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This little book has been designed to supply such 
information concerning the history of Ornamental 
Glass as is tikely to be useful to general readers. 
It does not profess to be exhaustive, and a descrip- 
tion of the details of manufacture hardly came 
within its scope. Those who are interested in the 
subject are referred to the chapter on Glass in a 
companion volume to this, entitled " Chemists and 
their Wonders." 

Wherever possible, reference has been made to 
objects that may be seen in one or other of our 
public museums. 

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rFMiE suggestion has been gravely made by one of 
our most learned and enthusiastic historians of 


art that the making of glass originated in 
Fairyland. And in view of the fact that no 
certain origin can be given to this fascinating craft, 
we may be allowed to assume that magic had more to 
do with it than is generally admitted. No one now 
believes Pliny's story of the discovery of glass by 
some Phoenician mariners as they cooked their 
meat upon the sea-shore. The cold light of science 
has proved that glass would not have been formed 
under such conditions, and it is clear from the 
researches of explorers that glass was known to the 
Egyptians long before the Phoenicians were a distinct 

Whence did the Egyptians derive their knowledge ? 
Matter-of-fact historians are still attempting to solve 
that problem, but if we might believe Arab traditions, 
the'fellefl angels of fire, the " Jinn,*' were probably the 



introducers of this and other wonderful arts. To 
them was attributed the building of the Pyramids, 
and one knows what treasures of gold and silver and 
all manner of precious stones were still available to 
them in the days of the " Thousand and One Nights." 
We open a copy of that storehouse of Moslem fancy, 
atid on the very first page may read of the sad genie 
of prodigious stature, bearing on his head a great 
glass box, shut with four locks of fine steel, and of 
how he unlocks it with his four keys, and there steps 
out a lady magnificently apparelled and of great 

From the floating tangle of fairy superstitions, in 
which our forefathers were content to clothe their 
conceptions of supernatural happenings, here and 
there a tangible thread can be drawn out. In many 
places there are legends of magical cups snatched 
from the fairies at the risk of life. Of such a nature 
is the goblet of glass still preserved by the family of 
Musgrave of Edenhall, in Cumberland, and known as 
the " Luck of Edenhall." The story goes that a 
group of fairies dancing round St. Cuthbert's Well 
were surprised by a servant, and, fleeing precipitately, 
left this cup behind. Perceiving their loss, one of 
them returned to claim it, but finding it held fast in 
the intruder's hand, called out as she flew away : 

" If that glass should break or fall, 
Farewell the luck of Edenhall." 

This singular treasure is very jealously guarded, 
and, so far, has suffered no injury, although in 
Uhland*s ballad — familiar to us in Longfellow's transla- 
tion^it is, for poetic purposes, described as broken, 
and the " Luck " vanished. The cup is of clear glass. 

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painted with arabesques in enamel colours, and suggests , 
a Venetian, or possibly Moslem, origin. It has been 
enclosed in a stamped leathern case ever since the 
fifteenth century. 

" A fair Venetian glass of excellence, 
In frail material— geometric lines 
Border a space where foliage intertwines, 
Bright tracery of saffron and of red 
In flowery azure pattern on a pale sea bed." 

Upon the leathern case are the initials I. H. C, and 
these have suggested that the cup at one time had 
been used for sacred purposes. In this there is 
nothing improbable. Crusaders returning from the 
East often brought back with them treasures of 
Saracenic art, and the cup may easily have come into 
the keeping of some hermit dwelling near the holy 

Chalices of glass were objects of mystical wonder 
in the early days of romantic chivalry, and round 
the most famous of all — the "Holy Grail" — have 
gathered very strange and beautiful legends, which 
we may puzzle over in Sir Thomas Malory's romaijcfii 
or read in easier verse in Tennyson's " Idylls of the 
King." Iri Richard Wagner's music-drama of " Par- 
sival," the main interest centres round the Grail and 
its guardians in the Castle of Monsalvat, that " Castle 
in Spain " which no man now may find, seek he ever 
so earnestly, though he may see at Genoa a very 
ancient vessel of glass — Byzantine or older still — 
which for centuries has been known as il Sacro Catino: , 
the sacred dish. 

When we come to study Egyptian glass we shall 
see in how many respects we are indebted to the 
civilisation of ancient Egypt for our arts and^ciences. 

