again in the Liége district, towards the end of
the seventeenth century, when the old Italian influence was giving way
to processes and schemes of decoration that had their origin in Germany
and Bohemia. The methods of the great firms of the Bonhommes and the De
Colnets were above all eclectic; the opaque-twisted stems of their
glasses were essentially of Venetian origin, the engraved bowl had its
prototype in Germany, and the material finally—the ‘metal’—before
long was English.

In the case of the English glasses that followed in the same lines, the
greatest care seems to have been given to the metal employed; next to
that, the construction of the stem and the outline of the bowl received
attention; on the other hand, the engraving on the bowl, compared to
the contemporary work in Germany and the Netherlands, was for the most
part of a summary, not to say rude character. As for the foot, the
margin was generally slightly ‘welted’ or folded over from above, so
that the glass stands only on the rim; by this the solidity of the foot
is at the same time increased.[254] Otherwise the only variation of
importance in the shape of the foot depends upon its greater or less
flatness; in the earlier glasses the central part generally rises up to
form a dome, upon which rests the base of the stem. The square bases
with plinth-like steps belong to a much later time and are generally
associated with facetted ware. It may be noted that the glasses of the
eighteenth century stand on the whole on a relatively wider foot than
those now made.

The first point of importance in considering the stem is to distinguish
those that are drawn—these are the ‘straw-shanks,’ formed of the same
piece of metal as the bowl—from the ‘stuck-shanks’ that are made of a
separate piece of glass. The latter form by far the larger class. As
regards the outline, the stem may be either a plain rod or cylinder, or
again of baluster shape—this last but a modification of the double
knops that constitute the whole shank of some seventeenth-century
glasses. In other cases the stem is marked by spiral lines in
relief—that is to say, it is ‘rib-twisted,’ or, finally, it may be cut
into flat facets. But perhaps the most important division of the stems
of our English glasses is that based upon the nature of the spiral
lines of greater or less complexity so generally found in the interior
of the cylinder of glass. These lines may be formed either by strings
or bands of opaque white, or more rarely of coloured glass, or again by
empty threads formed by drawing out a bubble of air. These are the
opaque-twisted and the air-twisted stems respectively.

If now we turn to the outline of the main division of the glass, the
bowl, this has been made the basis of a division that classes these
bowls as straight-sided, waisted, bell-shaped, and finally, bowls with
a curve resembling either the ogee or the double ogee of the architect.






The air-drawn stem, if not an English invention, was certainly brought
to great perfection here at an early period. We must seek the origin of
this device in the large ‘blows,’ often of very irregular shape, that
fill the knop or bulb on the stems of earlier glasses.[255] This ‘blow’
is sometimes prolonged into a sort of tail which passes down nearly to
the foot. In other cases we find several smaller ‘tears’ in the same
bulb, formed, it appears, by puncturing, while it is still soft, the
little mass of glass destined to form the bulb, and then covering it
with a second gathering. These air-beaded stems are mostly of Low
Country origin; but they are of interest to us, as we may probably
regard them as the starting-point of the air-twists which are formed by
drawing out and twisting the original spherical mass, containing one or
more of these bubbles or tears. It may be mentioned that in a general
way a loose, widely spaced spiral is characteristic of the earlier
glasses, while the tightly twisted stems are only found on late
examples. This applies also to the spirals on the rib-twisted stems of
plain glass. There is another point that should not be overlooked: this
is that the twist on eighteenth-century glasses always descends from
right to left, while in modern imitations the reverse direction is
generally taken.

Perhaps the earliest type of English glass is one with a waisted bowl,
engraved with a full-blown rose, and supported on a rib-twisted stem;
but those on stems loosely air-twisted may sometimes be as old.

There is a glass in the British Museum with a bell-shaped bowl engraved
with a rose, a pink, and a third flower of undetermined species; this
we may take as a good type of the earlier drinking-glass. The bowl is
divided from the air-twisted stem by a hollow bulb containing a
sixpence of Charles II. dated 1679. It will be noted how closely the
berry-like stamps on the bulb resemble the prunts on the stem of a
_roemer_; they occur again on the already mentioned posset-cup from
Chastleton. Such decoration may, perhaps, be regarded as characteristic
of the English glass of the end of the seventeenth century.

The opaque-twisted stem formed, on the same system as the Venetian
_vetro di trina_, from rods containing threads of opaque white glass or
_latticinio_, is on the other hand not a specially English type. Such
stems were in great favour in the Low Countries and in the north of
France, and it is even possible that the rods of glass from which our
English examples are formed may have been imported from Venice or from
the Netherlands.[256] The white lines are sometimes combined with
air-twists to form complicated patterns.

The glasses with straight-sided bowls may, on the whole, be attributed
to an early period, and together with the contemporary bell-shaped
glasses they constitute an essentially English class. Those again with
the so-called ogee bowls are especially associated with the Bristol
glass-houses. Glasses with bowls of this outline form nearly one-third
of the extensive collection of Mr. Singer, which was formed for the
most part, as I have already mentioned, in the neighbourhood of that

I now turn to the engraved designs that are found upon the bowls of
most of these eighteenth-century glasses. There is not much to be said
for the inventive powers or for the technical skill shown by the
engraver. Indeed, considering the general low level of the engraved
work, there is some temptation to find a Dutch or Flemish origin for
any specimen of engraving that shows superior technical or artistic
qualities; and there is little doubt that in the case of the earlier
pieces at least, such an attribution would be justified.[257]

The design that we find most frequently on our eighteenth-century
glasses is a rose branch with, on the opposite side, a butterfly. This
motive is found on the bell-shaped bowls of early glasses with
air-twisted stems. With certain modifications it continued long in use.
The rose, with the change of fashion after the middle of the century,
became more naturalistic, and the butterfly often takes the form of a
moth. Other designs have reference to the beverage destined to be drunk
from the glass: for wine-glasses, bunches of grapes and vine-leaves
(often accompanied by a humming-bird); ears of barley for beer-glasses;
and in the few rare cases where an apple-tree forms part of the design,
we may associate the glass with cider. The popular cries—‘No Excise,’
or ‘Wilkes and Liberty’ and ‘No. 45’—which are sometimes found on
glasses towards the middle of the century,[258] remind us of the new
fashion that came in about that time of finding in the decoration of
pottery or other ware an opportunity for political propaganda, and for
the glorification of the hero of the day. There was not much to be done
in this way on the restricted space at command on the bowls of our
glasses; towards the end of the century, however, naval emblems are
frequently to be found, and the Nelson glasses form a group by

But of all the glasses that are thus ‘made to speak,’ to use the
expression of the great Napoleon, who had strong opinions as to the
advantages of this method of political _réclame_, the most interesting
class is formed by the treasured Jacobite glasses, bearing mottoes and
emblems of a more or less cryptic character, or, more rarely, portraits
of the young or the old Pretender engraved on the bowl.[259] The
extraordinary fascination exercised over some minds by what George
Borrow used to call ‘Charlie-over-the-waterism,’ is nowhere better
exhibited than in the almost devotional tone with which this subject is
approached by more than one of our authorities. The more important of
these glasses, especially the large ones with drawn stems, and those
with baluster or rather double-knopped stems, are probably of foreign
origin; at all events they were engraved in the north of France or in
the Low Countries. Of the rare examples with the head of the young
Pretender surrounded by a wreath of laurels, there are very few
specimens in our public museums: I can only call to mind a small glass
from the Schreiber collection at South Kensington and one or two
examples lately presented to the British Museum (Plate XLIV.). The most
frequent emblem is the rose with two buds, traditionally, I believe,
regarded as symbolical of James II. with his son and grandson, although
to one not in the inner circle of the cause the relation of the
equipoised buds to the central flower would seem rather to point to the
old Pretender and his two sons Charles Edward and Henry.[260]

As to the inscriptions on these glasses, we find in one instance four
stanzas from the Jacobite version of ‘God save the King’ engraved on
the bowl. But in most cases the allusion to the cause is of a more
disguised character. The commonest of all is the single word ‘FIAT,’
the motto of the Jacobite society known as the Cycle, which flourished
in the west of England during the greater part of the eighteenth

I may note that among the Jacobite glasses treasured up in many an
old house in the west and north of England, one rarely comes across
any example that cannot be classed more or less accurately as a
wine-glass. Quite exceptional is the decanter engraved with a
circular compass-card pointing to a star, between oak leaves and
roses (Hartshorne, Plate 64). This decanter is one of a pair
preserved, along with as many as eleven of the above mentioned ‘Fiat’
glasses, in the early Jacobean house at Chastleton, on the borders of
Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.[261] Here also are many other pieces
of old English glass to more than one of which I have already

Although the history of English glass during the eighteenth
century—it would be more accurate perhaps to say from about 1670 to
1770—tends always to fall back upon the drinking-glass, yet during
that time the material was applied also to the manufacture of many
other objects. We find in the earlier records frequent reference to
large vessels of glass, blown or cast; this was indeed the case as
far back as the time when Chiddingfold was the centre of
glass-making. A favourite form at the end of the seventeenth
century—but here again a drinking-glass—was the ‘yard,’ an
exaggerated outgrowth of the Venetian or Low Country ‘flute.’ Thus
Evelyn, describing the ceremonies on the occasion of the proclamation
of James II., says that at Bromley the king’s health was ‘drunk in a
flint glasse of a yard long.’ Some time before this, in 1669, on the
occasion of a visit to the glass-house at Blackfriars, the same
writer mentions the ‘singing glasses’ that he there had made for him,
and which ‘make an echo to the voice ...’ but ‘were so thin that the
very breath broke one or two of them.’ At a later time trumpets were
made of glass, and some of these have survived.

But few examples, however, of what may be called miscellaneous glass of
an earlier date than the seventies of the eighteenth century have been
preserved. It was about this time that a great change must have come
over the manufacture, though on this point we have strangely little
direct information. This period, we know, was a critical one in the
history of the minor arts both in England and in France. In the latter
country, the simpler and more classical style associated with the reign
of Louis XVI. replaced the more unrestrained forms of the _Louis
Quinze_ period some years before the death of the latter king. In
England we see the new shapes first in the work of the silversmith
about the year 1770, and soon after they are well represented in the
Chelsea-Derby porcelain. In the case of glass this change is above all
to be associated with the increased use of facetting. Flat facets
divided by obtuse angles may indeed be found at times on the stems and
shoulders of drinking-glasses almost from the commencement of the
century. But now these facets take a purely geometrical form. The
dishes and basins of the time simply bristle with sharp-pointed
pyramids, so that these heavy, solid vessels can scarcely be lifted
with impunity.

Now for the first time full advantage was taken of the power possessed
by the heavy lead-glass of dispersing the rays of light, for only by
the use of these facets was the full fire of the glass developed. This
is indeed—so at least it seems to me—the one really important period
in the history of English glass. It was not long after this time,
towards the end of the century, that use was for the first time made of
machinery for driving the grinding-wheels. The glass, whose general
outline had been previously determined in the mould, was now quickly
channelled with intersecting furrows. There is at South Kensington a
small collection of the earlier facetted glass, presented by Mr. H. B.
Lennard, which contains some pieces of real artistic merit. This was
the period when the square plinth-like base was in fashion—not perhaps
in itself a very desirable form. In the Lennard collection are two
carved cups with these square feet: the bowl in each case is surrounded
by deeply cut gadroons curving as they descend; on other parts the
usual facets are found (Plate XLV. 1). There is a fine sculpturesque
feeling about the treatment of these standing cups that carries one
back to far earlier days—in fact I know of no other specimens of
English glass where such full advantage has been taken of the qualities
of the material, and this without any abuse or exaggeration.[262]







But for the most part—above all after the end of the century—the
facetting runs wild; sometimes it covers the whole surface, and even
where there are no facets the ground is marked out by rectangular
divisions. The decoration as a whole is mechanically executed. But even
this machine-made work is better than the cheap imitations of later
days produced by pressing the glass into moulds of metal.

The cutting, or rather the grinding, of the glass was effected on a
cast-iron wheel. A number of these wheels were fixed on a horizontal
shaft; a workman seated in front of each held the glass against the
revolving face. The actual abrading in such a case is done by the
gritty particles of the sand, which mixed with water falls in a
continuous stream from the hopper above. After smoothing on a stone
wheel, the surface was polished on a wheel or ‘lap’ of willow-wood (or
sometimes of lead), first by means of pumice or rotten stone and then
with putty powder. Engraving, in the Bohemian or German sense, held a
subordinate position, and when made use of, for the better sort of work
at least, foreigners were generally employed. The outlines were then
cut by minute copper wheels with the aid of finely pulverised emery
powder mixed with oil, as in the case of the German glass.[263]

As I have said, it was above all this facetted ware—‘_l’article
Anglais, solide et comfortable mais sans élégance_,’ as a French writer
calls it—that spread the renown of English glass through the length
and breadth of Europe.

At that time the famous English flint-glass was made by mixing three
parts of pure sand, well washed and burned (from Alum Bay, Lynn, or
Reigate), with two parts of red lead or litharge and one part of
carbonate of potash. A small fraction of saltpetre and a little oxide
of manganese were subsequently added to cleanse the metal. The potash,
up to the middle of the last century, was introduced in the form of
pearl-ash imported from Canada or Russia, and the litharge came from
the refineries where silver was extracted from the native lead. In
fusing the glass, great importance was attached to the quick melting of
the materials at the full heat of the furnace, and to the subsequent
rapid working of the pot. Our English glass industry was nearly ruined
by the enormous excise duties, collected on the most arbitrary and
artificial system, to which it was subjected both before and after the
close of the great war. When on the repeal of these taxes the industry
‘rose from its ashes,’ it was conducted on a purely commercial basis.

I have already called attention to the important part played by Bristol
in the manufacture of glass during the eighteenth century. That town
obtained at this time a unique distinction in the history of English
glass, as the one spot where a distinct kind of ware—a special
_genre_—was made. It cannot be precisely stated when the opaque white
glass decorated with enamel colours was first made at Bristol; what
record we have does not take us further back than the latter half of
the eighteenth century. This glass was apparently very brittle, and
would not stand heat, a fact which may account for the few examples
that have survived. In general character the Bristol _lattimo_ closely
resembles the other imitations of porcelain made with glass, which were
so much in vogue at the beginning of the century. I have already
mentioned the opaque white glass of Orleans, of Barcelona, and of
Venice. Mr. Hugh Owen has collected at the end of his excellent work on
Bristol porcelain (_Two Centuries of Ceramic Art in Bristol_, 1873)
some curious information about this glass, from the account-book of a
local enameller, one Edkins. The ledger in question contains entries
from 1762 to 1787. According to an analysis made by Professor Church,
the opaque Bristol glass contains an exceptionally large quantity of
lead—as much as 44 per cent., it would seem—and, what is certainly
remarkable, less than one per cent. of tin. It is to this substance,
however, seeing that neither phosphate of lime nor arsenic[264] is
present, that we must attribute its opacity.

Mr. Owen thinks that in whiteness and in softness of texture this
Bristol ware exceeds all other opaque glasses of the kind, and comes
nearer than any of them in aspect to the soft-paste porcelain of the
day. According to the papers left by the above-mentioned Edkins, the
better kinds—these were above all tea-poys, enamel-painted in the
manner of the contemporary Bristol porcelain—were decorated in the
usual way with coloured fluxes melted on in the muffle-stove. But the
common articles ‘were simply painted with oil colours mixed with a
desiccator and dried hard by artificial heat.’[265]

In the Schreiber collection at South Kensington may be seen a pair of
candlesticks with twisted stems made of this white opaque Bristol
glass. They are well painted with flowers and butterflies on a white
chalky ground. At a later time some passable imitations of Venetian
glass decorated with white threads in a ruby ground were made at
Bristol, as well as bottles splashed with purple, black, and white,
after the manner of a French and Venetian ware of the seventeenth
century that has already been described. The glass-works at Nailsea,
nine miles south-west of Bristol, were established in 1788 and survived
to the middle of the last century. To the earlier years of these works
may be attributed some jugs of yellowish-green glass, with large
splashes of white, that turn up at times in the west of England.

James Tassie (born 1735), the Glasgow stonemason, applied the
experience he had gained in the modelling of portrait heads in wax to
the reproduction of antique gems in coloured pastes. The bright colours
of these compare unfavourably with the delicate hues of the glass
intaglios that have come down from classical times. But Tassie, both
James and his nephew William, also made portrait medallions of a
comparatively large size, using a nearly opaque glass paste or frit,
more or less resembling porcelain. This paste was formed, it is said,
of ‘a finely powdered glass and finely powdered pigments, annealed by
being placed in a reverbatory furnace.’ This is a substance of some
interest to us, and we may perhaps find in it points of resemblance to
the ‘_pâte de verre_’ employed lately by M. Henri Cros (see Chap.

I can only mention one other local variety of glass. In Ireland,
towards the end of the eighteenth century, more than one attempt was
made to encourage the manufacture. Some large fruit-dishes of heavy
cut-glass, and others in the form of open baskets adorned with
festoons, have been traced back to glass-houses established at
Waterford about the year 1780. This glass is distinguished by a more or
less faint blue tinge derived from a minute quantity of cobalt in the
‘metal.’ The gilding that was largely applied to these vessels was
burned in by means of borax, and where the gold has come away the
surface of the glass is rough and pitted.

                              CHAPTER XXI


I shall now devote a short chapter to the glass made in Asia, that is
to say in Persia, in India, and in China, in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries.

This later Asiatic glass, though so thoroughly Oriental in character,
can as a whole scarcely be regarded as a product of strictly indigenous
growth, for in nearly all cases the technique of the manufacture, in
some indeed the materials and even the ‘metal’ itself, can be traced
back to Europe. It is for this reason that I have reserved its
treatment to this late stage.

We are fortunate in possessing in the Oriental galleries at South
Kensington, as well as in the British Museum, a comparatively rich
series of examples of this later Oriental glass, not a few of them of
great beauty and interest. As a class it can probably be studied
nowhere so well as in London.

The Chinese glass of the eighteenth century is above all of interest to
us, for upon it more than upon anything else is based the only new
departure in the treatment of the material that the nineteenth century
can lay claim to—the ‘New Glass,’ I mean, that has taken so important
a place of late among the minor art products of France. It is therefore
not altogether illogical that this glass of the Far East should find a
place in our history between the English glass of the eighteenth
century and that now being made in France.

The glorious enamelled glass of the Saracens, of which I have given
some account in a former chapter, was already a thing of the past
before the end of the fifteenth century. This was at least the case in
Syria and Egypt, where alone the art as we know it had flourished. I
have attributed this sudden decline, as regards the first country, to
the invasion of Timur early in the century. On this occasion a whole
army of craftsmen was transferred, it is said, from Damascus to Timur’s
new capital at Samarkand. In Egypt the narrow-minded fanaticism of the
later Memlûk Sultans and the troubles that preceded the Turkish
conquest were doubtless factors in the artistic decline. As far as the
Mohammedan East is concerned, there is thus an obscure period in our
history extending to the end of the sixteenth century for which there
is little or nothing to show. Glass of some sort doubtless continued to
be made in Syria, and perhaps in Egypt, but little that is distinctive
or of artistic interest was produced.

When we again come upon specimens of Oriental glass, it is no longer in
the Mediterranean countries but in Persia, and to a less extent in
Northern India, that we find them. Not only so, but the glass that we
now have to deal with is of an entirely different character. With a few
rare exceptions, the thick jewel-like enamels of the Syro-Egyptian
school are now as much a thing of the past as the carved glass of a
still earlier time.

The PERSIAN GLASS of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is, as a
whole, thin and transparent, either simply blown or in part moulded. In
spite of the purely Oriental character of the outlines of this glass,
the influence of Venetian methods in the preparation and modes of
working is in most cases apparent. As I have said, it would be out of
the question to treat of this later Oriental glass, little of which is
probably earlier than the seventeenth century, before we had acquired
some knowledge of the renaissance glass of Italy.





Whether Timur or his successors succeeded in establishing the Syrian
glass industry in the Khanates of Turkestan we do not know. There is a
vague tradition that in the fifteenth century the glass of Samarkand
was the finest in the East. It is, however, to a much later time that
the earliest specimens of what I may call the Veneto-Persian family of
glass belong—to the time of the Sufi dynasty in Persia and to that of
the Moguls in Northern India.

Of Persian glass there indeed still exist a few rare examples which may
perhaps date from an earlier time. I have already referred (p. 172) to
the little drinking-bowl of honey-coloured glass in the British Museum
decorated with enamels of good quality—turquoise, red and white (Plate
XXVII. 1). The figure of an angel upon it is thoroughly Persian in
character; not only in the enamels, but in the horny quality of the
honey-coloured metal, this little bowl closely resembles the spherical
lamp ornament mentioned on p. 156, that has very properly been placed
beside it on the shelf of the Museum.

Among the few pieces of later Oriental glass in the Slade collection is
a small covered bowl, probably of Persian origin, with a formal design
of iris and other flowers. In spite of the somewhat modern air of this
bowl, due perhaps to the solid and rather crude gilding, the thick,
semi-transparent enamels, blue and pale green, take us back to the
earlier Saracenic work.

