Different Art of Making Glass

by : rhusain

Let us look into the details of some of the wares that we uses daily and really do not know about their history and uses. Glass, silver, plate, enamels, and metalwork are some of the wares that we are going to look into details. And there are different types of glass and their uses are varied. Here we are going to have a look at these wares and the way they have evolved to the present day.

OF ancient glass probably the best-known example in the world is the Portland Vase in the British Museum; this is composed of a layer of white glass over blue glass, the outer coating skillfully cut into a pattern. More ordinary types of glass dating to Roman times are in the form of small bottles, often called Tear Bottles, which have been excavated and as a result of lengthy burial are covered in iridescence. The Romans mastered the art of making glass of all the types known in later years, and subsequent techniques have been rediscoveries. Considering the centuries that have passed and the delicacy of the material a considerable number of fine specimens has survived, but they are to be seen rarely outside museums.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the art of glass making suffered a decline, but in Persia and other countries of the Near East some good pieces were made between the seventh and eleventh centuries. Later, in Syria some highly decorated articles, notably vases and mosque-lamps were made and specimens of these outstanding works may be seen in the principal museums. At the same time, in Europe low bowls and cups were being made from a greenish or brownish colored glass. A peculiarity of these is that the fitting of a foot to the articles, common enough in Roman times, seldom seems to occur; it would appear that the arts of making a foot and joining it to a vessel had been forgotten.

By the thirteenth century glass making had become a well-established industry in Venice and on the island of Murano, where a large and important export trade was built up rapidly. The Venetians had found how to make a clear glass, cristallo, and were able to produce not only colorless pieces but others of pure gem-like tints. These various types of glass and the skill with which they were fashioned ensured a ready sale, and gave Venice an enduring fame. One of the techniques rediscovered shortly before 1650, lost since Egyptian and Roman times, was the embedding in clear glass of threads of white or colored glass, the former known as latticino; dishes, and other pieces were made with lace-like patterns of mathematical precision. Other types of decoration were with enamels painted on the surface and fired (similar to the painting of chinaware), gilding, and engraving. The white glass used in the making of latticino pieces was used sometimes to make complete pieces; their resemblance to porcelain was recognized and often led to confusion. It is recorded that about 1470 a white glass was the subject of experiments to imitate Chinese porcelain, and as late as 1730 the French scientist, Reaumur, was working on much the same fines.

The Venetian trade declined once the spread of knowledge had enabled glass-works to be set up in other countries, but production continued. Both colored and white glass was made throughout the eighteenth century and later, and chandeliers were introduced. These were often of large size, made of opaque glass tinted in pinks and blues and modeled with flowers, leaves and elaborate scrolls. Mirror-frames were made also in the same style.

Not only was domestic and ornamental glassware developed and exported in quantity by the Venetians, but during the greater part of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries they were the principal makers of mirror-glass and their products were far ahead of those of their imitators. It must be remembered that the making of glass in Venice has been continuous for many hundreds of years, and the same designs have been reproduced there again and again. Many sixteenth and seventeenth-century pieces were copied in Victorian times and more recently, and the collector must guard against these copies as well as against deliberate forgeries.

There has been steady progress in the types of glasses that have evolved since ancient times. The Romans mastered the art of making glass of all the types known in later years, and subsequent techniques have been rediscoveries. The Roman Empire encouraged the glass-making industry but its falls declined the industry. Venice became the centre for making glasses in the thirteenth century.