But such examples are quite exceptional. As a rule, on the glass
brought back from Persia—there is quite a large collection at South
Kensington and a few choice pieces in the British Museum—the
enamelling, if present at all, is of the poorest description—it
belongs essentially to our ‘painted’ class. This enamelled decoration,
as on some little bottles at South Kensington, appears to be but a rude
imitation of the floral patterns that we see, for example, on the
lacquered bindings of Persian books.

On the other hand, the tall-necked flasks of thin
glass—scent-sprinklers and wine-bottles—give proof of considerable
manipulative skill (Plate XLVII.). To judge by the patterns in low
relief on the sides, many of these vases, in spite of the thinness of
the glass, must have been blown into a mould. The tall neck ends either
in a flat-spreading lip or is bent over into that characteristic
Persian form—not unlike the head of a bird with large beak—of which
we may see an imitation or at least a kindred shape in certain Venetian
double-necked cruets. At one time a fashion prevailed of fitting into
the interior of these thin flasks elaborate bouquets of flowers built
up with coloured enamels of opaque glass, a somewhat childish fancy,
reflecting the weaker side of later Persian art.

Of more interest is the ruder glass, often decorated with a profusion
of _appliqué_ strips, quilled and worked up with the pincers. In such
examples we are strikingly reminded both of a class of peasant glass
from the South of Spain, and again of the late Roman glass from the
Rhine and other districts.

On the other hand, certain bowls and vases of deep blue glass,
decorated with floral designs in a solid gilding, have an almost
unpleasantly modern air. A pair of vases so decorated, now in the
British Museum, came, however, from the Strawberry Hill collection, and
they may well date from the early eighteenth century.

Finally, I will mention a remarkable variety of glass worked generally
into the form of tall, thin-necked flasks; within the greenish
transparent metal float irregular masses of an opaque deep red. We have
here, in fact, the elements of which the famous Chinese glazes—the
_flambé_ and the _sang-de-bœuf_—are made up. As in these glazes, so in
this case in the glass, the effect doubtless depends on the partial
reduction of the incorporated copper-oxide.

I should add that engraved glass seems never to have found much favour
with the Persians. On the few specimens that we have in our
collections—they are decorated with birds and flowers rudely ground on
the wheel—the work is of the poorest description.





I have so far taken it for granted that the bulk of this glass is of
comparatively modern origin, and I have found confirmation for this
opinion in the close relation of so much of it to the glass made at
Murano in the seventeenth century. Still more definite evidence is,
however, at hand, as the following passage from the travels of Sir John
Chardin will show.[266]

‘There are Glass-Houses all over Persia, but most of the Glass is full
of Flaws and Bladders and is Greyish from the account doubtless that
the Fire lasts but three or four days, and that their _Deremne_ as they
call it, which is a sort of Broom, which they use to make it, does not
bear heat so well as ours. The Glass of _Chiras_ is the finest in the
Country; that of _Ispahan_ on the contrary is the sorriest, because it
is only glass melted again. They make it commonly in Spring. They do
not understand to Silver their Glass over, therefore their Glass
Looking-glasses are brought from _Venise_, as also their sash glasses
[_glaces de châssis_] and their pretty Snuff-Bottles. Moreover, the Art
of Glass-making was brought into Persia within these last four score
Years. A Beggarly and Covetous Italian taught it at _Chiras_ for the
sum of fifty Crowns. Had I not been informed of the matter, I should
have thought that they had been beholded to the Portuguese for their
Skill in so noble and so useful an Art. I ought not to forget to
acquaint you with the Persian Art of Sowing Glass together very
ingeniously, ... for provided the Pieces be not smaller than one’s
Nail, they sow them together with Wyre and rub the seam over with a
little white Lead or with calcined Lime, mixed with White of Egg, which
hinders the water from soaking thro. Among their Sentences there is a
goodly one relating to the ingenious piece of work just mentioned: _If
broken glass be restored again, how much more may Man be restored again
after his Dissolution in the Grave?_’

Closely connected with this Persian glass is the deep amber or
honey-coloured glass, said to have been made in the island of RHODES. A
small collection of rudely executed bottles, pilgrims’ flasks and
bowls, obtained in that island and in Cyprus, may be seen at South
Kensington; they are there ascribed to the sixteenth century, I do not
know on what grounds. These little vessels are all of the simplest
shapes, such as could be formed directly from the _paraison_ at the end
of the blowing-iron, without removing the glass to the pontil. Some
small hand-grenades of greenish black or of opaque jasper glass in the
British Museum, come for the most part from Cyprus.

I may here say a word of the glass still in use in the Mohammedan East.
At the present day the glass-works at Hebron, which I have already more
than once mentioned, supply most of the common native glass in use both
in Egypt and Syria[267]—of that of European origin there is no need to
speak. Edward Lane describes the small conical lamps of thin glass
‘having a little tube at the bottom in which is stuck a wick twisted
round a piece of straw.’ This is an old type of lamp that I have dwelt
upon in a former chapter. Perhaps the most interesting form of glass
vessel now in use in Cairo and Damascus is the covered sherbet-jug or
bowl—the _Kulleh_. I have before me an example from Cairo made of a
nearly opaque white glass, decorated with floral designs rudely painted
on and perhaps not fired. Where this glass is made I do not know. We
may perhaps regard the ware as a survival of the _lattimo_ of the early
eighteenth century (cf. Lane, _Modern Egyptians_, 1842, vol. i. p. 224).





INDIAN GLASS.—The classical writers had a tradition that the best
glass in the world was made in India, thanks above all to the use of a
pure rock crystal in the manufacture. There are some vague references
to glass in the later Sanscrit literature, and in one of the older, but
not the oldest, of the Hindu books, a distinction is made between a
vessel of glass and one made of crystal. But it would be useless to
search in the Hindustan of to-day for any examples of so early a date.
Apart from a few beads which may be assigned to Buddhist times,[268] I
can point to no examples of Indian glass of earlier date than the Mogul
dynasty. It is to that period—hardly, indeed, before the later
seventeenth century—that we must attribute certain remarkable examples
of glass, found for the most part in Delhi, which are now in the Indian
Department at South Kensington. There may be seen an example of
enamelled glass of great beauty (Plate XLVIII.). This is a vase of
somewhat milky glass with spreading mouth, some eleven inches in
diameter; it is described as a washing-basin; the gilt ground is _semé_
with little white flowers, each with a red pistil. Of no less interest
are the two hookah-bases of engraved white glass. On these the
technique of the engraved work—but not the Oriental design of
conventional flowers—much resembles that of the Bohemian cut-glass;
there are no incised lines, and the oval depressions representing the
leaves are carefully polished. Unlike the engraved glass of Persia, the
work shows signs of a complete mastery of the process. It will be
noticed that in the case of one of these vessels the clear _cristallo_
is unchanged, while in the other the glass is, as it were, frosted,
apparently by the incipient decay of the surface. In the same case may
be seen some tall vases of thin white glass, of a type very similar to
the Persian sprinklers. These also come from Northern India.

It would be useless to search for an early native origin for work of
this kind. Were it, however, possible to find in India any glass that
we could connect with the Turki Khanates of Bokhara and Samarkand, the
old homes of the Mogul family, we should thereby be provided with a
connecting link that would not unlikely carry us back to the Syrian
enamelled glass of the fourteenth century (see above, p. 168). But
nothing of the kind, as far as I know, has so far turned up in
Hindustan. On the whole, this Mogul glass, in spite of the exceptional
artistic and technical qualities of the specimens just described,
belongs to that bastard school of Saracenic art that is prevalent
generally in the north of India. Its artistic parentage may probably be
traced back to Venice by way of Persia. Equally Persian in character
are the four-sided bottles painted with figures and flowers, somewhat
in the style of the Cashmiri lacquer. A remarkable series of little
flasks of this character, formerly in the Marryat collection, may be
seen in the Indian Department at South Kensington, where, however, they
are described as ‘Indo-Dutch.’

It is certainly disappointing to find in India such a total absence of
native glass with any claim to antiquity. But some consolation may be
derived from the discovery—for discovery it may be called—made not
many years ago, that in more than one part of Hindustan, native
craftsmen were turning out vessels of glass by a strangely primitive
method. Sir Purdon Clarke, who has always had at heart the maintenance
of the native industries of the country on the old lines, tells me that
this modern Indian glass was first noticed at Calcutta, and with some
difficulty traced to Patna. Here, by the most primitive methods, the
native workmen were turning out among other things imitations of
European lamp-glasses. The furnace consisted of a series of elaborate
passages hidden beneath a heap of ashes. These chambers were originally
formed by a scaffolding of cardboard frames which, when the arrangement
was completed, were set on fire.

Somewhat more ambitious are the furnaces which Mr. H. C. Dobbs found in
use in the neighbourhood of Benares and Lucknow (_Journal of Indian
Art_, vol. vii.). The material here employed was either imported or
‘country’ glass, but we are not told how the latter was prepared. The
little circular ovens, less than five feet in height, are rudely built
up of clay; there are two cylindrical chambers back to back, each of
two stories, but of the four compartments thus formed three are devoted
to the gradual cooling of the wares. It seems doubtful whether in these
furnaces the glass is ever thoroughly melted, and though use is
certainly made, in a primitive way, of the blowing-tube, the method of
working resembles rather the treatment of a piece of iron in the
blacksmith’s forge. The glass is constantly reheated and patted and
pressed.[269] We are, indeed, reminded of the preparation of the
Egyptian glass of the Eighteenth Dynasty, as interpreted by Dr. Petrie
(cf. p. 22). How far the Indian glass-maker in his methods of work is
carrying on an old native tradition, or how far he is merely adapting
what he has learned from Persian or European glass-blowers to the
exigencies of his surroundings, I must leave an open question. I think,
however, that in nearly all cases his starting-point is either with a
mass of imported ‘metal,’ or with fragments of broken glass.

In the Indian Department at South Kensington may be seen a most
remarkable collection of this native glass, obtained in part from Patna
and in part from Hoshiarpur, in the Punjab.[270] This glass is of the
greatest interest and should be closely examined. It is for the most
part of various shades of blue and green, but these shades seem to be
due to copper rather than to iron; at least we do not meet with the
well-known olive greens derived from the latter metal. But the most
striking peculiarity—the charm, I may say—of this glass is due to the
presence of minute bubbles, so numerous and closely packed that the
glass is little better than translucent. To the presence of these
bubbles is also due the peculiar waxy aspect of the surface, and this
with the irregular outline lends to this simple ware a plastic
appearance as if moulded by the hand. Some use is made also of an
opaque yellow glass, and among the examples from Patna are some
decorated with bands of _lattimo_. The shapes call for no special
comment: I will only point to certain curious little scorpion-shaped
scent-bottles with twisted tails, and to the large torque bangles, as
worthy of notice. Of greater interest is the primitive arrangement for
distilling—a combination of aludel and alembic that calls to mind the
illustrations to the Syriac manuscripts that I have mentioned in a
former chapter. Perhaps the principal charm of this native Indian glass
arises from the violent contrast that it affords to the impeccable
_cristallo_ and to the flint-glass that have tyrannised over us so long
in Europe. It is beginning at length to dawn upon us that there are
other qualities than absolute transparency and absence of colour to be
looked for in our material, and it is the attempt to bring these
qualities into prominence that has led to the development in France
within the last few years of quite a new treatment of glass.

GLASS IN CHINA.[271]—There are frequent references in Chinese
literature to a substance called _liu-li_, which the best authorities
tell us may be regarded as a more or less opaque variety of glass. This
_liu-li_ is, in the old books, always closely associated with rock
crystal and jade, and was, indeed, like these stones, classed among the
‘seven precious things’; we also find it described as ‘thousand year
old ice.’ When towards the end of the first century of our era an
attempt was made by the emperors of the Han dynasty to establish
commercial relations with the Roman West, this _liu-li_ was one of the
substances most sought after. The Chinese of this time were, it would
seem, acquainted with the Roman Empire, but probably only with the
eastern provinces. The Ta-tsin of their early writers has been
identified by Dr. Hirth with Syria, and its capital Antu with Antioch:
in these parts at that time they would have had no difficulty in
obtaining the glass that they were in search of. It is indeed not
impossible that it may have been this new and exotic material that
first turned their attention to the glazing of their pottery, for it is
doubtful if they were acquainted with the process before this time.

Again, in the fifth century some merchants who visited North-west India
are said to have learned there the secrets of glass-making, and on
their return to China to have produced _liu-li_ of all colours by the
smelting of various minerals. Once more, in the thirteenth century, we
hear of glass being made by the melting together of certain stones and
drugs, and the word _po-li_—the name given generally to transparent
glass, in opposition to the more or less opaque _liu-li_—is now used
for the first time.

On the other hand, in the annals of the Sui dynasty (581-617) we are
told that China had long lost the art of making glass, but that a high
official of the court succeeded at that time in fashioning vessels of
green porcelain that could not be distinguished from _liu-li_ (Bushell,
_Chinese Ceramic Art_, p. 20). The inference that we must draw from
these contradictory statements is probably that, in spite of many
assertions to the contrary,[272] the art of glass-making was never
thoroughly acclimatised in China till much later times. And this
conclusion is confirmed by the total absence in our collections of any
examples of glass of native manufacture that can be referred to a date
earlier than the eighteenth century.[273] For although we know that
after the return of Marco Polo both the Venetians and Genoese found in
China a market for their beads, if not for more important objects of
glass, and that early in the fifteenth century specimens of Saracenic
enamelled glass found their way to the Chinese ports, the evidence that
any true glass was at that time made in China is of the vaguest

When we come to the eighteenth century we are on firmer ground. Before
the end of the seventeenth century glass-works had been established
under the superintendence of the Jesuit missionaries, within the
precincts of the Imperial Palace at Pekin. At a later time, not long
after the accession of Kien-lung (1735-1795), we hear of a famous
glass-worker, one Hu.[275] This Hu was a craftsman in the Imperial
glass-works, and there made both ‘a clear glass of greenish tint with
an embossed decoration executed in coloured glass, and an opaque white
glass which was either engraved with etched designs or decorated in
colours’ (Bushell, _Oriental Ceramic Art_, p. 400). It is a significant
fact that though the emperor much admired the glass of Hu, his first
thought was to have it imitated in porcelain, the more noble material.

Let us now turn to the specimens of Chinese glass that we find in our
museums. What is probably the largest and most representative
collection in Europe is now in the Museum of Industrial Art at Berlin.
Here are more than four hundred examples brought together by the care
of Herr von Brandt, formerly German minister at Pekin.[276] Smaller but
representative collections of Chinese glass may be seen both at South
Kensington and in the British Museum.

On a few of these pieces is found the date-mark—the _nien-hao_—of the
reigning emperor engraved on the base. As far as I am aware, the
earliest mark so found is that of Yung-Ching (1722-1735), on a vase in
the Berlin Museum. The name of Kia-King (1795-1821) has also been
noted, but by far the most frequent mark is that of Kien-lung
(1735-1795), of whom I have already spoken in connection with Hu of
‘the ancient moon.’ Probably most of our finest specimens of Chinese
glass date from the second half of the eighteenth century, and to that
period we may no doubt refer a series of magnificent examples of blown
glass at South Kensington. These large pieces, of such excellent metal
and showing so complete a command of technique, may probably be
regarded, in spite of the Arabic inscriptions found on one or two of
them, as a result of the teaching of the Jesuit missionaries; they were
perhaps made by remelting imported glass. Notice especially the huge
bowl or flower-pot with scalloped edge, built up, by some sort of
‘casing’ process, of two layers of glass, the inner, nearly opaque, of
pale blue, the outer, dark blue and transparent. This bowl bears the
date-mark of Kien-lung and is a triumph of technical skill. Not less
remarkable are the two large vases of deep purple glass, bearing on the
sides and necks large medallions with Arabic inscriptions in relief on
a ground apparently chipped with a tool.[277] Of even greater interest
are the two covered bowls of transparent cobalt glass with a quaint
design built up of the smooth Chinese dragon or salamander and of the
character for ‘long life.’ The part not engraved is curiously wrinkled
or pitted, so as to form a sort of epidermis on the surface—by what
means I do not know. The Chinese succeeded in making a yellow glass of
a fine deep tint; a variety of this with opaque spots—the ‘rice-grain’
structure—is apparently much prized. Of the mottled red and yellow
glass, made it would seem in imitation of tortoise-shell, there are
many examples in our collections. We are reminded by it of some of the
effects of the _flambé_ glazes; the prevailing colour given to this
glass is, however, of an orange rather than a blood-red tint (Pl. XLIX.





But in spite of these early technical triumphs, blown glass has always
remained something of an exotic in China. To the Chinese mind, glass—a
material never held in much esteem—is above all a substance to be
employed in the imitation of precious marbles and gems. Lacking itself
all classical and literary associations, glass can only find a
reflected honour from these more noble substances. With this object in
view, the skilled Chinese craftsmen were soon able to produce the most
marvellous _tours de force_, and indeed to develop an entirely new
treatment of the material—a method of handling which, at all events
since the best Roman times, had been elsewhere completely neglected.
Their aim above all was the imitation of jade: half-molten masses of
glass, of two or more colours, were worked up and dragged through one
another; the glass was then carved into the old traditional forms.
Objects of the native stone were thus imitated with the most marvellous
accuracy. This was a process much resembling that adopted by the
Alexandrian Greeks and the Romans for one class of their agate glass
bodies; but the Chinese showed greater restraint in the blending of the
colours, and were at greater pains to imitate closely the natural
stones. As I have said, the forms taken by this glass follow those into
which the Chinese had been wont from time immemorial to carve their
jade, their agates, and their milky chalcedonies; but we may note that
their carvings in rock crystal were not copied in glass. Besides the
little tripod bowls and cups with archaic designs in relief, natural
objects were imitated, fruits and flowers especially—the opening calix
of the lotus, the ‘Buddha’s hand’ citron, or again the almond-shaped
peach, symbol of long life.

We must now turn to the little glass snuff-bottles, in the decoration
of which the Chinese carried their original methods to the highest
perfection. We have indeed in these the only form of Chinese glass that
has found any favour with European collectors.

The lid of these snuff-bottles is often of another material—metal,
coral, or carved lac—and to it is attached the little ivory spoon with
which the snuff is extracted. I may point out that little flasks of
similar shape, made generally of porcelain, the _yao-ping_ or
medicine-bottles, have long been in use in China for pills, rare drugs,
and eye-medicines. These _yao-ping_, whether for medicines or for
snuff, were often carved out of various stones—the moss-agate and the
red and white carnelian were special favourites—and it was above all
these many-coloured varieties of the quartz family that were copied in
glass, in the first place probably by the above-mentioned Hu. The
infinite variety in the technique and in the decoration of these little
flasks—this may be seen in any large collection, such as that formed
by Mr. Salting[278]—is at first overwhelming, but most of them will
fall under one or other of the following classes:—

1. Snuff-bottles imitating a natural stone, as amianthus, malachite, or
chalcedony, formed by the simple _interpenetration_ of masses of glass
of different colours. Such bottles are generally not carved on the

2. Those of the nature of an onyx, built up by the _superposition_ of
two or more layers of glass of different colours, the under surface
being exposed in places by the carving away of the upper layers as in a
cameo. We thus get a carnelian red or a deep blue design on a milky
white ground. In other cases a jade-green passes by gradation through a
pink layer to a pure white. Such an arrangement may be skilfully made
use of to obtain a blend of colours on the petals of a lotus or other

3. In this class the superficial colours do not enclose the whole core,
but lie scattered on the surface. By this means green, red, blue, and
yellow patches, all standing on the same level, may be made use of in
the design. In such work we may see the climax of the Chinese technique
in this _genre_, and the result has apparently been brought about by
placing these patches of coloured paste on the sides of the mould
before the introduction of the core of plain glass. Though this is
technically a triumph of ingenuity, the flasks thus decorated are by no
means the most beautiful of the series.

Besides these, many other methods of decoration may at times be found
on these snuff-bottles; we see elaborate designs painted in enamel on
the interior, showing through the transparent glass, or again an opaque
paste resembling porcelain may be decorated with colours on the
surface. Avanturine glass is probably of late introduction, but
spangles (of reduced copper) are sometimes made to appear locally in
the clear glass as a golden cloud.[279]

We know little of the source or of the composition of the glass used by
the Chinese. Some of it was made in Pekin, but the province of Shantung
seems to have long been the centre of the glass manufacture.[280] Here
were made the little bricks of coloured glass (four inches by twelve
and two inches in thickness)—the _Po-li-chuan_—which were sold to the
glass-workers and enamellers in Pekin and elsewhere. These glass bricks
were at one time imitated in Bohemia with the special object of
supplying the Chinese markets—the imitations were known in the trade
as _pomana_. As to the materials from which the native glass was made,
there is little or no available information. We are told incidentally
that it was compounded by fusing a certain rock with saltpetre.[281]
This statement, and the fact of the use of imported ‘metal’ from
Bohemia, make it probable that the glass belongs on the whole to the
potash family. So again, the Chinese have long been acquainted with
lead fluxes and enamels, and it was doubtless this experience that
enabled them to command such a surprising range of colours in the
glasses with which they built up their little snuff-bottles. We shall
then probably not be wrong in regarding the glass of these bottles as
of the potash-lead family.[282]

Finally, we may say of this Chinese glass that it can lay claim to a
prominent and distinct place in any general history such as this, on
the ground not only of the originality of its technique, but also
because of the influence which, as I have already pointed out, it has
had of late years upon the ‘new glass’ of France.

The position of JAPAN with regard to glass is a unique one. It is
perhaps the only country that in past or present times has taken an
important place in the world of art where the use of glass, whether for
practical or æsthetic purposes, has remained almost absolutely unknown.
I make this statement, of course, of the country as it was before the
late revolution. Nowadays the art of glass-making, like other Western
arts, is practised with some success, but without, I think, any
original developments which would call for notice. The name they have
for glass—_bidoro_—is evidently derived from the Spanish _vidrio_, or
the Portuguese _vidro_. But the Japanese never appear to have taken
even that sporadic interest in the material that they showed for other
exotic productions that at times filtered in from the West.

What I have said applies to feudal and recent times. If, however, one
goes back to the period that preceded the dawn of Japanese history, one
finds that plain beads of clear glass, both blue and white, have been
discovered in the dolmen tombs.[283] Examples of these beads may be
seen in the Gowland collection in the British Museum. Again, in the
famous Shoso In Treasury at Nara are two vessels of glass:—(1) a
shallow bowl of transparent green glass, carved in relief with a design
of fishes and water-plants; (2) a cup of white glass, carefully
executed, the surface carved with a diaper pattern made up of shallow
hexagonal hollows. There is no reason to doubt the well-authenticated
record that these glass bowls were deposited with the rest of the
collection by the Emperor Shomu in the year 756 of our era. There are
in the same Shoso In, and in other Imperial collections among objects
dating from this time, examples of metal ware and of silk brocade that
show evidence of a Western Asiatic, probably Sassanian, origin. These
and other objects that are undoubtedly of an exotic origin may perhaps
many of them have been presents from the Chinese emperors on the
occasion of embassies from Japan. It is certainly a fact that in the
previous century the sons and retainers of the last Sassanian ruler of
Persia had fled before the Arab invaders and taken refuge with the
Chinese court, bringing with them such treasure as they had been able
to save from the general wreck. This fact may give a hint as to the
origin of the Shoso In glass. At any rate, in China at this period
there is no evidence of any skill in glass-working.

                              CHAPTER XXII

                           CONTEMPORARY GLASS

The history of glass in the nineteenth century is mainly concerned with
improvements in mechanical processes, by means of which it is now
possible to turn out a perfectly clear white glass in large quantities
at greatly reduced cost.

Meantime little heed has been given to the artistic merit of individual
pieces. In fact, thanks in no small measure to one widely applied
mechanical ‘improvement,’ the process namely of pressing into a mould,
the highly trained skill of the glass-blower has been less and less
called into play, so that now a complaint is heard, both in England and
in France, of the difficulty of finding workmen thoroughly masters of
the art. The last stage, indeed, in the decline of our English
cut-glass was reached when ‘passable imitations’ of the facetted work
were turned out by this ‘pressing’ process.

And yet from time to time attempts have been made on the one hand to
give fresh life to old methods of work and schemes of decoration, on
the other to develop the application of the material along new or
previously little explored paths. Of what has been effected in Venice
in the first of these directions something has already been said. In
England, and we may add in Germany also (at Berlin, for instance, and
at Ehrenfeld, near Cologne), these attempts have for the most part
taken the direction of revivals, as when by the skilful use of the
blowing-iron table-glass has been produced of graceful but rather
fantastic outlines and with more or less reminiscence of Venetian
prototypes. I need not dwell upon such efforts, as nothing in the way
of a school has been founded. It is indeed noticeable that both in
Germany and in England, in the case of the more expensive table-glass
that we now see in the shop windows, the decoration, such as it is, has
continued to be sought rather in processes of cutting and engraving on
the old lines.

Various fantastic methods of surface decoration have indeed found
favour at times. An artificial iridescence has been given to the
surface by certain chemical agencies—perhaps the most elaborate
instance of such decoration may be found in the ‘favrile’ glass of
Messrs. Tiffany, the well-known goldsmiths of New York. But as a rule,
the facility with which the desired result may be obtained at little
expense by means of modern chemical and mechanical processes has led,
in the case of glass, to that want of reticence and restraint and to
that habit of resting content with the _à peu près_—the passable
imitation—that are characteristic of so much of the modern art
productions that fill the show-cases of exhibitions.

Somewhat greater interest may be found in certain applications of glass
that have come to the front in France of recent years. Here at all
events there is a public that takes some interest in the contemporary
products of the decorative arts. In the yearly _Salons_, beside the
pictures and the sculpture, these minor arts—jewellery, metal-work,
fayence and glass—find a prominent place and a critical or
enthusiastic public.

It is, however, only within the last few years that objects of glass
have taken an important place among these exhibits, and that this is so
is above all due to two men who, with considerable artistic talents,
combine great energy and both scientific and technical knowledge—these
are Émile Gallé and Henri Cros.

Already many years ago the art of enamelling on glass had been
successfully revived in France—witness the reproduction of a Saracenic
mosque lamp made by M. P. Brocard as far back as 1867.[284] But since
that time glass, as a material capable of artistic applications, has
been attacked upon new lines. When speaking of the glass of the
Chinese, I have more than once pointed to the influence that the work
of these people has apparently had upon certain new developments in
France. Something of the sort—in the way, I mean, of treating glass as
if it were a stone of varied colours, carnelian or onyx—was indeed
attempted here in England as long ago as 1878, in the case of the cameo
glass of Webb of Stourbridge. Contemporary with him, Eugène Rousseau
was working in France with his _verres doublés et triplés_.

But these strange new methods of treating glass are above all
associated with Émile Gallé, who at Nancy (where he was born in 1846)
has built up something like a school. The material was attacked by him,
as it were from every side. Advantage was taken of the facility with
which, by means of powerful machinery, glass can now be rapidly cut
into any desired shape. As in the case of the decoration of the modern
porcelain of Sèvres and other places, a source of more than one
heat-resisting colour has been found in chromium, and even such rare
elements as thallium and iridium have been experimented with. By the
skilful application of reducing and oxidising flames, local variations
of colour are brought about, and (in this unconsciously following the
Indian glass that I spoke of in the last chapter) the possibilities of
artistic effect to be found in the presence of numberless minute
bubbles have not been neglected. The Chinese have been surpassed in the
strange pitted forms—in some cases recalling cork or other kinds of
bark—that the surface of the glass has been made to assume. But above
all, in the varied markings, in the _mouchetage_ and the arborescent
forms, that loom out from the interior of the glassy mass, M. Gallé has
outdistanced all his predecessors. Lately he has introduced pieces of
metallic foil, or again crystalline masses of amianthus or mica, into
the body of his glass; or again insects, realistically rendered in
enamel—dragon-flies are a great favourite—are seen caught up within
the mass.

Both Gallé and others have made frequent use of an incrustation process
by which fragments of glass are worked into the surface of a soft
paste—but this was a means of decoration known in Egypt in the days of
the Ptolemies. Endless gradations of colour are obtained by laying or
‘soldering on’ successive thin layers of glass until the desired effect
is obtained. To some such process are also due, it would seem, the
delicate shades seen in the Tiffany glass. Finally, by the use of
rapidly revolving boring-tools—some of them worked on a vertical
axis—the hardest Bohemian glass may be quickly brought to the desired

Apart from the yearly exhibitions, examples of the glass of the Nancy
school may be seen in Paris at the Luxembourg and at the École des Arts
et Métiers. It cannot, however, be said that the general effect of this
glass is, as a rule, either brilliant or decorative.

M. Gallé himself is something of a poet—of the _symboliste_ school,
I should judge. What it is that he aims at expressing by means of
this often sombre glass cannot indeed be better presented than in his
own words:—‘Mist and dews half shroud and half reveal the fine
veinings and splashings in a grey jade-crystal vase. A thick flushing
of rose-tinted glass is carved into a chimera-like flower, half
influorescent, half smiling, half weary, half orchid, half pansy. A
beetle drags its slow length over the rust of the lichens. Side by
side with flesh-tints and carnations we see bold touches of coral
pink. A pale gleam steals through the dull maze of iridium. Vegetable
shadows grin at us. Phantoms of bloom are dimly seen. A fossil shell
engraved beneath the fragile work contains the glass-worker’s
signature.’—(Quoted by H. Frantz, _Magazine of Art_, vol. xx. p.

Of quite another nature is the _pâte de verre_, a substance somewhat of
the nature of a glass frit, which has been made use of by the French
sculptor, M. Henri Cros, in the modelling of polychrome reliefs and
friezes. I say ‘modelling,’ for this strange material can apparently be
worked like wax or plaster at one stage of its preparation. When cold
it is of so tough a nature that a nail may be driven into it. At the
entrance of the new hall of Sculpture at the Luxembourg may be seen a
relief of this _pâte de verre_ forming the back of a fountain. As a
material it lies perhaps a little remote from the class of objects with
which we have been occupied in this book. I mention it here as an
example of the success which in France of late years has attended the
attempt to take advantage of the new appliances and materials that,
thanks to recent scientific discoveries, lie at the command of the
artist and craftsman. Here, as in the case of the potter’s art, not
only have old-world processes—those of the Far East above all—been
revived, but a constant endeavour is being made to strike out in new


Achmin, glass from, 105, 163

Agricola, _De Re Metallica_, 260-262

Air-drawn stem, 326-327

Alabaster, imitation of, in glass, by Egyptians, 22

_Alabastra_, see _Unguentaria_.

Alchemists and glass in Germany, 288

Alchemy, early mediæval works on, 119-124

Aldrevandini beaker, 179

Alembics of mediæval alchemists, 125

Alembics and aludels of modern Indian glass, 346

Alexandria, importance in history of glass, 44

Alexandria, glass of mediæval time, 149 _note_

Alkali, source of, 12-13

Almeria, glass made near, 246-247

L’Altare, 174-175

L’Altare _versus_ Murano, 224

L’Altare, glass-workers from, in France, 223-224

Altarist families settled in France, 227

Altarists, difficulties with, in France, 236

Altarists in Netherlands, 240-241

Aludels of mediæval alchemists, 125

Alumina in glass, effect of excess of, 132

_Ammonitrum_, 78

Amsterdam, glass-houses at, 294

Analyses of glass, 9, 26, 53 _note_, 151, 335, 353 _note_

Anglo-Saxon glass, 107-113

Anglo-Saxon glass, where found, 110-111

Anglo-Saxon ‘prunted’ beakers, 110-111

Anglo-Saxon drinking-cups, 112-113

Anne Boleyn, glass with her initials, 306

Anthology, Greek, poem on glass-furnace, 80

Antimony as source of yellow in primitive glass, 29

Antwerp, glass made at, 241-242, 262

Antwerp, mediæval glass found near, 252 _note_

Antwerp, metropolis for glass, 303

‘Arena’ at Padua; lamps in fresco, 158

Aristophanes, possible mention of glass in, 41

Arles, Roman glass from, 81-82

Ascension Day, display of glass at Venice, 216, 261 _note_

Asiatic influence in Europe, 89-90

Assyrian glass, 39-40

D’Azeglio, Marquis Emanuele, his collection of painted glass, 142-143

_Azurro da vetro_, 218

Babylonia, turquoise-glass slabs from, 40-41

‘Balance-pan’ lamp-stands, 97 _note_, 101, 104, 158

Barbaro, Venetian ambassador to the Porte, 171

Barcelona, glass of, 247-249

Barcelona, opaque white glass, 249

_Barilla_, term explained, 13

_Barilla_, how prepared, 227

_Barilla_, Howell’s account of, 312

Barillet, or Baril, French form, 134, 238

Bavaria, Dukes of, introduce Venetians, 270-271

Bead, origin of English word, convenience of term, 184

Beads of early Egyptian Dynasties, 20

Beads from tombs of Mycenæan age, 35

Beads from early Rhodian tombs, 38

Beads in form of satyr masks, 38

Beads from Frankish and Germanic tombs, 109

Beads, guilds at Venice and Murano, 183

Beads, early distribution from Venice, 183, 190

Beads, Venetian, grinding by water-power, 185

Beads, process of manufacture, 185-187

Beads, process of manufacture from hollow cane, 185-186

Beads, process of manufacture from solid rod, 186-187

Beads, stores in London and Amsterdam, 189

Beads made at Nuremberg; at Amsterdam, 292

Beads, Bohemian industry, 292-293

Beads from India, 343

Beads, _see also_ Chevron beads.

Bede on glass-workers brought from Gaul, 113

_Bekerschroeven_, or ‘Beaker screws,’ 295

Berovieri, his enamelled cup, 194-195

Berthelot, M., on chemistry of Middle Ages, 120-125

_Bidoro_, Japanese name for glass, 354

Biringuccio on Venetian glass, 215

Blancourt, de, _Art of Glass_, 316 _note_, 319

Blowing of glass, 7-8, 14

Blowing of glass, importance of discovery of process, 19

Blowing of glass, probable origin in Western Asia, 42

Blowing of glass, when and where discovered, 44, 59

Blowing of glass, at first supplementary to moulding, 47

Blowing of glass, first described by Theophilus, 128-130

Blowing-iron, how used, 14

Blown glass unknown in Ancient Egypt, 19-20

Blown glass, when first made, 20

Blown glass, early simple forms, 59

Blue colours in Egyptian glass, 26-27

Bohemia, engraved glass of, 286

Bohemian frontier, German glass from, 258-260

Bohemian frontier glass where made, 258-260

Bohemian glass, properties of, 11

Bohemian glass, imitated in Belgium, 242

Bohemian glass, use of term, 258-260

Bohemian glass, exported to East, 287-288

Bohemian glass beads, 292-293

Bohemian glass, pastes for false jewels, 293

Bones, glass from human, 291-292

Bonhomme, de, firm, 242, 287

Bonhomme, de, at Amsterdam, 294

Bonhomme, de, make flint glass, 315

Bracken, ashes used for making glass, 136

Briati, Venetian glass-worker, 212-213

Bristol, glass made at, 334-336

Bristol, enamelling on glass, 335

Bristol, wine-glasses made at, 324 _note_, 328 _note_

Bristol, opaque white glass, 334-335

Britain, Roman glass in, 61, 81, 85-87

Brocard, M. P., imitation of Saracenic glass, 152, 353

Broken glass, hawkers of, 82 _note_, 228

Buckholt Wood, glass furnace at, 304-305

Buckingham, Duke of, his glass-houses, 314, 318

Bushell, Dr., on glass in China, 347 _note_, 348 _note_

Byzantine art, term, how used, 89

Byzantine glass in St. Mark’s treasury, 99-102

Byzantine glass from Egypt, 105, 149

Byzantine glass from South-Saxon cemetery, 107

Byzantine glass in illuminated MSS., 102-103

Byzantine glass medallions, 94

Byzantine influence in mediæval Germany, 114

Byzantine mosaic workers, 96

Byzantine stained glass windows, 96-97

_Calcedonio_ of Venetians, 206

_Calcedonio_ used in two senses, 206 _note_

_Calcedonio_, preparation of, 218-219

Cameos and intaglios of late Greek glass, 47-48

Canosa, glass from tombs at, 45-46, 68

Carré, Jean, 303-304

Carving of glass unknown in later Middle Ages, 116

Catalonia, glass made in, 247-249

Catalonia, green enamels on glass, 247

Catalonia, relation of enamels to Saracenic, 248

Cemetery glass, 90-95

Cemetery glass, where found, 91

Cemetery glass, how made, 92-93

Cemetery glass, enamelling on, 93-94

Cemetery glass, Jewish symbols, 94

Cemetery glass, stipple process, 93

Chalices, early, of glass, 94-95, 97-98

Chalices, early forms and materials, 97-98

Champlevé enamel in Britain, 86

Chandeliers of Venetian glass, 211-212

Changes of colour in glass, 17

Chardin, Sir John, on Persian glass, 341-342

Charles VI. of France, interest in glass-workers, 137, 230

Charnock on Chiddingfold glass, 302

Chastleton, glass at, 321-322, 331

Chevron beads, how made, 188

Chevron beads, structure described, 188

Chevron beads, still made at Venice, 189

Chevron beads, found at Treviso, 189

Chevron beads, where found, 190-191

Chiddingfold, early glass manufacture, 139, 301-302

China, relations with Roman empire, 347

China, glass in, 347-354

China, glass authorities, 347 _note_

China, glass, Jesuits make glass, 348-349

Chinese glass, 347-354

Chinese glass, date-marks on, 349

Chinese glass, the Von Brandt collection, 349

Chinese glass, at South Kensington, 349-350

Chinese glass, technical triumphs, 350

Chinese glass, original methods, 350-351

Chinese glass, native stones imitated, 351

Chinese glass, snuff-bottles, 351-352

Chinese glass, snuff-bottles, varieties of technique, 352

Chinese glass, composition, 353

Chinese glass, made in Shantung, 353

Chinese glass, where made, 353

Chinese glass, snuff-bottles, analyses of, 353 _note_

Chinese glass, relation to contemporary French glass, 354

Chinese motives on Saracenic glass, 155

Chinese porcelain, enamelling on, 170

Christian subjects on engraved Roman glass, 75, 94

Church, Professor, analyses of glass, 335, 353 _note_

‘Claw’ handles on Roman glass, 62, 83

Cluny Museum, Saracenic glass, 166

Coal, use of, for glass furnace, 309-310

Coal, involves ‘closed pots,’ 310

Cobalt in Venetian glass, 218

Cobalt blue of mediæval window-glass, 133

_Cogoli_, white pebbles, 215, 317

Coin-like discs of glass in Egypt, 146-147

Colbert and plate-glass, 210, 235

Colchester, Roman glass from, 86

Colours of primitive Egyptian glass, 26-29

Colours of Roman glass, 52-53

Comarmond collection in British Museum, 81

Composition of glass, 8-9, 12-13

Composition, normal type, 9

_Compositiones ad Tingenda_, quoted, 120-121

Constantinople, influence of, 95-96

Contemporary glass, 356-360

_Conterie_, a class of Venetian beads, 183

_Coppa Nuziale_, 194-195

Copper, importance of, in colouring of ancient glass, 26, 35 _note_

Copper, the red suboxide in Egyptian glass, 27-28

Copper, the red suboxide in Roman glass, 52-53

Coptic glass from Egypt, 105

Coptic churches, lamps from, 106

Coptos, enamelled glass cup from, 163

Corundum or emery used in cutting glass, 74 _note_

Cosmati mosaics, 140

Crackle or frosted glass of Venice, 203

Crimea, primitive glass from, 37

_Cristallo_ of Venice, 200

_Cristallo_, how decorated, 201-202

_Cristallo_, in pictures of Venetians, 202-203

_Cristallo_, glasses broken at feasts, 203

_Cristallo_, replaces _verre de fougère_, 220-221

_Cristallo_, spread over Western Europe, 220-222

_Cristallo_, in Low Countries, 241

_Cristallo_, in Germany, 256-258

Cros, Henri, his _pâte de verre_, 359-360

Crotchet Friars, glass made at, 308

Cuthbert on glass-workers brought from Mainz, 113

‘Cylinder-process’ described by Theophilus, 128-129

‘Cylinder-process’, used for mirror-glass, 209, 210 _note_

‘Cylinder-process’, used by Lorrainers, 303

Cyprus, primitive glass from, 36, 37-38

Cyprus, enamelled glass from, 47

Czihak, Von, _Schlesische Gläser_, 259 _note_

_Damas, verre de_, 136

_Damas, façon de_, 181

Dante on glass mirrors, 138

Decay of glass, 15-17

Decay of glass, apparent capricious action, 15-16

Decay of glass, chemical process involved, 16

Decay of glass, follows internal structure, 16

Decay of glass, iridescence, 16-17

Decay of glass, fissuring or crackle, 17

Denderah, primitive glass of Roman times from, 32

Destruction of timber, outcry against, 309

Diamond-scratched Venetian glass, 209

Diamond ‘scratching’ on glass, 276, 277

Diamond ‘scratching’ in Holland, 295

_Diatretum_ work, how made, 64 _note_

_Diatretum_ carving, 71-73

Dispersion of light by glass, 320, 332

Dossie, _Handmaid to the Arts_ quoted, 333 _note_, 335 _note_, 353

Dou, Gerard, engraver on glass, 296

‘Doubled glass’ from tombs at Canosa, 46

‘Doubled glass’, German, 274-276

Dresden _Hof-kellerei_ glasses, 269

Drinking-glasses, English, 322-332

Drinking-glasses, stem or shank, 314, 323, 326-327

Drinking-glasses, form of stem, 315

Drinking-glasses, development of form, 322-323, 325

Drinking-glasses, how made, 323-324

Drinking-glasses, division of English, 324-325

Drinking-glasses, high quality of metal, 325

Drinking-glasses, the foot, 325-326

Drinking-glasses, the bowl, 327-330

Drinking-glasses, engraving on, 328-330

Drinking-glasses, inscriptions on, 329-330

Drinking-glasses, the square plinth foot, 332

Dudley, Bub, and pit-coal, 309

Dutch glass, 294-298

Dutch glass, diamond-scratched, 295-297

Dutch glass, engravings on plaques, 296

Dutch glass, engraved ‘flutes,’ 296

Dutch glass, _stip_ engraving, 297-298

Dutch glass, how done, 298

Dutch glass, prototype of English wine-glass, 298

Dutch influence on English arts, 321

Dutch school, glass in pictures of, 244, 254, 255

Edkins, glass enameller of Bristol, 335

_Églomisé, verre_, Gothic representative, 140, 142-143

_Églomisé, verre_, late Venetian, 208

_Églomisé, verre_, German type, 273-274

Egypt, coin-like discs of glass only found in, 146-147

Egypt, modern, conical lamps, 342

Egypt, modern glass found in, 342-343

Egyptian primitive glass, 19-33

Egyptian primitive glass, earliest examples, 19

Egyptian primitive glass, how made, 22-23, 24-25

Egyptian primitive glass, possible foreign origin, 23-24

Egyptian primitive glass, of XVIIIth Dynasty, 23-24

Egyptian primitive glass, source of materials, 25

Egyptian primitive glass, comparative rarity of, 26

Egyptian primitive glass, colours of, 26-29

Egyptian primitive glass, inlay, how applied, 31-32

Egyptian primitive glass, of Ptolemaic times, 32

Egyptian primitive glass, of Roman times, 32

Egyptian primitive glass, ‘fused mosaic,’ 33

Egyptian blue of ancients, 27, 56

Ehrenfeld, modern glass made at, 356

Enamelled glass from Greek tombs in Cyprus, 47

Enamelled glass of French, 237-238

Enamelled glass of Catalonia, 247-248

Enamelled glass of Germany, 264-273

Enamelling on glass, 65

Enamelling on glass, origin of art, 170

Enamelling on metal in Britain, 86

Enamels on Saracenic glass, 151-153

Enamels on Venetian glass, practical difficulties, 197-198

Enamels on Venetian glass, compared to Saracenic, 198

Enamels on Venetian glass, thinly painted enamels, 198-199

English glass, 139-140, 299-336

English glass, heavy taxes on, 10 _note_, 334

English glass, mediæval, 139-140

English glass, late development, 299

English glass, momentary pre-eminence, 299

English glass, Elizabethan period, 300-302, 308

English glass, the wine-glass of the collector, 300

English glass, Elizabethan period, what glass made, 302

English glass, the Lorrainers, 303-305

English glass, Venetian glass-makers, 307-308

English glass, early examples, 308-309

English glass, use of coal, 309-310

English glass, patents, 311-314

English glass, flint glass, origin of, 314-319

English glass, rarity of early specimens, 321-322

English glass, drinking-glasses, 322-331

English glass, change towards end of eighteenth century, 332

English glass, facetted glass, 332-333

Engraving on glass, division of technique, 276-277

Ennion, his name found on Syrian glass, 87

Escurial, glazing of windows, 234 _note_

Etching on glass by acid, 277, 281-282

Evelyn, John, on English glass, 314, 331

Facetted English glass, 332-333

Facetting, how made, 332

Facetting, when first in fashion, 332

Fatimi caliphs, their engraved rock crystal, 145, 146

Fatimi caliphs, glass coin-like discs, 146-147

Favrile glass, 357, 359

Fern ashes, used for making glass, 136

_Fiala_, word, how used by Dante, 176 _note_

‘Fiat’ or Jacobite glasses, 330-331

Fichtelgebirge glasses, 267-268

Fillon, Benjamin, on glass in Western France, 84-85

‘Flashing’ or ‘spinning’ to form a disc of glass, 14

Flemish school, glass in pictures of, 244

Flints, early use in English glass, 317

Flint-glass, _à l’Anglaise_, 242

Flint-glass, beauty of English, 299-300

Flint-glass requires ‘closed pots,’ 310

Flint-glass, when first made, 314-319

Flint-glass, composition, 319

Flint-glass, optical qualities, 320

Flint-glass, materials used, 334

_Flügel-gläser_, 257

‘Flutes,’ Dutch, diamond-scratched, 296

‘Forest glass,’ see ‘_Verre de Fougère_.’

Fostat or Old Cairo, fragments of glass from, 173

Frankish glass from the Meuse valley, 107-108

Frankish princes in Syrian coast towns, 176-180

Franko-Saxon glass, 107-108

French glass of Renaissance, 220-239

French glass, advance of _cristallo_, 220-223

French glass, Altarists, 223-224

French glass, rarity of, 225

French glass, literature, 225

French glass, hawkers of glass, street cries, 228

French glass, claims to nobility, 230-231

French glass, local glass-works, 232-234, 236, 238

French glass, plate-glass, 235

French glass, inscriptions on, 237-238

French glass, enamelled glass, 237-238

French glass, opaque white glass, 239

French mediæval glass vessels, 134-135

_Friolaro_, meaning of term, 176 _note_

Frit-ware of early Egyptians, 21

Frontinus, his name found on Gaulish glass, 88

Frosted or crackle glass of Venice, 203

Gallé, Émile, his glass, 358-359

Garzoni on Venetian glass, 215-216

Gaul, Roman glass in, 81-85

_Gentilshommes de verre_, 230-231

German mediæval glass, 137

German mediæval glass mirrors, 138

German glass, 251-293

German glass, mediæval forms, 251-252

German glass, green glass, 252-255

German glass, Venetian influence, 255-258

German glass, rivalry to Venice, 258

German glass, from Bohemian frontier, 258-260

German glass, glass furnaces, 261, 263

German glass, how made, 263

German glass, enamelling on, 264-273

German glass, origin of enamelling, 264-265

German glass, poorness of enamels, 265

German glass, names of various glasses, 266

German glass, South German glass, 270-273

German glass, painted and gilt glass, 273-275

German glass, cut and engraved glass, 276-288

German glass, cut and engraved, introduced from Italy, 279

German glass, machinery for engraving, 281, 283-284

German glass, engraving, division of work, 281

German glass, ruby glass, 289-294

German glass, opaque white glass, 291

German glass beads, 292-293

Gilding on Saracenic glass, 153

Gilding on Venetian glass, 195

Gilding on German glass, 274-275

Gilt glass of cemeteries, 90-95

Glaze, relation to glass, 2

Glaze, early use of, in Egypt, 20-21

Glaze, applied to stone or fritty base by Egyptians, 21

‘Goblet of Charlemagne,’ 161

‘Goblet of the Eight Priests,’ 161

Gold, ruby glass coloured by, 289-290

_Gottefle_, nature of vessel so called, 135

Graal, Holy, 98 _note_

Gréau collection of glass, 51, 53

Greek glass, of Mycenæan age, 33-36

Greek glass, bowls moulded and turned, 45, 47

Greek glass, intaglios and cameos, 47-48

Greeks, glass little appreciated by, 33-34, 44

Greeks, vague use of name for glass, 45

‘Green Glass’ of Rhine and Netherlands, 252-255

‘Green Glass’, colour specially added, 252

Greene, John, orders glass from Venice, 314-315

Greenwood, engraver by _stip_ process, 297

_Grisaille_ painting of Schaper, 272-273

_Grüne Gewölbe_, Saracenic enamelled glass in, 162

_Hæmatinon_ of Pliny, 53, 79, 94

Hall, near Innsbruck, glass made at, 271

Hampton Court, window and mirror glass, 321

Hardness of glass, 11

Hartshorne, Mr. Albert, _Old English Glasses_, 324 _note_

Hartshorne, quoted, 111

Hartshorne, on English drinking-glasses, 324

Hebrew literature, doubtful mention of glass in, 41

Hebron, glass made near, 42, 342

Hebron, glass-works in Middle Ages, 148

‘Hedwig glasses,’ so-called, 114-117

Hedwig, patron saint of Silesia, 115 _note_

Helbig quoted on term _Kyanos_, 34-35

Henry VIII., his collection of glass, 306

Heraclius or Eraclius, 121

Heraclius on gilt glass, 92

Heraclius, his treatise on Arts of Romans, 121-122

Heraclius, on carving of glass, 121-122

Heraclius, Pseudo, 121

Heraclius, his glass furnace, 127

Heraclius, on glass of lead, 130-131

Hirshvogel family, 256, 271

Holy Graal, 98 _note_

Hope collection, enamelled beaker from, in the British Museum, 163-164,

Houghton, John, on English glass, 317-319

Howell, James, _Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ_, 312

Hu, the glass made by, at Pekin, 349

_Humpen_, cylindrical beaker, 266-268

Hydrofluoric acid, used for etching glass in seventeenth century,

Hydrofluoric acid, glass etched by, 287-288

Indian glass, 343-347

Indian glass, no early glass known, 343

Indian glass, engraved glass of Mogul times, 343

Indian glass, enamelled glass of Mogul times, 343

Indian glass, contemporary native glass, 344-346

Indian glass, how made, 345

Indian glass, the furnaces, 345

Indian glass, its artistic qualities, 346

Industrial period in history of glass, 18

Inlay of glass, Roman, 53-55

Inlay of glass, Gothic, 140-142

Inlay of glass, on church furniture, 140-141

Inscriptions on Syrian glass, 58

Inscriptions on Roman glass, 58, 87-88

Inscriptions on French glass, 237-238

Inscriptions on English glass, 329-330

Intaglios and cameos of late Greek glass, 47-48

Ireland, glass made in, 336

Iridescence of glass, 16-17

Iron oxides, colours derived from, 17

Jacobite glasses, 329-330

Japan, practically no native glass, 354

Japan, glass from Dolmen tombs, 354 _note_

Japan, glass in Shoso In treasury, 354-355

Japan, Sassanian influence, 355

Japan, glass from prehistoric tombs, 355

Jasper-glass of Venetians, 207

Jeremiah on the manufacture of soap, 41

Jewish glass-makers in Syria, 118, 148

Jewish pedlars of glass, 82 _note_

Jewish symbols on cemetery glass, 94

Junius Bassus, the _opus sectile_ in his Basilica, 54-55

Kent, North, Roman glass from, 86

Kent, North, glass from Jutish tombs, 110, 113

Khosrau, Nassiri, travels of, 149 _note_

Khosroes, bowl of, 104-105

Kinsky family and the Bohemian glass industry, 286

Kouyunjik, glass from, in British Museum, 39-40

_Krautstrunk_, a German form of beaker, 255, 262

Kreybich, wandering glass-hawker, 286

_Kugler_, a class of engravers on glass, 284

Kundmann’s glass from bone and tobacco ash, 292

Kunckel, Johann, 288-291

_Kur-fürsten Humpen_, 267

_Kyanos_, probably blue glass, 34-35

Lace glass, 40, 46, 205-206

Lace glass, how far made in Germany, 269-270

Lamp, master form in Saracenic glass, 156-157

Lamp, conical cup, the typical form in glass, 157

Lamp, Saracenic, wick, how fixed, 157, 342

Lamps of St. Sophia, 97

Lamps in Venetian pictures, how suspended, 156

Lannoy, Cornelius de, 307

_Lapis lazuli_, imitation of, in glass, 22, 32, 35, 56

_Lapis lazuli_, enamel on Saracenic glass, 152

_Latticinio_ or _Lattimo_, 203-205

_Latticinio_ imitating porcelain, 204-205

_Latticinio_, festooned, 205

_Latticinio_, recipe for preparation, 217

_Lattimo_, see _Latticinio_.

_Lattisuol_, see _Latticinio_.

Lead, amount in flint-glass, 319

Lead-glass made by Jews, 118, 131

Lead-glass, Neri and Merret on, 316-317

Lead-glass, _see also_ Flint-glass.

Lehmann, Caspar, engraver on glass, 279-280

Lennard collection, glass from, 332

_Liao_, Chinese name for glass, 353 _note_

Liége, glass made at, 242, 315

Lily of the Valley, on enamelled glasses, 267

Lime, importance in composition of glass, 8-9, 227-228

Literature of glass, essentially French, 226

_Liu-li_, old Chinese name for glass, 347

Lorraine, charter granted to glass-workers, 230

Lorraine, importance in history of glass, 231-232

Lorraine, _tables quarrées_ of, 234 _note_, 303

Lorrainers in England, 303-305

Lorrainers driven from Sussex, 304

Lorrainers, their wanderings, 304-305

Lotus decoration on Saracenic glass, 154

‘Luck of Eden Hall,’ 161-162

‘Lustre’ and _lustro_, 212 _note_

Lyons, Roman glass from, 82

Magic, early mediæval works on, 119

Magnesia in Pliny means manganese, 77 _note_

Magnesia in Saracenic glass, 151

Malleable glass, 78-79

Manganese in glass, changes of colour, 17

Manganese purple in primitive glass, 28-29

Manganese in Roman glass, 77

Manganese and _Magnese_, 218 _note_

Mansell, Sir Robert, 311

Mansell, Sir Robert, his patents, 305, 311-314

Mansourah, glass made at, 149, 167

_Mappæ clavicula_, notices on glass, 121

_Mariegole_, rules of Venetian glass-workers’ guilds, 181-182

Martial on Roman glass, 73-74, 82 _note_

Mathesius quoted, 253, 262, 264

Mathesius, _Sermons for Miners_, 262-263

_Matricole_, rules of glass-workers’ guilds in Venice, 181-182

Mazer-like forms in glass, 252

Mediæval treatises on alchemy, etc., 119-124

Mediæval glass, rarity of, 133-134

Memlook Sultans, art of, 147-148

Merret, _Art of Glass_ quoted, 7

Merret, on properties of glass, 7

Merret, on glass of lead, 316-317

Mesomedes on glass-houses, 80

Milanesi, treatises on preparation of glass, 217

_Milch-glas_, 291

Millefiori glass of Romans, 49-52

Millefiori glass, Madrepore patterns, 49

Millefiori glass, relation to Egyptian ‘fused-mosaics,’ 49

Millefiori glass, how built up, 50-51

Millefiori glass, peacock patterns, 51

Millefiori glass, agate patterns, 51

Millefiori glass of Venetians, 207

Mirror of Catherine of Arragon, 306

Mirrors of glass from Roman tombs, 55-56

Mirror of glass in Middle Ages, 138-139

Mirror Venetian, 209-211

Mirrors, Venetian, imitated by Germans, 209

Mirrors, Venetian, frames of, 210

Mirrors, Venetian, of ‘steel,’ 210 _note_

Mirrors, Venetian, exported to East, 211

Mirrors of plate-glass, 210, 235-236

Monza, glass in treasury, 99

Mosaic-workers from Constantinople, 96

Moret collection in British Museum, 85

Moselle district—Roman glass, 83

Mosque lamps or lanterns, 155-156

Mosque lamps suspended from spheres, 156

Mosque lamps from Sultan Hassan mosque, 156, 168

Mosque lamps from Cairo, 167-169

Mosque lamps inscription on, 167-169

Mosque lamps abnormal types, 169-170

Mosque lamps made in Venice for the Turks, 171-172

Moulded glass of Phœnicians and Romans, 56-58

Munich _Schatzkammer_, glass in, 280

Murano, furnaces stopped in late summer, 182

Murano, the guilds, how organised, 182-183

Murano, description of, 201, 216

Mycenæan age, glass of, 33-37

Mycenæan glass from bee-hive tombs, 35-36

Nailsea glass-works, 336

Natron as a source for soda in glass, 13, 26, 77

Natron Lakes of Lower Egypt, 106

Neri, Antonio, his _Arte Vetraria_, 219

Neri, various translations of, 289

Neri, upon glass of lead, 316-317

Nesbitt, Mr., catalogues by, 51 _note_

Netherlands, glass of, 240-244

Netherlandish glass, mediæval forms, 252

Netherlandish school, glass in pictures of, 243, 244, 251-252

Nevers, glass made at, 232-234

New Testament, allusion to glass in, 42 _note_

Nineveh, glass from, 39-40

Nobility, claims to, by glass-workers, 230-231

Norman _versus_ Lorraine glass, 234 _note_

Normandy, glass made in, 234-235

Normandy, glass-workers from, in England, 304-305

_Nuppen_ or ‘Prunts,’ 253

Nuremberg mirrors, 138-139

Nuremberg, Venetian glass imitated, 256

Nuremberg, enamelled glass of, 271-272

_Ochsenkopf humpen_, 268

Onyx glass, Greco-Roman, 68-70

_Opus sectile_ as wall-covering, 54-55

Oriental influence, in Europe, 89-90

Oriental influence, on Germanic jewellery, 107-108

Oriental influence, on Mediæval German glass, 114-117

Orleans, glass made at, 238-239

Orschall’s _Sol sine veste_, 290

‘Painted’ enamels on Venetian glass, 208

‘Painted’ enamels on German glass, 273-274

Palissy on cheapness of glass, 228

_Paraison_, term explained, 14

Papyrus of Leiden, 120

_Pass-glas_, narrow cylinder, 269

Passini, on the Treasury of St. Mark’s, 100 _note_

_Pâte de Verre_ of Henri Cros, 359-360

Patents and licences to ‘adventurers,’ 311-314

Paternoster Kugel, 292

Paternosters, a kind of bead, 184

Paul the Silentiary quoted, 97

Pax, Gothic, how painted at back, 141-142

Percivall, Thomas, 309, 310, 311

_Perle a rosette_, _see_ Chevron beads.

Persian glass, 172, 338-342

Persian glass, rarity before seventeenth century, 172

Persian glass, Venetian origin, 338-341

Persian glass, earlier examples, 339

Persian glass, enamelling on, 339

Persian glass, shapes of blown glass, 339-340

Persian glass, engraved glass, 340-341

Persian glass, Chardin quoted, 341-342

Petrie, Dr. Flinders, on manufacture of glass in Egypt, 22-23, 24-25

Phœnician coast towns, early moulded glass, 57-58

Phœnician glass-makers, Pliny on, 76-78

Physical properties of glass, 10-12

Pictures of old masters, glass in, 202-203, 243, 244, 251-252, 254-255

‘Pillar moulding’ on early Roman glass, 63

‘Pillar moulding’ on Byzantine glass from Egypt, 106

Plate-glass, 210

Plate-glass, French invention, 235

Pliny on preparation of glass, 76-79

Pliny on _magnes lapis_ and _magnesia_, 77

Podgoriza bowl, 95

_Pointillé_ engraving on glass, 297-298

Poitou, Roman glass found in, 84-85

_Po-li_, Chinese name for glass, 347

Pompeii, glass from, 60, 69-70

_Pontil_ or _punto_, 14

Porcelain, relation to glass in history, 3

Porcelain, imitated by _lattimo_ glass, 205-206, 239, 249, 290, 291, 334

Portland or Barberini vase, 68-69

Potash used for inland glass, 11, 136

Potash, source of, 13

Potash, glass maintained in Germany, 257-258

Pottery, relation to glass in history, 2-3

Pretender, the, his head on wine-glasses, 330

Primitive glass, 18-42

Primitive glass, restricted use of, 20

Primitive glass, Greek and Egyptian names, 20

Primitive glass, of Egyptians imitates native stones, 21-22

Primitive glass, late survivals, 37-38

Primitive period in history of glass, 18

_Procello_ or ‘spring-tool,’ 15

‘Prunted’ beakers, of Anglo-Saxons and other Germanic tribes, 110-112

‘Prunted’ beakers, how made, 111

‘Prunted’ beakers, found in Illyria, 111

‘Prunts,’ on German glasses, 253

‘Prunts,’ restriction of term, 253 _note_

‘Prunts,’ practical use of, 253 _note_

Rabanus, Maurus, glass furnace in MS. of, 124-25

Ravenscroft, his flint-glass, 318

Red colours in Egyptian glass, 27-28

Red opaque glass confined in Egypt to inlays, 28

Reichenau, Byzantine glass on island of, 114

_Reichs-adler Humpen_, 267

René, King, patron of glass-makers, 135, 229

_Retabulum_ from Westminster Abbey, 141

_Reticelli, vetro a_, 205-206

Rhages or Rhé, fragments of glass from, 173

Rhodes, primitive glass from, 36, 37-38

Rhodes, glass from, 342

Riaño, Don Juan, on Spanish glass, 246, 247

Rib-twisted stem, 326

Rings (_Annuli_) of glass, 131

Rock-crystal, glazed by Egyptians, 20

Rock-crystal, carvings in, 70

Rock-crystal, Byzantine school of carving, 103-104, 118

Rock-crystal, carvings from Western Asia, 118

Rock-crystal, engraved by Saracens, 145-146

Rock-crystal, Italian engravers on, 279

_Roemer_, how built up, 254-255

_Roemer_, a form exceptional in England, 315

_Roemer_, in pictures of Dutch school, 244

_Roemer_-shaped goblets, 254-255

Roemer Vischer, his three daughters, 295

Roman glass, 48-88

Roman glass, the earliest Hellenistic in character, 48

Roman glass, in the main not dependent on Greece, 48-49

Roman glass, Millefiori glass, 49-52

Roman glass, colours of, 52

Roman glass, glass in floor-mosaics, 53 _note_

Roman glass, wall decoration, 53-54

Roman glass, _Opus sectile_ in glass, 54-55

Roman glass, window-glass, how made, 55

Roman glass, mirrors, 55-56

Roman glass, coloured pastes, _Lapis lazuli_, 56

Roman glass, moulded glass, 56-58

Roman glass, moulded ‘hollow-ware,’ 57-58

Roman glass, from Britain, blown into moulds, 58

Roman glass, blown into silver casing, 58 _note_

Roman glass, spread of manufacture, 60-61

Roman glass, in Britain, 61, 81, 86-87

Roman glass, cinerary urns, 61

Roman glass, early spread in Gaul and Spain, 61, 78

Roman glass, relation of shapes to pottery, 63

Roman glass, stringings and threadings, 64

Roman glass, enamelled glass, 65-67, 102

Roman glass, engraved and sculptured, 67-75

Roman glass, engraved and sculptured, from Canosa, 68

Roman glass, engraved and sculptured, onyx or cameo carved, 68-70

Roman glass, engraved and sculptured, ‘_Diatretum_’ carved, 71-73

Roman glass, engraved and sculptured, late carvings in low relief, 74-75

Roman glass, engraved and sculptured, engraved by wheel, 74-75

Roman glass, method of preparation, 76

Roman glass, Pliny quoted, 76-79

Roman glass, first made near Cumæ, 78

Roman glass, glass-houses, 80

Roman glass, in Gaul, 81-85

Roman glass, abundance in Eastern and North-eastern Gaul, 81

Roman glass, in West German Museums, 83-84

Roman glass, chronological classification, 83-84

Roman glass, in Western Gaul, 84-85

Roman glass, inscriptions on, 87-88

_Roquetta_, term explained, 13

Rothschild, Lord, carved cup of Roman glass, 73

Ruby-red, perhaps known to Ancients, 52

Ruby-red, in mediæval window-glass, 133

Ruby glass of Kunckel, 289-291

Ruby glass examples of, 291

Rudolph II. patronises carving of rock-crystal, 278-279

_Rui_ or _rulli_, small window-panes, 182

_Ruimer_ or _roemer_ of Dutch, 295

Sabellico on Venetian glass, 201

_Sacro catino_ of Genoa, 98-99

Saladin brings new influence to Egypt, 171

Salviati, 214, 227 _note_

Samarkand, glass-makers transported to, 168

Samarkand, description of glass of, 339

Sandrart on engraving of glass, 279-282

‘Sapphirus’ altar of St. David’s, 98 _note_

_Sapphirus_, term used for blue glass paste, 131

_Sapphirus_, see _Lapis lazuli_.

St. Anastasia, Rome, glass bowl at, 98

St. Gobain, plate-glass of, 210, 235

St. Ildefonso, royal glass-works, 250

St. Mark’s treasury, enamelled Roman glass, 66-67

St. Mark’s treasury, _Diatretum_ glass, 71-73

St. Mark’s treasury, description of glass in, 99-102

St. Sophia, lamps and windows, 96-97

Saracenic art, revolution in twelfth century, 170-171

Saracenic art, influence of Mongol invasion, 171

Saracenic carved glass, earlier than enamelled, 144-146

Saracenic enamelled glass, where made, 149

Saracenic enamelled glass, nature of ‘metal,’ 150-151

Saracenic enamelled glass, composition of, 151

Saracenic enamelled glass, magnesia in, 151

Saracenic enamelled glass, nature of enamels, 151

Saracenic enamelled glass, use of _Lapis lazuli_, 152

Saracenic enamelled glass, use of gold in decoration, 153

Saracenic enamelled glass, motives of decoration, 154-155

Saracenic enamelled glass, ‘canting badges’ of Sultans, 155

Saracenic enamelled glass, Chinese motives in decoration, 155

Saracenic enamelled glass, signatures of artist, 155

Saracenic enamelled glass, forms of lamps, 157

Saracenic enamelled glass, wick of lamps, how fixed, 157

Saracenic enamelled glass, beakers of lamp-like form, 158-160

Saracenic enamelled glass, construction of base of beakers, 159

Saracenic enamelled glass, famous beakers, 161-164

Saracenic enamelled glass, vessels filled with holy earth, 164-165

Saracenic enamelled glass, long-necked bottles, 165-166

Saracenic enamelled glass, bowls and dishes, 166-167

Saracenic enamelled glass, mosque lamps, 167-169

Saracenic enamelled glass, decline of, 168-169

Saracenic enamelled glass, origin of art, 170

Saracenic enamelled glass, found in China, 348

Sargon, glass engraved with name of, 40

Saroldo family at Nevers, 233

Sassanian glass, 104-105

Sassanian influence in Japan, 355

Scarpaggiato making glass in Bavaria, 271

Schaper, Johann, painter on glass, 272-273

_Schmelz_ glass of the Venetians, 207-208, 218-219

Schmoranz, G., work on Saracenic glass, 150 _note_

Schuermans, Judge, 222, 241

Schurman, Anna Maria van, 295

Schwanhart family, engravers on glass, 280-283, 288

Schwinger, Hermann, engraver on glass, 283

Shantung, glass made in, 353

Sherbet-jugs of opaque white glass, 342-343

Sidon, Pre-Roman glass, 57, 59, 78

Sidon, inscription on glass from, 87

Sidon, Venetians at, 176

Signatures of makers on Roman and Phœnician glass, 87-88

Signatures, rarely found on glass, 88

Signatures on Saracenic enamelled glass, 155

Silesia, engraved glass of, 285

Silica, amount of, in glass, 9-10

Singer, Mr. J. Webb, his collection of glasses, 324 _note_, 328

‘Singing glasses,’ 331

Slade collection, catalogue of, 51 _note_

Slavonic tombs, no glass in, 114 _note_

Snuff-bottles, Chinese, 351-352

Soap-making, its relation to glass, 41-42

‘Soap of glass’ (manganese), 77

Soda, the normal alkali of glass, 9-10

Soda, or maritime group of glass, 10-11

Soda, source of, 12-13

Soda, in Venetian glass, 214

South-Saxon Cemetery, Byzantine glass from, 107

Southwark, early glass-houses, 302, 312

Spanish glass, 245-250

Spanish glass, green glass of south, 245-246

Spanish glass, literature, 246 _note_

Spanish glass, Catalonia, 247-249

Spanish glass, Altarists and Muranists, 249-250

Spanish glass, decline in eighteenth century, 250

Spanish Netherlands, glass of, 240-244

‘Spear-butt’ shaped lamps, 97

‘Spear-butt’, in use in Italy, 158

_Spechter_, cylindrical beaker, 266

Specific gravity of glass, 12

Spessart forest, glass from, 266

Spheres in connection with suspended mosque lamps, 156-172

‘Spinning’ or ‘flashing’ to form a disc of glass, 15

Splashed decoration on Egyptian cosmetic pots, 31

Splashed decoration on Roman glass, 64

Splashed decoration on Venetian glass, 208

Splashed decoration on French Renaissance glass, 238

Splashed decoration on glass made at Bristol, 335-336

Stained glass windows, of St. Sophia, 96

Stained glass, French, composition of, 131

Stained glass how coloured, 132-133

Steinschönau, glass industry, 286, 293

_Stimpler_, bungling workman, 281, 285

_Stip_ engraving of Dutch, 297-298

Strabo on Roman glass, 60-61, 80

Strabo on glass of Alexandria and Syria, 80

Sulphur in glass, changes of colour, 17

_Suppialume_ process, 187

Susa, glass from, 41 _note_

Susa, Sassanian or Byzantine glass from, 104

Sussex glass-work, 139-140, 301-302

Switzerland, glass painters of, 263-264

Synesius, treatise on alchemy, 120

Syria, glass early made in, 38-39, 44-45

Syria, importance in history of glass, 122-123

Syria, glass made during Frankish occupation in coast towns, 180-181

Syrian glass of Middle Ages, 118, 148-149

Syrian glass-workers in Gaul and Rome, 82-83

Syrian tombs, glass from, 59-60

Syrian treatises on alchemy, etc., 122-124

Syrian manufacture of glass vessels, 123-124

Syrian glass-furnace described, 124

Tassie, James, his glass paste, 336

Tell-el-Amarna, glass from, 22, 23-25

Theophilus, his _Schedula Diversarum Artium_, 126-130

Theophilus on gilt glass, 92-93

Theophilus, his glass furnace, 127-128

Theophilus, materials for glass-making, 128

Theophilus, blowing of glass, 128-129

Theophilus, the ‘cylinder process,’ 128-129

Theophilus on enamelling of glass vessels, 130

Theophrastus on the word _Kyanos_, 35

Tiffany, Messrs., favrile glass, 357, 359

Timur or Tamerlane, his conquest, 168

Timur transplants glass-workers, 338

Tobacco ash, glass from, 292

Treviso, discovery of chevron beads, 189

_Trionfi di Tavola_, 213

Turkish element in later Saracenic art, 147-148

Tyre, glass-works in Middle Ages, 148-149

Tiryns, glass inlay in alabaster slabs, 34

Ultramarine, source of blue in Saracenic enamels, 152

_Unguentaria_ or _Phialæ_ of primitive glass, 22, 23, 29-30, 33, 36-37

_Unguentaria_, wavy decoration of, 23

_Unguentaria_, inscriptions on Egyptian, 30-31

_Unguentaria_ from tombs in Southern Italy and Greek islands, 36-37

_Unguentaria_ from Crimean tombs, 37

Uranium, opal glass from, 206 _note_

_Urinalia_ of glass, 134, 139 _note_

Varpelev, enamelled glass from tombs at, 66

Veneer of glass used by Romans, 52-54

Venetian glass, 174-219

Venetian glass, made for Turks, 171-172

Venetian glass, sources of information, 176 _note_

Venetian glass, early mention of, 177

Venetian glass, German pedlars, 177

Venetian glass, manufacture forbidden in Venice, 177

Venetian glass, early manufacture of beads, window-glass, and
spectacles, 178

Venetian glass, Germans export glass, 178-184

Venetian glass, competition with crystal-cutters, 178-179, 184

Venetian glass, early commerce with Syrian ports, 179

Venetian glass, early enamelled glass, 179

Venetian glass, little Oriental influence in fifteenth century, 181

Venetian glass, Muranese and Venetian guilds, 183

Venetian glass, manufacture of beads, 185-187

Venetian glass, exported to England and Low Countries, 192

Venetian enamelled glass of fifteenth century, 192-199

Venetian enamelled glass imitates enamels on copper, 193

Venetian enamelled glass, _semé_ gilding, 195

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, 200-202

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, varieties of, 203-209

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_ plaque engraved in _intaglio_, 209

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_ mirrors, 209-211

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_ chandeliers, 211-212

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, attempts to check decline, 212-213

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, cut and engraved, 213

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, revival of nineteenth century, 213-214

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, special qualities of, 214

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, literature of, 214-219

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, preparation, 215, 217-219

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, early practical treatises, 217

Venetian glass in Western Europe, 220-223

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, early importation to Germany, 256

Venetian glass, _Cristallo_, importation into England, 314-315

Venetian glass-workers, restrictions on emigration, 222-223

Venetian glass-workers, in Netherlands, 240-241

Venetian glass-workers, in England, 307-308

Venetian school, suspended lamps in pictures of, 156

Venetian school, glass in pictures of, 202-203

_Verre_ or _voirre_, use of the French word, 135-136

_Verre de fougère_, 221, 234

_Verre de fougère_, in mediæval times, 113-114

_Verre de fougère_, in France, 134-135, 136

_Verrerie_, term explained, 1

_Verroterie_, term explained, 1, 19

Verzelini, Jacopo, 307-308

_Vetro di trina_ from Nineveh, 40

_Vetro di trina_ from Canosa, 46, 50 _note_

_Vetro di trina_ of Murano, 205-206

Vienna, Saracenic enamelled glass in cathedral, 164-165

Vienna, _Schatzkammer_, glass from, in Museum, 280

Waddesdon collection, glass in, 163, 193, 206, 252 _note_

Walloon Church at Southampton, 304-305

Warmbrunn in Silesia, glass engraving, 285-286

Waterford, glass-houses at, 336

Webb of Stourbridge, his cameo glass, 358

Weights for coins in glass, 146-147

Westminster _retabulum_, inlay of glass, 141

_Willkomm humpen_, 266

Windows of French churches, composition and colours, 132-133

Wine, when first bottled, 322

Wine-bottles, early English, 322

Wine-bottles, stamps on, 322

Wine-glasses, _see_ Drinking-glasses.

Winter, Friedrich, Silesian glass engraver, 285

Wolf, engraver by _stip_ process, 297-298

‘Würzburg’ flask in British Museum, enamels on, 153

Yard, a form of drinking-glass, 331

Yellow from antimony in primitive glass, 29

Yellow, source of, in mediæval window-glass, 133

Zozimus, treatise on alchemy, 120

_Zunft-becher_ or guild glasses, 270

_Zwischen gläser_, 274-275

        Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
                   at the Edinburgh University Press


Footnote 1:

  It would be quite beside the mark to search for a chemical formula to
  express such a combination of silica, soda, and lime. I have little
  doubt that one of the causes of this remarkable uniformity of
  composition is to be looked for in the very fact that such a mixture
  is _not a definite silicate_, and is therefore the less likely to
  assume a stony or crystalline structure on cooling.

Footnote 2:

  The alumina here is probably not to be regarded as a base, but rather
  as taking the place of the silica. Hence the exceptionally low
  percentage of the latter.

Footnote 3:

  It had its origin in great measure in the arbitrary regulations laid
  down by the fiscal authorities at the beginning of the last century.
  This side of the subject is well treated in the article on glass in
  the original edition of the _Penny Cyclopædia_.

Footnote 4:

  In the Museum at Kew may be seen specimens of Spanish barilla made
  from the _Halogeton sativa_, as well as large crude cakes of roquetta
  from Aden and Bagdad prepared from the _Suæda fruticosa_ and the
  _Salsola kali_ respectively.

Footnote 5:

  ‘The Processes of Decay in Glass’ is the subject of an elaborate
  paper by Mr. James Fowler, to be found in the forty-sixth volume of

Footnote 6:

  Good instances of both these changes may be observed in the windows
  and chandeliers of the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles.

Footnote 7:

  I know at least of no example of a vessel or bead of glass of an
  earlier date. That the molten material of the glazes—known from the
  earliest period—may even in very early times have been rolled into
  slabs and subsequently cut up into pieces for inlay-work, would seem
  to be proved by a fragment of a wooden box, bearing the name of a
  king of the First Dynasty, found by M. Amélineau on the site of
  Abydos. This box (it is now in the Ashmolean Museum, where it was
  pointed out to me by Mr. Bell) is decorated with small triangular
  plaques of what is apparently a blue translucent glass, with an
  uneven but undecomposed surface.

Footnote 8:

  It should be borne in mind that colourless rock crystal was at all
  times ‘taboo’ to the Egyptians, and this fact may partly account for
  the absence of clear white glass in Egypt.

Footnote 9:

  In most cases, I think, the comparatively hard arragonite, the
  _carbonate_, and not the _sulphate_ of lime that we know by that name.

Footnote 10:

  There is, however, some reason to believe not only that the salt
  lakes of the Delta were exploited at a very early date, but that the
  natron, an impure carbonate of soda, may well have been exported
  thence by an old caravan route, perhaps even in pre-dynastic times.

Footnote 11:

  Professor Buckman, in a paper in the _Archæological Journal_ so long
  ago as 1851 gives some valuable analyses of ancient glass, the main
  result of which is to show the absence of lead and the general use of
  copper as a source of blue, in pre-Roman times at least. In many of
  these older analyses, as in those made by Sir Humphry Davy, there
  always remains an element of doubt, not so much as to the accuracy of
  the chemist’s work, but as to the _provenance_ of the specimen that
  he is examining. Professor Buckman dwells upon the light that
  properly conducted analyses would throw upon the origin and
  classification of the glass of the ancients. He does not,
  unfortunately, distinguish the nature of the alkali, whether soda or
  potash, in his own analyses. Little work of this kind has been
  accomplished in the fifty years that have since elapsed.

Footnote 12:

  Antimony has been found in the glaze of Assyrian bricks, as well as
  in the yellow enamel of mediæval Saracenic glass. The Egyptian name
  was _mestem_, whence the word _stibium_ (antimony), but other
  minerals such as galena, hæmatite, and pyrolusite (oxide of
  manganese), have also been found in their kohl-pots; at one time
  indeed, during the early empire, a copper-green was in fashion for
  painting the angles of the eyes. I may mention that in the twisted
  rods—of a comparatively late date, however—that fitted into these
  kohl-pots, we have some of the earliest examples of a transparent
  white glass.

Footnote 13:

  This, however, is not quite certain, for the _prænomen_ of Thothmes
  III.—_Men-cheper-Ra_—was assumed, I am informed, by one of the
  priest kings of the Twenty-second Dynasty. Indeed, the technique in
  this case would point rather to a late than an early period.

Footnote 14:

  I had proposed to include this example and the two little vases
  previously described among my coloured illustrations. I have,
  however, not been able to obtain the requisite permission from the
  keeper of the Egyptian Department.

Footnote 15:

  This is the expression used in the official catalogue of the Museum,
  from which I borrow this description.

Footnote 16:

  Glass-workers’ moulds have been found at Mycenæ, and it has been
  claimed for this glass that it was _made_ as well as melted on the
  spot. But that, I think, is unlikely.

Footnote 17:

  All this bears out what I have said above upon the relation of the
  earliest glass to the metallurgy of copper, and the probability that
  the earliest glass was a blue glass (p. 26).

Footnote 18:

  It is a remarkable fact that somewhat similar beads, of clear,
  colourless, facetted glass, evidently of great age, have lately been
  brought from West Africa. (See a paper by Mr. C. H. Read in _Man_,
  May 1905.)

Footnote 19:

  Such a comparison may indeed be made in the case of the bulk of the
  ‘primitive’ glass of which we treat in this chapter, and may help to
  accentuate the difference between it and the blown glass of later

Footnote 20:

  Some fragments of a conical vessel of clear thin glass, evidently
  formed by the blowing-tube, have lately been found by M. de Morgan at
  Susa. They are said to bear a cuneiform inscription of the time of
  the Achæmenidæ. These fragments are now in the Louvre, but
  considerable doubt exists as to the nature of the markings. The glass
  certainly resembles suspiciously that used by the Arabs for their
  small hanging lamps.

Footnote 21:

  See Chapter XXI. for some further account of this glass.

Footnote 22:

  On the other hand, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians and in the
  Epistle of James, there are references to mirrors that may have been
  of glass. Again, in Revelation we find ‘a sea of glass like unto
  crystal’ (iv. 6), and what is more important, glass in other passages
  (xxi. 18 and 21) is referred to as ‘pure’ and ‘transparent’ (the
  words in the original being ὓαλος, καθαρός, and διαφανής).
  In view of the question, discussed below, of the date when clear
  glass came into general use, this contrast between the Gospels and
  the, on the whole, later books is of some interest.

Footnote 23:

  This arrangement in spiral coils is very characteristic of the glass
  of this period, though it is generally only to be seen on close
  examination. We have noticed it in the case of the ‘lace-glass’ from
  Canosa. It may give us some clue as to the method of manufacture.

Footnote 24:

  This collection, which contains many fine examples of ancient glass,
  has been bought _en bloc_ by Mr. Pierpont Morgan, and is likely to
  follow the still more famous Charvet collection (so carefully
  described in M. Froehner’s great work), and to find its way to

Footnote 25:

  The basis of this collection was formed by Mr. Nesbitt many years
  ago; it was presented to the Museum, in 1887, by his brother-in-law,
  the late Sir A. W. Franks. Mr. Nesbitt was the compiler of the
  catalogues both of the Slade collection (privately printed, 1871) and
  of the glass at South Kensington (1878)—magnificently illustrated
  works, but now in a measure out of date.

Footnote 26:

  The evidence, however, on this point is very conflicting.

Footnote 27:

  The pale rosy tint seen in a few rare specimens of classical glass,
  as in some pieces lately brought from Egypt, I should rather
  attribute to a skilful use of manganese.

Footnote 28:

  The presence of tin in this glass which I have already mentioned in
  speaking of its Egyptian prototype (p. 27), has been confirmed by
  analyses made at Sèvres by M. Salvétat. I do not know whether the
  researches of this chemist into the composition of the glass of the
  ancients have ever been published.

Footnote 29:

  In the Roman floor mosaics the tesseræ are almost invariably of
  stone, but occasionally fragments of glass are found, as in the
  famous ‘Mosaic of the Philosophers’ in the museum at Cologne. Here
  the ground is built up of a smeltz-like greenish glass.

Footnote 30:

  We may compare this use of glass with the _kyanos_ studs of the
  Mycenæan period, or again with the blue glass inlaid between the
  volutes of the capitals in the temple of Minerva Polias at Athens,
  described long ago by Hamilton.

Footnote 31:

  In the glass coffin from the Temple collection in the British Museum
  we have an example of the use of such glass on a comparatively large

Footnote 32:

  Mr. Kennard has a plaque of clear white glass, some six inches in
  length, with the bust of a faun in high relief. This plaque is
  pierced on either side, as if for fixing upon some object of

Footnote 33:

  We may regard the little ovoid vase in the British Museum, made by
  blowing a thin vesicle of deep blue glass into a casing of silver,
  pierced by oval apertures, as an example of moulded glass where the
  mould has not been removed. If the silver casing were stripped off,
  we should have a good imitation of ‘prunted’ glass; not that this is
  to be taken as a model of the way in which these prunts were made
  (see below, p. 110).

Footnote 34:

  How far the so-called _diatretum_ work is based upon such _appliqué_
  or added portions of glass is a much disputed point. Mr. Nesbitt
  appears to have regarded all such work as so formed (_Catalogue,
  Slade Collection_, pp. xiv.-xv.), and the imitations now made at
  Murano are certainly built up in this way; not so, however, some of
  the genuine ancient pieces, I think. (See below, p. 71.)

Footnote 35:

  The Egyptians, too, as we have seen, sometimes decorated their glass
  with similar splashes, but we never find that these are distorted.

Footnote 36:

  There are many allusions to the painting of glass, in some cases
  merely by varnishes, in the early mediæval treatises on glass (see
  Chap. VII.). Some of these recipes, as we shall see, may have been
  handed down from classical times.

Footnote 37:

  The contents have been described by the late Canonico Passini, in a
  magnificent work published by Ongania of Venice, in which nearly
  every piece of importance is reproduced in colour or by photography.

Footnote 38:

  There is among the Roman glass in the museum at Cologne a shallow
  bowl about a foot in diameter, painted on the back, as in the later
  _verre églomisé_, with a female head. The colours—black, red, and
  white—are but slightly burnt in, and therefore much decomposed.

Footnote 39:

  This part is stated to be a distinct piece cemented on to the bottom
  of the vessel. So at least says Mr. Apsley Pellatt in his
  _Curiosities of Glass-making_, writing, I think, before the vase was

  In the same book will be found a careful account of the process of
  ‘casing’ as now practised. It was probably by some such plan, in the
  case of the Portland vase, that the _paraison_ of blue glass was
  blown into the previously prepared vessel of opaque white.

Footnote 40:

  I shall return to this sculptured work when treating of Byzantine
  glass in the next chapter.

Footnote 41:

  By the courtesy of Lord Rothschild I have had an opportunity of
  examining this wonderful cup. It is undoubtedly carved from one piece
  of glass. The spirited execution would seem to point to a date hardly
  much later than the beginning of the third century. The internal
  depressions were made perhaps with the object of lighting up the
  external figures. The glass by transmitted light is of a fiery red,
  tending to purple, but the figure of Lycurgus is exceptionally of a
  fine amethystine tint. I think that in both cases the colour is
  probably due to a skilful use of manganese.

Footnote 42:

  The abrading material employed along with the wheel was probably in
  most cases corundum or emery (the _adamas_ of the ancients) in a
  powdered form; not the diamond, which was excessively rare, nor the
  emerald, as is sometimes stated. This last stone is not only much
  rarer than corundum, but it is also not so hard.

Footnote 43:

  Compare what is said below on p. 82 of Greek-speaking Syrian artisans.

Footnote 44:

  For some account of what these writers tell us about glass, see
  below, Chap. VII.

Footnote 45:

  Theophilus, however, writing a century earlier than the
  pseudo-Heraclius, appears to speak of the marver as a slab of stone
  (see below, Chap. VII.).

Footnote 46:

  The sand of this river as a material for the manufacture of glass is
  already mentioned by Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle.

Footnote 47:

  _Glebas nitri._ This is doubtless the natron (impure carbonate of
  soda) exported from the Egyptian natron lakes, which have been worked
  from a very early period—a substance that must not be confused with
  our nitre (nitrate of potash); as I have said, the glass of the
  ancients is essentially a soda glass. The natron was probably first
  exported for the use of the soap-makers.

Footnote 48:

  This again must not be confused with the white earth, which we now
  know under that name, a substance unknown to the ancients.

Footnote 49:

  By this is probably meant three parts in twelve or ten, _i.e._ 25 or
  30 per cent. of the whole.

Footnote 50:

  Great care must be exercised in translating the names of the precious
  stones and marbles mentioned by Greek and Roman writers. These names
  are used in the vaguest way, which hardly ever corresponds to the
  modern meaning.

Footnote 51:

  Among others, from the early history of the Christian Church in these

Footnote 52:

  At Rome, too, there is some reason to think that the working of
  glass—the minor departments of that art, at least—was long in the
  hands of Syrian or other Semitic immigrants. Martial’s itinerant
  hawker from the Transtevere, who bartered his sulphur matches for
  broken glass, we may perhaps think of as a Jew (Book 1., _Epigram._

Footnote 53:

  See p. 88.

Footnote 54:

  Compare with these the bottle from Cologne in the British Museum
  containing a hardened mass of some yellow substance, and closed by a
  decayed cork partly covered by a corroded bronze capsule (_Slade
  Catalogue_, No. 275).

Footnote 55:

  Both these forms are found in Anglo-Saxon and Frankish graves. It
  will be remembered that in France there was no sudden break in the
  Roman culture on the appearance of the Germanic invaders, as was the
  case in England.

Footnote 56:

  Philostratus describes the process by which the ‘barbarians of the
  ocean’ spread colours upon heated bronze so as to form a hard
  enduring decoration. He was of the household of Julia Domna, and M.
  Froehner suggests that he may have heard of these enamels from one of
  the officers of the army of Septimius Severus.

Footnote 57:

  The famous enamelled bowl, however, found in a Roman tomb of the time
  of Hadrian, at Bartlow, Essex, was accompanied by a cinerary vase and
  other examples of glass. See _Archæologia_, vol. xxvi.

Footnote 58:

  The chapter dealing with these marks, together with that on the
  geographical distribution, forms the most valuable part of M.
  Froehner’s already quoted work on ancient glass.

Footnote 59:

  So when some of our leading archæologists saw at first in the
  discoveries of Schliemann at Mycenæ and Troy the work of wandering
  tribes of the fifth and sixth centuries, they were unconsciously
  arguing in favour of this often renewed Oriental influence.

Footnote 60:

  The glass from the catacombs has long attracted notice, with the
  result that many more or less clever forgeries, dating from the
  seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, have to be reckoned with. These
  _fondi d’oro_ are most completely illustrated by Garucci in the third
  volume of the Jesuit father’s great work, the _Storia dell’ Arte
  Christiana_ (1876), as well as in an earlier work (1858 and 1864),
  especially devoted to Christian glass. The most scholarly treatment
  of the subject is to be found in the little work of Dr. Hermann
  Vopel, _Die Alt-Christlichen Goldgläser_ (1899). For an excellent
  summary of what is known on the subject, see also the catalogue of
  the early Christian Antiquities in the British Museum, by Mr. O. M.
  Dalton, and the same writer’s paper in the _Archæological Journal_

Footnote 61:

               ‘... quo facto desuper ipsas
               Armavi vitrum docto flatu tenuatum
               Ignis; sed post quam pariter sensere calorem
               Se vitrum fialis tenuatum junxit honeste.’

  These lines, which describe the critical process by which the
  superficial layer of glass was applied, are unfortunately somewhat
  obscure. If I have translated them aright, the process did not differ
  much from that now adopted at Murano. Heraclius is here probably
  copying an older recipe.

Footnote 62:

  There is a good example, a bearded man, in the Glass Room at the
  British Museum. Some clever imitations were made in the eighteenth

Footnote 63:

  As examples of this, note the gladiator glass and the _Anatoli
  Gaudens_ portrait from the Tyskiewitz collection. This last example,
  of quite exceptional merit, has been recently acquired by the British

Footnote 64:

  I am inclined to connect the cemetery glass as a whole with the
  Judaising Christians of the old narrow school, who had long been
  settled in Rome near to the Porta Capena and in the Transteverine
  quarters, not far, that is to say, from the principal cemeteries.

Footnote 65:

  Formerly in the Basilewski collection, now, I think, in the
  Hermitage, St. Petersburg. This cup, which is also of interest for
  the inscriptions on it in a local dialect of debased Latin, was found
  near the site of Doclea, to the north of the Lake of Scutari.

Footnote 66:

  In the Theodosian code, however, we find, among the craftsmen who are
  freed from personal taxes, _Vitrearii, vasa vitrea conflantes_.

Footnote 67:

  A disc of this description, pierced to receive glass cups, is
  apparently an earlier form than the well-known corona, the
  _polycandela_, so long in use in Christian churches. The hanging
  disc, like so many things Roman and Byzantine, would seem to have
  survived among the Saracens; something like it may still be found in
  old Arab houses in Cairo. Elsewhere Paul, speaking of the single
  lights in St. Sophia, describes them as silver vessels, _like a
  balance-pan_—in the centre of each rests a cup of ‘well burning
  oil.’ This passage, I think, throws some light on certain
  ‘balance-pan’ dishes of rock crystal and glass, preserved in St.
  Mark’s treasury at Venice (see below, p. 101).

Footnote 68:

  Its relation to the Queen of Sheba we may dismiss. The other two uses
  that have been assigned to this bowl may be reconciled, if we accept
  one of the earliest forms of the tradition of the Holy Graal. (I
  follow here the account given by the late Mr. Thomas Arnold in an
  article by him in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_.) According to this
  tradition, Joseph of Arimathea, at the time of the Crucifixion,
  proceeded first to the upper room where the Last Supper had been
  celebrated and found there the shallow bowl that had held the Paschal
  Lamb. Taking this vessel with him, and returning to the scene of the
  Crucifixion, he received in it drops of blood from the side of our
  Lord. The double service of the bowl is the essence of this
  tradition. Mr. Arnold, _à propos_ of the traditionary connection of
  the Holy Graal with Glastonbury, quotes from Malmesbury a statement
  that in his day an altar called ‘sapphirus,’ which had been brought
  from Palestine to St. Davids, had been re-discovered. This may well
  have been a slab of glass similar to that still preserved at
  Reichenau. I have been unable to find any further reference to this
  ‘sapphirus’ altar.

Footnote 69:

  _Il Tesoro di San Marco illustrato da Antonio Passini, Canonico della
  Marciana._ Published by Ferd. Ongania, Venice, 1886. As in both the
  text and the plates of this work the glass is mixed up with objects
  of rock crystal and other materials, I give a reference to the plates
  on which vessels of glass are reproduced.

Footnote 70:

  This dish should probably rather find a place among the hanging lamps
  of the next section. There are others of these so-called chalices and
  patens of which the original use is very problematical.

Footnote 71:

  This vase has been classed by Von Czihak with the so-called Hedwig
  glasses (see below, p. 115); the resemblance, however, to the German
  glasses is small.

Footnote 72:

  Note in this connection the inscription on the mounting of the lamp
  of carved glass (IV. 1 in our list) in St. Mark’s treasury, referring
  to a bishop of Iberia, the modern Georgia. Not until the reign of
  Justinian was the Roman empire extended to the east coast of the
  Euxine—to Lazica and Colchis.

Footnote 73:

  The contents of these graves have been described in a paper read
  before the Society of Antiquaries by Mr. C. H. Read (_Archæologia_,
  vol. lv.).

Footnote 74:

  I use the term Saxon here to include also the Angles and Jutes.

Footnote 75:

  In this widely spread class of jewellery, both true enamel and glass
  are conspicuous by their general absence.

Footnote 76:

  I have seen, in the collection of Mr. Kennard, the lower part of a
  vase of thickish clear green glass, from an Anglo-Saxon tomb. On this
  the tails of the well-formed prunts _sweep downwards diagonally_; on
  the head of each is a rosette Such a form one may perhaps connect
  with the ‘_hroden ealo woege_,’ the ‘twisted ale-cups’ of Beowulf’s
  poem (cf. Hartshorne, p. 24).

Footnote 77:

  Note in this tapestry, in more than one feast scene, the swaggering
  action with which the guests raise the drinking-horns, either to
  drink from the larger end or to let the liquid pass into the mouth
  from the pointed extremity.

Footnote 78:

  In the sacristy of the church at Mittelzell, where I recently had an
  opportunity of examining it. This is an irregular oblong slab, about
  twenty inches in length, weighing about thirty pounds. One surface is
  nearly even, as if the molten glass had been poured out upon a table.

Footnote 79:

  The Slavonic tribes before their conversion do not appear to have had
  any knowledge of glass; it is not found in any of their tombs to the
  east of the Elbe.

Footnote 80:

  Apart from a few examples of enamelled glass of Saracenic origin
  preserved in church treasuries; these probably came in somewhat later.

Footnote 81:

  There are, beside these, five other glasses that may be connected
  with this saint, but these are of a different character. Hedwig was
  the wife of a Silesian prince who lived in the early part of the
  thirteenth century. On the occasion of a misunderstanding with her
  husband, arising from the lady’s refusal to drink anything but water
  at her meals, the difficulty was surmounted by a miracle. St. Hedwig
  was canonised in 1257, and was soon recognised as the _landes
  patronin_ both of Silesia and Poland.

Footnote 82:

  For example, on Gallic and British coins derived from Greek types, or
  again on some English porcelain where an Oriental design has been
  unintelligently copied.

Footnote 83:

  _Les Origines de l’Alchimie_, 1885; _La Chimie des Anciens et du
  Moyen Age_, 1889; _La Chimie au Moyen Age_, 1893.

Footnote 84:

  This I shall refer to later on as the pseudo-Heraclius; it contains
  several sections treating on the manufacture of glass, and forms a
  valuable commentary on the decidedly earlier treatise of Theophilus.

Footnote 85:

  Compare with this account the furnace now used in Northern India
  described in Chapter XXI.

Footnote 86:

  At South Kensington, in the Indian section, may be seen some native
  distilling apparatus of glass, which follows very closely in the line
  of these old Syrian drawings.

Footnote 87:

  For the relation of Theophilus to his predecessor, Bishop Meinhart of
  Paderborn, and to the Greek influence still prevailing in Germany,
  see the Introduction by Albert Ilg to his edition of this treatise in
  the _Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte_, vol. vii.; Vienna, 1874.

Footnote 88:

  Much of this latter sort, however, was to be greedily absorbed in
  Germany at a later date.

Footnote 89:

  Are we to take this acquaintance with the Agia Sophia in a material
  as well as a symbolical sense? Does Theophilus in this passage claim
  to have visited Constantinople?

Footnote 90:

  Not long after this a German poet writes to this effect—

                   ‘_Gott hat erschaffen manchen Mann
                   Der Glas aus Asche machen kann
                   Und dass kan schöpfen wie er will._’

Footnote 91:

  This is, of course, the ‘marver,’ not yet of iron as in the
  thirteenth-century writer (cf. p. 76).

Footnote 92:

  From the expression used, ‘_quam fistulam_,’ etc., it would seem that
  the identical hollow tube was used again and not replaced by a simple
  rod—the _pontil_; but perhaps this is merely a slip on the part of

Footnote 93:

  The literal statement is that ‘the painted gold figures are covered
  with the clear fusible glass of which we have already spoken’; over
  this again the coloured designs are painted—a curious and elaborate
  process. We must, however, remember that although Theophilus may have
  seen specimens of Byzantine enamelled glass, he can have had little
  opportunity of learning how they were made.

Footnote 94:

  There _annuli_ probably included also bracelets or bangles of glass.
  We may perhaps compare them to those still worn by Arab women.
  Margaret, Countess of Flanders, had in 1252 a casket full of glass

Footnote 95:

  Yet in France much of the old glass was sacrificed at the Revolution
  in order _to extract the gold_. See Appert, _Les Vitraux Anciens_,
  for the composition and colour of mediæval window-glass.

Footnote 96:

  Early in the eleventh century, a saintly German bishop, Bernard of
  Hildesheim, is said to have made for himself a chalice of glass, and
  a few years later a bishop of Auxerre founded three prebendal seats,
  one for a painter, one for a goldsmith, and a third for a
  glass-worker (_vitrier_—probably a maker of glass windows). We must
  not, then, be surprised at the acquaintance with the practical arts
  shown by the monk Rugerus (Theophilus).

Footnote 97:

  M. Schuermans, however, brings forward passages to show that in early
  days the term was applied to a small flask carried about the person.

Footnote 98:

  What little we have comes mostly from the Venetian archives. We hear
  already in the fourteenth century of German hawkers of glass, and of
  the skill of the Germans in making glass mirrors.

Footnote 99:

  To hollow ware, that is to say. Stained glass for windows, of which
  examples still survive, was made in England in the fifteenth century,
  and probably even earlier.

Footnote 100:

  Compare with these the four hundred and thirty-two _urinalia_
  supplied to the Dauphin of the Viennois for a year’s consumption.
  Glass, it would appear from an epigram of Martial, was put to a
  similar use by the Romans.

Footnote 101:

  The village of Kirdford is situated about four miles to the north of

Footnote 102:

  It stood for long against the wall of the South Ambulatory. As in
  this position the paintings appeared to be suffering from the damp,
  it has lately been removed to the Jerusalem Chamber.

Footnote 103:

  A fifteenth-century plaque at South Kensington is possibly an
  exception. Here the gold leaf lies between two sheets of glass, the
  lower one of considerable thickness, but how these sheets are united
  I cannot say.

Footnote 104:

  In shape they resemble the little bottles in which attar of roses is
  still sold in Oriental bazaars, and this resemblance may give a hint
  as to their original use.

Footnote 105:

  Schefer, _Relation des voyages de Nassiri Khosrau_(1035-1042 A.D.),
  pp. 42 and 46. The information from Arab writers collected in the
  notes to this work must not be confused with what Khosrau himself
  says. There is, however, one important reference to our material in
  the text:—we are told that glass, transparent and pure as the
  emerald, was sold in Cairo by the weight. This was in Fatimi times.
  There may, perhaps, have been some confusion with the glass weights
  themselves, of which we have spoken above.

Footnote 106:

  We may find, perhaps, what is the last reference to Alexandria in
  connection with glass in ‘the most precious vase, _Alexandrini
  generis_,’ that the Emperor Henry II. (_d._ 1024 A.D.) presented to
  the Abbot of Cluny. This was probably an example of sculptured glass,
  which may have come to Henry through his relationship with the
  Byzantine emperors.

Footnote 107:

  Gustav Schmoranz, _Old Oriental Gilt and Enamelled Glass Vessels_,
  1899. One hundred and forty glass lamps are accounted for, of which
  number exactly half are now in the Museum of Arab Art at Cairo. The
  remaining pieces—goblets, bottles, etc.—only amount to forty-four,
  but these are nearly all in European museums or private collections.

Footnote 108:

  There was only one, for instance, in the Slade collection. There are
  now seven in the British Museum and nine at South Kensington, without
  counting the smaller specimens.

Footnote 109:

  For the important bearing of this point, see my book on Porcelain in
  this series.

Footnote 110:

  Note that the use of cobalt as an _overglaze_ enamel on Chinese
  _porcelain_ did not come in until the seventeenth century, and that
  this enamel at first gave more trouble than any other.

Footnote 111:

  I use this term for the writing with tall perpendicular strokes,
  although much of it, I understand, should not strictly bear the name.

Footnote 112:

  A good example may be seen in a large picture of the Circumcision by
  Marco Marziale in the National Gallery.

Footnote 113:

  Glass lamp-cups of this form are still made in India; Mr. Forrest,
  ex-Director of Records at the India Office, has shown me a specimen
  brought from Gujerat. Glass lamps of a similar construction seem to
  have been in use in bedrooms in Germany in the fifteenth century;
  they may be seen in contemporary pictures.

Footnote 114:

  The magnificent specimen of enamelled glass with geometrical
  decoration, which belonged to the late Baron Alphonse de Rothschild,
  figured in Schmoranz’s work as a lantern, is, of course, a stand for
  a candle. It resembles in every respect, except material, the
  well-known cylindrical candle-stands of inlaid bronze.

Footnote 115:

  A good example of the first is reproduced by M. Gerspach (_L’Art de
  la Verrerie_, p. 100) from a manuscript of the famous story-teller
  Hariri. For an instance of the second, see the side subjects on the
  Würzburg flask in the British Museum.

Footnote 116:

  The construction, indeed, closely resembles that of the Cairo
  cup-lamp described above.

Footnote 117:

  The oldest of these ballads only dates back to the time of the Duke
  of Wharton, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The ‘wicked
  Duke,’ it is said, when in his cups would toss the ‘Luck’ into the
  air and catch it in his hand.

Footnote 118:

  This is the goblet figured in Schmoranz, p. 29. It belonged at the
  time, he tells us, to an unknown collector, who gave £1600 for it at
  Christie’s in 1881.

Footnote 119:

  Illustrated in _Archæologia_, vol. lviii., where it forms the
  starting-point of the paper by Mr. C. H. Read, that I have quoted
  from above.

Footnote 120:

  In this respect differing from the other cup in this collection to
  which the same date and origin are ascribed. I refer to the
  Aldrevandini goblet, with the armorial shields, described in the next
  chapter. The glass of this cup is already quite of a Venetian type,
  approaching to a true _cristallo_.

Footnote 121:

  He reigned during the temporary deposition of Malek Nasir.

Footnote 122:

  This lamp also has, I think, passed into the Pierpont Morgan

Footnote 123:

  The badge of a sword is very frequent upon these later lamps, but it
  can hardly in all cases refer to the same sultan or emir.

Footnote 124:

  The only other lamp, as far as I know, that has been obtained from
  Syria, is one from Damascus, presented to the British Museum by the
  late Sir A. W. Franks. This in no way differs from the ordinary type
  except in the enamelled decoration at the base of the handles. A lamp
  of quite normal description at South Kensington has also been
  attributed, but very doubtfully, to the same Syrian town.

Footnote 125:

  The words on the document as I read them are ‘_parte schietti et
  parte à rediselli_.’ The ambassador at the same time sends an order
  for window-glass to be used in the new palace that Ali Pasha is
  building; and finally, for ‘_uno di quelli ferali [fenali?] over fano
  di salla grande_'—probably some kind of chandelier.

Footnote 126:

  We should have looked rather for some trace of Oriental influence.
  Freeman (_Historical Geography_, p. 240) speaks of the marquisate as
  ‘a feudal state, whose rulers had in various ways a singular
  connection with the East. As Marquesses of Montferrat they claimed
  the crown of Jerusalem and had worn the crown of Thessalonica.’
  Again, early in the fourteenth century the marquisate passed to a
  branch of the imperial house of Palæologus.

Footnote 127:

  The _Consolato dell’ Arte_ was yearly elected on Christmas Day amid
  great festivities. In the statutes of the _Arte Vitrea_, drawn up or
  revised in 1495, we have apparently the earliest documentary evidence
  for these glass-works. These statutes are given in full in Bordoni’s
  _L’Arte Vetraria in Altare_, Savona, 1884.

Footnote 128:

  The results are perhaps best summed up in the memoir contributed in
  1872 by Cecchetti to the _Reale Instituto Veneto_. See also the
  _Monographia della Vetraria Veneziana_, the combined work of Zanetti,
  Cecchetti, and others, drawn up upon the occasion of the Viennese
  Exhibition of 1873. Vicenzo Zanetti, in his account of the _Museo
  Civico_ at Murano, gives a list of more than three hundred works
  (including manuscripts, drawings, and pamphlets) treating upon
  Venetian glass.

Footnote 129:

  A possible exception has been found in a document of the year 1090,
  in which a certain citizen adds the word _fiolarius_ to his name.
  This word, which in the Venetian tongue generally takes the form
  _friolaro_, is of some importance to us. In Dante the word _fiala_ is
  used for a wine-bottle: ‘_il vin della sua fiala_,’ Par. x. 88.

Footnote 130:

  As early as 1175 it is mentioned that the Venetians had certain
  privileges in the _Daciones de Vitro_ at Tyre.

Footnote 131:

  Ayas, Tripoli, Tyre, and Acre remained under Frankish rule during the
  greater part of the thirteenth century. Acre, the last to fall, was
  taken by the Saracens in 1291.

Footnote 132:

  My point is that in this beautiful cup the scheme of decoration is
  essentially French, while the technique of both glass and enamels
  points to a Saracenic place of origin.

Footnote 133:

  They have been analysed by Cecchetti in the paper quoted above.

Footnote 134:

  This word was the source of much embarrassment to Merret, the
  translator of Neri’s little manual on glass, of which I shall have
  more to say further on. Quite regardless of the context, he
  throughout his translation rendered the words ‘_canne di
  conterie_’—that is to say, the glass rods from which the beads were
  made—as ‘rails for counting houses’!

Footnote 135:

  The term ‘bead’ was early transferred from the ‘bid’ or prayer to the
  small spherical bodies strung on a cord by which these prayers were
  counted, and before the end of the fourteenth century the word was
  already used in a secular sense also.

Footnote 136:

  These _canne_ are described as ‘_de vero [vetro] commun, Christallini
  et colorade de diversi sorti_.’

Footnote 137:

  Note in this connection the recent discovery of ‘chevron’ beads at
  Treviso, referred to below.

Footnote 138:

  Something like the apparatus used for roasting coffee, it would seem.
  I do not attempt to give any explanation of the two rival
  processes—_a spiedo_ (on a broach or spit) and _a ferracia_. That
  attempted by Mr. Nesbitt (_South Kensington Glass_, p. civ.) is not

Footnote 139:

  It is not, I think, generally known that beads were made in the east
  of London, early in the last century, by this process—by dropping
  off the glass upon a revolving spit or rod of iron (Hartshorne, p.

Footnote 140:

  According to Dr. Petrie’s interpretation (see above, Chapter II.). It
  is difficult to understand how the elaborate beads found in Etruscan
  and Greek tombs—those with satyr masks especially—were built up
  without the use of the blow-pipe.

Footnote 141:

  Now preserved in the local museum at Treviso, where I lately had an
  opportunity of examining them. Nothing was found with them except a
  few small rods of coloured glass. It has been suggested that this was
  a contraband store, at some time destroyed by fire; but the fragments
  are in no case fused together. This parti-coloured glass, we may
  note, would be of little value for ‘cullet,’ and defective beads
  would therefore be thrown away.

Footnote 142:

  A fine specimen has found its way into the collection of Egyptian
  antiquities in the British Museum.

Footnote 143:

  The term ‘Aggri’ should, perhaps, be reserved for large beads, of
  which the colours extend right through the mass, but the term is not
  very definitely used in the African trade.

Footnote 144:

  Some of this enamelled glass no doubt dates from the early years of
  the next century. On the other hand, some of the thin white glass of
  capricious forms described in the next chapter may have been made
  before the year 1500. Apart from the generally vague ground of shape
  and style of decoration, there is no means of fixing the date of
  Venetian glass, so that in the absence of costumed figures or of
  coats of arms we are often very much in the dark on this point.

Footnote 145:

  I have seen, however, in a fourteenth-century manuscript, glasses
  with well developed stems carefully depicted.

Footnote 146:

  It was on the strength of the armour borne by this figure that M.
  Labarte attributed this cup to the early part of the fifteenth
  century. I may note that this goblet, as well as the one of green
  glass mentioned below, was bought in Italy for a small sum by M.
  Debruge Duménil, one of the earliest systematic collectors of
  Venetian glass. The elaborate catalogue of his collection, made very
  shortly after his death in 1847, by his son-in-law Jules Labarte, is
  a valuable record of the Italian art of the Renaissance.

Footnote 147:

  James Howell, _Epistolæ Ho-elianæ_.

Footnote 148:

  This vessel appears to be sometimes filled, not with water, but with
  moist sand or earth.

Footnote 149:

  In the Louvre, the nymph of Giorgione’s ‘Fête Champêtre’ holds a jug
  of glass of graceful form over the well to the left, and in Titian’s
  ‘Supper at Emmaus’ in the same gallery, the twisting lines that
  surround a decanter with tall neck and handles, suggest a decoration
  with _latticinio_.

Footnote 150:

  The quotation is from the Appendix to Vicenzo Cervio’s _Il
  Trinciante_, Venice, 1593.

Footnote 151:

  ‘_Ma quando particolarmente se voglion’ far vetri bianchi di smalto
  vi s’aggiunge calcina di stagno e questo si chiama latticinio del
  quale si fanno opere diverse sopra i vasi di christallo_’ (Garzoni,
  _Piazza Universale_, 1585, p. 550).

Footnote 152:

  But in the earlier writers this name is given rather to the
  imitations of agate—what was afterwards known as _schmelz_ (cf. p.

Footnote 153:

  A similar effect is obtained nowadays by means of a salt of uranium,
  but as is so often the case in the modern handling of old decorative
  systems, the opalescence is generally overdone.

Footnote 154:

  Laborde, _Les Émaux au Louvre_, Part II. No. 498, and the same
  author’s _Les Ducs de Bourgogne_ (Archives of Lille).

Footnote 155:

  In the museum at Murano is, or was, a similar plaque thus described
  by Zanetti, ‘_Una grossa piastra col busto incavato del Doge Andrea
  Gritti fra le initiali A. G._; _secolo XVI._’ (_Il Museo
  Civico-Vetrario di Murano_, 1881).

Footnote 156:

  By the eighteenth century, however, they had adopted the German
  system. The President De Brosses, in one of the admirable letters
  that he wrote from Italy (1739), when describing the manufacture of
  mirrors at Murano, gives a vivid account of the cylinder process.

Footnote 157:

  Not really steel, of course, but a kind of speculum metal containing
  about one part of tin to two of copper. Fioravanti, in his _Specchio
  di Scientia Universale_, tells us that this _acciaio_ was made of
  equal parts of brass and tin. He contrasts the German and Italian
  methods of preparation of glass mirrors, giving the preference to the
  former. Fioravanti then speaks of the interest taken in these
  mirrors—not by women only—and after balancing the pros and cons, he
  concludes that, on the whole—‘_gli specchi son’ mala cosa nelle

Footnote 158:

  A word that must not be confused with the term _luse_ or _lustro_,
  applied by the Venetians to a mirror.

Footnote 159:

  There is a magnificent chandelier of this class in the drawing-room
  of Mr. Beaumont’s house in Piccadilly. It dates probably from the
  early years of the eighteenth century.

Footnote 160:

  ‘_Notizia delle opere d’arte._’ I quote at second-hand, as I have not
  been able to find a copy of this work.

Footnote 161:

  The learned Cardanus, physician, mathematician, and astrologer, has a
  section on glass both in his _De Subtilitate_ (1551) and in the
  somewhat later _De Varietate Rerum_. He is often quoted as an
  authority on the subject by contemporary and later writers, but in
  spite of many quaint and ingenious reflections I can find little of
  practical value in his remarks.

Footnote 162:

  Not to be confounded, says the writer, with the stone known as
  Magnese, found ‘_nella Magna_’ (Allemania or Germany). ‘Quite other
  are the virtues of this stone [magnetic oxide of iron?] when placed
  under your pillow, ...’ but for the context I must refer the reader
  to the sixty-ninth section of the original work.

Footnote 163:

  In the fourth section of the second treatise the author speaks of
  ‘_azurro della Magna del quale si tinge il vetro_.’ There is also a
  section at the end of the first book on the preparation of _azurro
  fine_ from _pietro d’azurro ultramarino_, but I do not think that
  this has anything to do with the colouring of glass, as it is
  associated with recipes for dyeing grey hair of a blonde colour and
  for preparing the _acqua virgine_ by which the face is rendered
  beautiful. It is difficult to understand what relation the _Acqua di
  Philoseophy_ (_sic_—there are several sections so headed at the end
  of the treatise) has with the preparation of glass. But all these old
  formulists are only too ready to run off at a tangent to discuss
  questions of alchemy.

Footnote 164:

  In spite of what Milanesi says in his introduction, I strongly
  suspect this third treatise to be of a later date than the others;
  the whole tone of it seems to smack more of the _cinquecento_ than of
  the previous century. At the same time it is inferior to the two
  preceding treatises in practical knowledge—indeed it contains much

Footnote 165:

  See above, p. 174, for an account of L’Altare.

Footnote 166:

  But much the same might be said of the potter’s art; in this case,
  however, the artistic history is far more continuous and
  inter-connected than in the case of glass.

Footnote 167:

  It is not less interesting to hear, in a letter (dated 1572) from the
  governor of Poitou, of ‘_Fabian_ Salviate, _escuyer, gentilhomme de
  Myrane, païs de Venize, venuz lui et sa famille, en ce païs de
  Poictou pour praticquer l’art de la Verrerie_.’ Cf. p. 214. But this
  is perhaps an accidental coincidence.

Footnote 168:

  This bed of sand extends eastward through the forest of
  Fontainebleau, and at the present day it is this sand of
  Fontainebleau that the glass-makers of Murano, when they can afford
  it, use in preference to all other sources of silica.

Footnote 169:

  Truguet, _Les Cris de Paris_—no date, but soon after 1600. _Verre de
  pierre_ we may compare to our expression ‘flint’ or ‘pebble glass.’
  It has been altered to _verre de bière_ by a recent French writer on
  glass, who quotes the cry!

Footnote 170:

  It was a Ferro who, as far back as the fourteenth century, taught the
  glass-workers at L’Altare the Venetian methods of making glass. The
  glass industry of Provence has at the present day been almost
  monopolized by the French branch of this family.

Footnote 171:

  In the west also, René, who we must remember was head of the house of
  Anjou, in consideration of the ‘_gentilesse et noblesse qui est
  l’ouvrage de verrerie, et que aussi c’est le bien du pays et de la
  chose publique_,’ granted permission for the foundation of
  glass-works among the forests of La Vendée, with rights of cutting
  wood ‘_au lieu le moins dommaigeable_’ (Gerspach, p. 196).

Footnote 172:

  At this time—in the sixteenth and early seventeenth
  century—Lorraine was not yet an integral part of France. It formed
  part of the Holy Roman Empire, while its trade connections were
  rather with the Netherlands and with Italy. See below for the
  distinction between _Verres de France_ and _Verres de Lorraine_.

Footnote 173:

  The Abbé Boutellier has made a special study of the Nivernais glass,
  but I have not had an opportunity of seeing his _Histoire des
  Gentilshommes verriers et de la Verrerie de Nevers_.

Footnote 174:

  In distinction from the _Verre en tables quarrées_ made in Lorraine.
  I am unable to say whether the latter was at so early a date made by
  the cylinder process, but the square shape renders this very likely.

Footnote 175:

  Among the documents relating to glass, collected by the Baron
  Davillier, was the report of the commission of inquiry appointed by
  Philip II. at the time (about 1560) when it was proposed to glaze the
  many thousand windows of the Escurial. Samples were sent from the
  glass-works of Spain, Burgundy, Lorraine, and Normandy. The Norman
  glass was declared to be the purest. (Quoted by Gerspach, p. 304.)

Footnote 176:

  These _canons_, I think, correspond to the Italian _canni_, the glass
  rods from which beads were made. We hear of these _canons_ being
  supplied to the _Pâternostriers_, who take the place in France of the
  _Suppialumi_ of Venice.

Footnote 177:

  It seems to me, however, very doubtful whether flint-glass was at
  this time necessarily _glass of lead_. I return to the point in the
  chapter on English glass.

Footnote 178:

  I use the term Bohemian, here as elsewhere, for brevity’s sake. The
  more correct expression would be—the frontier lands of Germany and
  Bohemia. This will be made clear in the following chapter.

Footnote 179:

  So in the important collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at
  Brussels, especially strong in examples of ‘winged’ beakers, little
  attempt is made to separate the Venetian from the home-made specimens.

Footnote 180:

  Attributed to the painter known as ‘The Master of the Death of the
  Virgin.’ In other works of this painter, who was working during the
  first thirty or forty years of the sixteenth century, we find
  examples of _cristallo_ of large size and advanced technique.

Footnote 181:

  I do not know why this essentially Teutonic form is described in the
  official catalogue as a ‘Venetian green glass goblet.’

Footnote 182:

  Riaño, _The Industrial Arts of Spain_. The little that we know, on
  the documentary side, of Spanish glass is derived for the most part
  from this work, one of the South Kensington handbooks. This may be
  supplemented by the information collected shortly before his death by
  the Baron Charles Davillier, which has filtered out through various
  channels; some of it may be found in M. Gerspach’s work on glass (pp.
  100-105). M. Schuermans also has not forgotten Spain in his records
  of the wandering Italian glass-makers (_Bulletin_ xxix., pp. 133-147).

Footnote 183:

  In 1324 the glass-makers were ordered to remove their furnaces from
  the inside of the town (Riaño, p. 234).

Footnote 184:

  A surviving vessel of this shape, as well as some examples taken from
  pictures by Bouts and by the so-called Mostaert, is illustrated by
  Mr. Hartshorne (_Old English Glasses_, p. 64). Other similar bowls
  were to be found in the Thewald collection (dispersed at Cologne,
  October 1903): in Germany such vessels are known as _halbe
  Wurzelbecher_. The form was imitated also at Venice, as we may see in
  a bowl, in this case duplicated, in the Waddesdon Room in the British

Footnote 185:

  Quite a number of little vessels of this dark green glass, ornamented
  with prunts and quillings of various forms, have been dredged up from
  the Scheldt at Antwerp, or found in the excavation of new docks. They
  may be studied in the museum now established in the Steen.

Footnote 186:

  The term prunt should perhaps be restricted to those cases where the
  ‘blob’ is sufficiently large and hot to melt away the subjacent
  glass. When this is not the case, unless we adopt the German word
  _Warze_ or wart, the term ‘stud’ applies better. If again the ‘blob’
  of hot glass is merely dropped on the surface it may be termed a

Footnote 187:

  Every art, he says, must adapt itself to the country where it is
  practised; and so we Germans have set all kinds of knobs and rings on
  our glasses, so that they may be somewhat stronger and more lasting,
  and be more easily held in the hands of fuddled and clumsy folk
  (‘_von vollen und ungeschicklichen Leuten_’). This quotation is from
  one of the Lutheran pastor’s ‘sermons’ on glass (see below, p. 262).
  Mathesius lived in what has been called ‘the classical age of German
  thirst,’ and was ever ready to gird at the failings of his
  contemporaries in this respect.

Footnote 188:

  The seventeenth-century _roemer_ has been revived in Germany of late,
  and at Ehrenfeld, near Cologne, this form, as well as other old
  models, is skilfully if somewhat mechanically copied in both
  bottle-green and bluish-green glass.

Footnote 189:

  This later arrangement is well seen in a still-life piece in the
  Jones collection, signed ‘J. W. Preyer, 1854.’ Compare the carefully
  painted _roemer_ in this picture—the solid foot wound round with a
  thin stringing—with the seventeenth-century glass in the picture by
  Jan van de Velde referred to below.

Footnote 190:

  Already in the fifteenth century the _vitra Veneciana_ are
  distinguished from the _Vitrum silvestrum sive montanum_, otherwise

Footnote 191:

  For this district we have in the excellent work of E. von
  Czihak—_Schlesische Gläser_, Breslau, 1891—a better source of
  information than is available for any other of the glass-making
  centres of Germany or Bohemia.

Footnote 192:

  Published by Froben at Bâle in 1556; the dedication, however, is
  dated 1551.

Footnote 193:

  So Agricola states in the very last paragraph of his book. As this
  passage seems to have been sometimes misinterpreted, I will quote it
  in full from the original Latin edition. He mentions the various
  shapes that glass may be made to assume, and continues:—

  ‘_Qualia opera multa praeclara et admiranda cum quondam biennio
  agerem Venetiis contemplatus sum; in primis verò anniversariis diebus
  festis ascensionis domenicae cùm venalia essent apportata Murano; ubi
  vitrariae officinae omnium celeberrimae sunt: quas vidi cum aliâs,
  tum maxime cum certis de causis Andream Naugerium in aedibus, quas
  ibi habebat, uno cum Francisco Asulano convenerim._’

  From this passage it would appear that there was a great sale of
  Muranese glass in Venice on the feast of the Ascension (cf. above, p.
  216). Is this Naugerius, at whose house at Murano Agricola visited,
  to be identified with the famous poet and orator Andrea Navagero,
  from whose travels in Spain I have quoted on page 249?

Footnote 194:

  _Sarepta oder Bergpostil_, Nürnberg, 1562.

Footnote 195:

  In a contemporary vocabulary _ritzle_ is interpreted as ‘_aurum quo
  tingitur vitrum rubro colore_.’ In a passage on Venetian glass in his
  early work, _De Naturâ Fossilium_ (1546), Agricola speaks of the use
  of gold to colour glass of the ruddy colour of the carbuncle.

Footnote 196:

  I quote this passage, as it is much more to the point as regards
  German glass than what is to be found in Agricola, who gives us
  rather his theories as to the materials used by the Venetians to make
  their _cristallo_.

Footnote 197:

  A separate muffle-stove for this purpose was, it would thus appear,
  not yet available.

Footnote 198:

  This part of the decoration we may indeed regard as a survival of the
  Venetian influence that was dominant in the middle of the sixteenth
  century. Of this I have already spoken.

Footnote 199:

  This flower, the _Mai-glöcklein_, is frequently seen on German
  enamelled glass, and is the more conspicuous as it is almost the only
  flower realistically treated. I may note that M. Schuermans would
  appear to regard the presence of these _tiges de muguet_, executed in
  enamel, as essentially a sign of Low Country origin; they are,
  however, frequently accompanied by inscriptions in German.

Footnote 200:

  Notice to the heraldic right of the birds’ heads a shield bearing a
  cross and the inscription _Potestat zu Rom_.

Footnote 201:

  On a small _humpen_, or rather _kanne_, of this class in the British
  Museum, dated 1611, we find only three secular electors—those of
  Saxony, the Palatinate, and Brandenburg; the place of the fourth
  (Bohemia) is occupied by the imperial eagle.

Footnote 202:

  Herr von Czihak mentions that he has seen in the museum of Freiberg,
  in Saxony, a covered _humpen, painted in oil-colours_, protected
  apparently with some kind of lacquer. The glass is dark green, and
  the Gothic character both of the metal cover and of the painting
  points to a date not later than 1500. The subject, according to a
  quaint inscription, has relation to ‘_Eneaspius der Babst_’ (the Pope
  Pius II., 1458-1464), and to the ‘_Roemischer Kaiser Friderich der
  dritt_’ (_Schlesische Gläser_, p. 101).

Footnote 203:

  What Mathesius states is, ‘The white [_i.e._ colourless] glasses have
  now become common over which white threads of white colour are
  carried; these glasses are made in Silesia.’ Herr von Czihak (p. 96)
  says that he has seen many such glasses of somewhat rude make in that
  province. It will be remembered that some of the _vetro di trina_
  made at Murano is also only superficially decorated.

Footnote 204:

  On the other hand, the technique of the cemetery glasses differs
  essentially, as in these the two plates of glass are fused together,
  on the edges at least (p. 92).

Footnote 205:

  We often find similar defects developed on glass lenses. To ensure
  achromatism and accuracy of definition these lenses are built up of
  two layers, one of crown, the other of flint glass, cemented together
  by a varnish.

Footnote 206:

  This art was carried to the highest perfection in Holland by a group
  of cultured amateurs in the seventeenth century (see p. 295).

Footnote 207:

  We hear, it is true, of water-wheels for grinding glass at Schwäbisch
  Grund, in Bavaria, in the second half of the sixteenth century. In
  these mills large beads (perhaps we may think of the chevron beads
  from Murano in this connection) were ground for exportation to the
  Indies by way of Antwerp (Von Czihak, p. 125). I may note that there
  is no reference to the cutting of glass in either Agricola or

Footnote 208:

  It is interesting to compare with this work the carving—identical in
  technique—on reliquaries of rock crystal of Carlovingian date. Of
  these a remarkable example may be seen in the Mediæval Room in the
  British Museum.

Footnote 209:

  The Schatzkammer at Munich is rich in examples of carved rock crystal
  of this period, but I can find few examples of carved glass in it. In
  the Imperial Museum in Vienna may be seen a superb series carved in
  both materials—the finest of these come from the Schatzkammer.

Footnote 210:

  Lehmann died in 1622, and the elder George Schwanhart in 1667.

Footnote 211:

  Compare with this the complaints, made at this time or a little
  later, of the artistic and social decadence of the glass-engravers in
  Bohemia and Silesia (p. 285).

Footnote 212:

  On the early use of hydrofluoric acid I shall have something to say a
  little further on.

Footnote 213:

  This is rendered in the Latin edition ‘_inque illarum exaltatione ad
  magnum ascendit gradum_.’ It should, perhaps, be translated ‘to a
  high pitch of excellence.’

Footnote 214:

  There is an exquisitely engraved covered beaker of this period at
  South Kensington bearing the arms of the Elector of Trèves (Plate

Footnote 215:

  Especially by Doppelmayr in his _Historische Nachricht von der
  Nürnbergischen Mathematicis und Künstlern_, Nürnberg, 1730. A
  pretentious work, written in the Frenchified German of the day, and
  very inferior as an authority to Sandrart.

Footnote 216:

  It was here that was first developed that hybrid type of
  drinking-glass which passed over to England early in the eighteenth
  century. In these glasses the engraved bowl carries us back to
  Germany, and the air or opaque twisted stem to the _vetro di trina_
  of Venice.

Footnote 217:

  Quite early in the eighteenth century we find an account of a process
  by which a gas possessing the property of attacking glass may be made
  by steeping the ‘hesphorus’ or ‘Bohemian emerald’ in spirits of
  nitre. As we are told that this ‘hesphorus’ when heated emits a green
  light, we may safely identify it with fluor-spar (fluoride of

Footnote 218:

  A circular plaque of this character, with a pious inscription, in the
  Germanic Museum at Nuremberg, has been ascribed to Henry Schwanhart.
  It is dated 1686 (reproduced by Gerspach, p. 266).

Footnote 219:

  We must remember that at this time little distinction was drawn
  between the researches of the chemist and the alchemist.

Footnote 220:

  The ruby glass of our old Gothic churches was, however, without
  exception obtained from copper. But the belief that it contained gold
  led in France to the destruction of much of this glass at the time of
  the Revolution.

Footnote 221:

  This book may be best consulted in the French translation, said to be
  by the Baron D’Holbach (Paris, 1752). Here we have in its final form
  the little book of Neri, which has passed through the translator’s
  crucible as many as four times—from Italian to English, then to
  Latin, to German, and finally to French. For there was, too, an
  Amsterdam edition in Latin (1668) which came between the English and
  Kunckel’s version. But, unlike the gold of the alchemist, the work
  really increased in value during these transformations. Several
  curious treatises, in the manner of the time, half alchemistic, half
  scientific, are to be found at the end of the French translation,
  including a rendering into French of Orschall’s _Sol sine Veste_.

Footnote 222:

  The somewhat obscure relations of these two men, Kunckel and
  Orschall, with Cassius, the reputed discoverer of the purple that
  goes by his name (as well as with the son of the latter), is
  explained by Beckmann (_History of Inventions_, vol. i. p. 126).

Footnote 223:

  If in the case of the bottle of ruby glass, with the arms of Saxony
  and the initials J. G., also from the Slade collection (No. 870),
  these letters are to be referred to the Elector John George
  (1656-80), Kunckel must have perfected his invention at an early date.

Footnote 224:

  There is a portrait of her in the National Gallery by Jan Lievens.
  See, for some account of her strange life, the note in the Official
  Catalogue (p. 305). Another supposed portrait of this lady in the
  same collection is by Gerard Dou.

Footnote 225:

  The ‘Beaker with the seasons’ in the British Museum (Plate XLIII.) is
  an example of the more elaborate work of these Dutch designers with
  the diamond. For though the inscription on this glass is in English,
  the decoration is undoubtedly by a member of the school of Roemer
  Vischer. The beaker is dated 1663.

Footnote 226:

  Strictly speaking, the marks on the surface of the glass are rather
  of the nature of short scratches or dashes than true dots.

Footnote 227:

  For this Wolf’s glass, as it is called in Holland, see the catalogue
  of the Rijks Museum. In this Museum, too, a portrait of Greenwood may
  be found.

Footnote 228:

  A more recent work—the _English Table Glasses_, by Mr. Percy
  Bate—is concerned with little else than a minute classification of
  these wine-glasses.

Footnote 229:

  One of the early Lorrainers (see below) speaks of the native glass of
  England as made from _fougère et ronces_.

Footnote 230:

  But it is recorded that a Chiddingfold glass-maker (_à propos_ of the
  introduction of Lorrainers) confessed that he could not make
  window-glass—only ‘mortars, bottles, and orinaux.’ I cannot accept
  the explanation of the last word as ‘water globes placed in front of
  rushlights’ (see _Sussex Glass_, by Charles Dawson, _Antiquary_,
  1905); like the vrynells mentioned above, it came through the French
  from the mediæval Latin _urinalia_. Compare the list of objects given
  on p. 134.

Footnote 231:

  According to the Rev. A. W. C. Hallen (_Scottish Antiquary_, 1893)
  there were four noble stocks of glass-makers in Lorraine. These were
  the families of Hennezel (which claimed a Bohemian descent), of
  Thietry, of Du Thisac, and of Le Houx. So in Normandy we find the
  names of De Bongar, De Caquery, Le Vaillant, and De Brossard.
  Representatives of nearly all these families appear to have come to
  England before the end of the sixteenth century, and their names,
  often strangely corrupted, have been unearthed from parish registers
  and other documents in many parts of England. The Lorrainers, at
  least, seem to have been all of them Calvinists.

Footnote 232:

  There had been an earlier unsuccessful attempt at introducing Italian
  methods, of which I shall have to speak shortly. The Frenchmen do not
  seem to have come into contact with Verzelini, who was at the time
  making Venetian glass in London (see below).

Footnote 233:

  We may, however, probably identify the Antwerp merchant, Jean Carré,
  with the ‘John Carry, M^r of y^e Glashouse,’ who was buried at
  Alford, in Surrey, in 1572.

Footnote 234:

  The history of their wanderings has been pieced together chiefly
  through the researches of Mr. Glazebrook (see his privately printed
  _Collections for the Genealogy of the noble families of De Hennezel,
  etc._, 1877); of Mr. Hallen in the _Scottish Antiquary_, 1893; and of
  Mr. Holmes in the _Antiquary_, 1894.

Footnote 235:

  It is just possible, remembering the many exchanges of presents
  between Henry and Francis, that a part at least of this collection
  may have had some connection with the ‘_quatre cens beaux verres de
  Venise gentillisez des plus jolies gayetez que verriers sçauroient
  inventer_,’ which were in 1532 in the possession of Robertez,
  treasurer to the French king (Nesbitt, _South Kensington Catalogue_,
  p. clix).

Footnote 236:

  For example, in an abortive act brought into the House in 1585, but
  not passed. Quoted by Mr. Hartshorne, p. 159.

Footnote 237:

  A goblet of similar character, with the date 1584, was not long since
  smashed to pieces while on view at a saleroom. Like the goblet
  mentioned in the text, this glass was attributed to Verzelini.

Footnote 238:

  As to the other specimens of Elizabethan glass mentioned by Mr.
  Hartshorne—the chalice-like cup belonging to Mr. Woodruff and the
  tazza now at Windsor—they have doubtless been long in England, but
  there is nothing to prove their English make. They are both
  essentially of forms borrowed from the goldsmith, and like the glass
  dish in the Williams Library at Gordon Square, they may well have
  come from Henry VIII.’s collection.

Footnote 239:

  Although the _Metallum Martis or Iron made from Pitt-coale_ was not
  printed till 1665, Dudley had experimented with coal some time before
  1619. As early as 1612, in a treatise entitled _Metallica_, Simon
  Sturtevant, who had already taken out a patent for making iron with
  pit-coal, states that ‘very lately’ green glass for windows, of good
  quality, had been melted with that material at Winchester House,

Footnote 240:

  The most important of these documents are given in full in the
  Appendix to Mr. Hartshorne’s _English Glasses_.

Footnote 241:

  On the other hand, Howell in a letter dated March 18, 1618, quoted in
  part below, speaks of Mansell as working his patent with ‘My Lord of
  Pembroke and divers others of the prime Lords of the Court.’ He had,
  it would seem, replaced the early adventurers and schemers by men of
  wealth and of influence at court.

Footnote 242:

  Beside the passages quoted above there are many references to glass,
  including an interesting account of Murano, to be found in his
  _Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ_. Howell edited these early letters of his while
  confined (for debt, it would seem) in the prison of the Fleet, at the
  time of the Civil War. We may note among other things a reference to
  a ‘curious sea-chest of glass,’ and again we hear of a lady writing
  to Murano for ‘a complete cupboard of true crystall glass.’

Footnote 243:

  He got this comparison, doubtless, and a good many other stories that
  we find in his Venetian letters, from Garzoni’s _Piazza Universale_,
  or from Fioravanti’s _Specchio_, books most popular at that time,
  from which I have already quoted when speaking of the glass of Murano.

Footnote 244:

  These are little cylindrical vessels for burning tallow. The name
  survives as an equivalent to a night-light.

Footnote 245:

  I am not sure, however, that when at this time the word nitre is
  found we are always justified in understanding by it saltpetre or
  nitrate of potash.

Footnote 246:

  _Greene-Morelli Correspondence_, Sloane MSS. Mr. Hartshorne has
  reproduced eight of these letters (_English Glasses_, Appendix
  xxix.), and has devoted three plates to the reproductions of Greene’s

Footnote 247:

  The same may be said of the treatise on _The Art of Glass_ by
  Haudicquet de Blancourt, of which the English translation appeared in
  1699. There is little or no advance on Merret in this book, and
  nothing is said of the application of lead-glass to hollow ware. An
  interesting plate showing the implements used by the glass-blower
  may, however, be found here.

Footnote 248:

  The term originally corresponded to the _verre à pierres_ of the
  French. It was used in opposition to the ‘green glass’ or _verre de
  fougère_, in the preparation of which sand was used.

Footnote 249:

  The confusion is increased by the fact that on the Continent the term
  ‘cristal’ was now transferred to the lead-glass.

Footnote 250:

  This was the Ravenscroft who took out a patent in 1674, and together
  with an Altarist, a De Costa (the sole representative of that
  Ligurian town, says Mr. Hartshorne, that we meet with in English
  records), made glass from calcined flints, nitre, and borax. There is
  certainly no question of lead in this case.

Footnote 251:

  Mr. Hartshorne, I should add, while acknowledging that there is no
  definite allusion to the use of lead in any document of the
  seventeenth century, traces an indirect reference to it in a patent
  taken out by one Tilson as early as 1663; in this document, however,
  I can find nothing pointing in that direction.

Footnote 252:

  The new financial methods are well illustrated in the quotation from
  Houghton on p. 318.

Footnote 253:

  In this work there are more than a hundred quarto pages devoted to
  the eighteenth-century drinking-glasses. Perhaps of greater interest
  to the ‘average man’ is the information given in the final chapter
  concerning the liquids drunk from these glasses, to say nothing of
  the apt quotations from old letters throwing light on the social
  habits of the time to be found in the notes. Another vast series of
  eighteenth-century glasses, more than seven hundred in number, I
  believe, has been collected by Mr. J. Webb Singer, chiefly in the
  neighbourhood of Bristol. These are well illustrated in a paper by
  Mr. E. Wynn Penny in the _Burlington Magazine_ (Sept. and Nov. 1903).

Footnote 254:

  In the earlier pre-renaissance glasses, the foot was folded over
  _from below upwards_. It was the Venetians who first introduced the
  downward fold of the welted base.

Footnote 255:

  This drawn-out ‘blow,’ or inverted tear, is often found in the stems
  of the solid tavern glass of the first half of the eighteenth century
  (Hartshorne, p. 265).

Footnote 256:

  Mr. Hartshorne, however, thinks that our English workmen, especially
  at Bristol, were capable of turning out opaque-twisted stems as good
  as, if not better than, those made in Holland. On the other hand, the
  stems with interlacing ruby and white threads, so characteristic of
  the latter country, never form part of typical English glasses.

Footnote 257:

  The famous Royal Oak glass, with the portrait of Charles II., now
  belonging to Mr. Festing (Hartshorne, Plate 29), is certainly a case
  in point, whatever may be the origin of the glass itself. But this
  goblet is scratched with a diamond.

Footnote 258:

  The latter inscription refers of course to the famous forty-fifth
  number of Wilkes’s _North Briton_ (April 1763). The ‘No Excise’ may
  be associated with the successful agitation against Walpole’s bill in
  1733-34, or perhaps rather with later protests of the same nature.

Footnote 259:

  For these glasses see especially the twenty-fourth chapter of Mr.
  Hartshorne’s often-quoted work, not neglecting the most interesting

Footnote 260:

  It must be remembered that ‘James III.’ did not die until 1766; his
  ‘reign’ of sixty-five years exceeded that of any other English
  prince. Although most of these Jacobite glasses date from a period
  rather after than before ‘the ’45’ there was still a long interval
  during which the attribution I have suggested would be justified.

Footnote 261:

  This house has remained in the hands of the same family since the
  time it was built by Walter Jones, in the reign of James I.

Footnote 262:

  This period of English glass is not represented in the British
  Museum. It is well illustrated in the collection of Mr. C. E.
  Jerningham, and there are some fine examples among the more
  miscellaneous glass of Mr. FitzHenry now (1906) on view at the
  Victoria and Albert Museum.

Footnote 263:

  I have purposely gone to older works for these technical details,
  that is to say, to works written before the general introduction of
  modern mechanical processes; for example, to Apsley Pellat’s
  _Curiosities of Glass-making_, and to the treatise on glass by Porter
  in Lardner’s series (1832). For the _materials_ used in England in
  the eighteenth century see Dossie’s _Handmaid of the Arts_, 2nd
  edition, 1764.

Footnote 264:

  This is the more strange, as in all the recipes of the time for
  making the white enamel, even in one relating apparently to this very
  Bristol glass, arsenic plays an important part.

Footnote 265:

  Dossie, in his _Handmaid of the Arts_, 2nd ed., 1764, tells us that
  at that time much white opaque glass, in imitation of porcelain, was
  made near London. The glass, he states, was rendered opaque by tin,
  by antimony, or by arsenic. Much of this material was doubtless
  employed for enamelling on metal.

Footnote 266:

  Chardin was a French dealer in precious stones who supplied the Shah
  with European jewels. The materials for the account of Persia from
  which the extract given in the text is taken, were collected during a
  voyage in that country in the years 1671 and 1672. Chardin, who was
  of an old Protestant family, settled later on in England and was
  knighted by Charles II. I quote from the English translation of 1724,
  checking it by the contemporary French edition.

Footnote 267:

  At Vienna, in the Museum for Art and Industry, there is a small
  collection of glass from Hebron. Besides the bangles of opaque glass
  which belong to the old primitive family, there are some small
  vessels of a deep amber-coloured glass similar to that brought from
  Rhodes, and finally a few vases of Persian type of a bluish-green
  metal; among the last group may be found some lamps with glass tubes
  similar to those mentioned in the text.

Footnote 268:

  The miscellaneous beads, found chiefly in the neighbourhood of
  Benares and Cawnpore, are associated for the most part with Buddhist
  remains of the time of the Gupta dynasty, which reigned in Northern
  India shortly before our era, but very few of these beads are of
  glass. Of great interest are the spindle-shaped beads, decorated with
  intersecting lines of enamel—black, grey, or white—on a ground of
  quartz, or sometimes of carnelian. A series of these beads may be
  seen in the ‘Gallery of Religions’ in the British Museum. They are
  described by Mrs. J. R. Rivett-Carnac in the _Journal of Indian Art_,
  vol. ix.

Footnote 269:

  At the Indian Exhibition held at Earl’s Court a few years ago, some
  of these Indian glass-makers were at work in a little hut, and here
  the native processes could be watched.

Footnote 270:

  Through the kindness of Mr. Forrest, ex-Director of Records at the
  India Office, I have been enabled to examine a collection of small
  glass vessels obtained by him in the Kaira district of Guzerat. Among
  them I noticed some graceful little cruet-shaped ewers of a pale
  pinkish glass—the colour apparently obtained from gold—and also
  some glass lamps of rounded conical form similar to those used in

Footnote 271:

  My chief authorities for the early history of Chinese glass are the
  works of Dr. Hirth, especially a paper on the subject in his
  _Chinesische Studien_, and some casual remarks in Dr. Bushell’s
  _Oriental Ceramic Art_. [I have at the last moment been able to add a
  few notes to what I have written, based on the chapter on glass in
  Dr. Bushell’s _Chinese Art_. June 1906.]

Footnote 272:

  Thus we have the statements of the missionaries Ricci and Du Halde,
  in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries respectively, that the
  Chinese made glass. As far back as the twelfth century, the Arab
  writer Edrisi speaks of glass-workers in the Chinese town of Djan-ku,
  wherever that may be.

Footnote 273:

  Dr. Bushell, however, thinks that there is evidence that in the fifth
  century glass of Indo-Scythian origin reached Northern China by way
  of the great trade route through Chinese Turkestan. About the same
  time it was brought from the West, by the sea route, to the southern
  capital (the modern Nanking). The manufacture was at that time
  established in both North and South China, and ‘has been carried on
  with indifferent success ever since’ (_Chinese Art_, vol. ii. pp.

Footnote 274:

  The very absence of native enamelled glass might indeed be used as an
  argument against the otherwise plausible theory that it was from the
  Saracenic glass that the Chinese first learned how to enamel their
  porcelain with fusible colours over the glaze. See on this point my
  book on Porcelain in this series, p. 87. Dr. Bushell mentions ‘the
  recent discovery in mosques of the western provinces of China of a
  number of hanging lamps of characteristic shape, enamelled in
  colours,’ with Arabic motives and script. Some of these have been
  taken to America. _Chinese Art_, vol. ii. p. 69.

Footnote 275:

  Hu succeeded in splitting up the character with which his simple name
  was written into the two ideographs Ku and Yueh, and thereupon
  adopted the more imposing title ‘Chamber of the Ancient Moon.’

Footnote 276:

  This collection is described in the _Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst_,
  vol. xx., in an article on Chinese glass by Herr A. Bapst.

Footnote 277:

  Dr. Bushell hints that such inscriptions may in cases have been added
  by modern curio-dealers in Pekin, as a bait to European collectors.

Footnote 278:

  As arranged now at South Kensington, the carved glass may be compared
  with the companion series in agate and other stones.

Footnote 279:

  Dossie, in his _Handmaid of the Arts_ (2nd ed., 1764), declares that
  there was at the time he was writing a great demand in China for ‘the
  brown Venetian glass with gold-spangles, called the Philosopher’s

Footnote 280:

  The making of glass is still an important industry at Poshan, where
  the native quartz-rock is melted with saltpetre. Window-glass,
  bottles, and lanterns are made, and the clear glass is exported in
  the form of long rods tied up in bundles. Williamson’s _Journeys in
  North China_, vol. i. p. 131.

Footnote 281:

  See, for confirmation of this, the previous note. In China to-day the
  word _liao_ has replaced the older names for glass. For the better
  kinds of work the Shantung glass is worked up at Pekin—this is the
  _Ching liao_. Bushell, _Chinese Art_, vol. ii. p. 63.

Footnote 282:

  I have to thank Professor Church for the results of an analysis of a
  snuff-bottle ‘like nearly white jade or milk-quartz faintly
  greenish.’ It contained lead-oxide, 48·3 per cent.; potash, 8·8 per
  cent.; soda, 1·1 per cent.; and silica, 41·5 per cent. We have here a
  remarkably pure potash-lead glass, for only 0·2 per cent, of alumina
  and iron oxide was found. The specific gravity of this specimen was
  3·8; that of another bottle of clear strong green glass was 3·7.

Footnote 283:

  In some of the Imperial tombs of the sixth and seventh centuries of
  our era glass jars have been found. One of these is described as of
  white glass ornamented with round knobs. In the grave of the Emperor
  Nintoku (fifth century) were found fragments of blue and white glass.
  It is very unlikely that any of this glass was made in Japan.

Footnote 284:

  Now in the British Museum; it is referred to on p. 152.

                          Transcriber's Notes

Dashes used to represent duplicated entries in the Index have been
replaced by the text they represent.

Some presumed printer's errors have been corrected. In particular,
punctuation has been normalized. Spelling in the Index has been
corrected to match the spelling in the main text. Additional
corrections are listed below with the text as printed (top) and the
corrected text (bottom):

      might have have been
      might have been (p. 255)

      of that of European origin three is no need to speak
      of that of European origin there is no need to speak (p. 342)

      Lorraine was was not yet
      Lorraine was not yet (Footnote 172)

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