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In the matter of folk-lore, too^a subject of hardly 
less interest to the historian •than more tangible 
records of forgotten peoples — several of our most 
engaging fairy tales can be traced back to Egyptian 
sources. And conspicuous among them is that story 
of perennial interest, " Cinderella and her Glass 
Slippers " It is true that in the Egyptian version the 
slippers are not of glass, and it is an eagle that steals 
one of the dainty jewelled shoes of the Princess 
Rhodope while she is bathing, and it is King 
Psammetichus (b.c. 670— the date is very exactly 
given) whO| when the shoe falls from the sky into his 
lap, desires to see the unknown owner of so fair a 
thing. When Perrault came to write his French 
version of the antique story, the scene is laid in quite 
humble life, and the learned are to this day uncertain 
whether he should have described the slippers as of 
'* verre '* or " vair.'' But does it matter whether they 
were of glass or squirrel-fur ? Glass is more magical 
and impossible ; therefore glass it shall be. Possibly 
the fairy godmother looked into futurity, and foresaw 
that glass-weaving would be an accomplished fact in 
the nineteenth century. Fabrics are now made of 
spun glass, and an enterprising Venetian manufacturer 
is said to turn out bonnets by the thousand trimmed 
with glass cloth, which never wears out, and cannot 
be affected by the worst of atmospheric conditions. 
As to whether, considering the fickleness of fashion, 
ladies would like the idea of a bonnet lasting for ever 
— that is more than can be stated with certainty. 
The Infanta Eulalie of Spain, on her recent trip to 
America, received a novel present from the Libbey 
Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio. It was a gown of 
glass and silk woven together. The silvery sheen 

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produced by the combination is said to be remarkably 
pretty, especially under the rays of artificial light 

A house of glass is now quite within the range of 
possibility. We, long ago, had glass bricks, and tiles, 
and floors. Now we may have table-cloths, napkins, 
and window-curtains of glass, which only require a 
hard brush with soap and water to renew their fresh- 
ness. A further novelty is porous glass to be used 
for window-panes ; it is full of tiny holes, too fine to 
cause a draught, but sufficiently large to ventilate a 
room. Of the great palace of glass, in which the 
first International Exhibition of 185 1 was held, and 
which was afterwards reconstructed at Sydenham, 
the story has often been told. It was the first time 
that glass and iron had been used on such a large 
scale, and was undoubtedly a daring thing to do. 
All the world was astonished by the fairy palace that 
rose so quickly above the lawns of Hyde Park, 
enclosing within its transparent walls the tallest of 
the park trees. The happy thought, first sketched 
out hastily upon a sheet of blotting paper, brought a 
knighthood to Joseph Paxton, once a working 

The idea of rendering glass less brittle has ever 
since antiquity haunted the minds of those unsatis- 
fied mortals we name inventors. So serious is this 
brittleness, especially with the enormous sheets of 
plate-glass now used, which appear to deprive the 
upper floors of our buildings of all support, that Plate 
Glass Insurance Companies are called into existence. 
There is a story that when, some time in the fifteenth 
century, the Emperor Frederick IV. of Germany came 
to Venice, the Doge and Senate proudly presented him 
with a vase of glass as the most worthy treasure they 

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could find. He, however, let it fall, and then remarked 
that glass was very beautiful, especially in the example 
they had kindly presented to him, but it was in one 
respect inferior to silver or gold — it was very fragile. 
The hint was too plain to be ignored ; a vase of 
precious metal was brought forward. 

An inventor in the days of the Roman emperor 
Tiberius claimed to have found a process for rendering 
glass malleable. The story has been thus told : 

"There was once an artist made glass vessels of 
such firmness that you would no more break them 
than gold or silver. This person, having made a cup 
of the finest crystal, and such an one as he thought 
worthy none but Cresar, got admission with his 
present The beauty of the gift and the hand of 
the workman were highly commended, and the zeal 
of the donor kindly received. When the man, that 
he might change the admiration of the court into 
astonishment and ingratiate himself still more in the 
favour of the emperor, begged the cup out of Caesar's 
hand and dashed it against the pavement with such 
vehemence that the most solid and constant metal 
could not escape unhurt, Caesar was both surprised 
and troubled at the action ; but the other, snatching 
the cup from the ground, which was not broke but 
"only a little bulged as if the substance of metal had 
assumed the likeness of glass, drew a hammer out 
of his bosom and very dexterously beat out the 
bruise, as if he had been hammering a brass kettle. 
And now the fellow was wrapped in the third heaven, 
having, as he imagined, got the friendship of Caesar and 
the admiration of all the world; but it happened quite 
contrary to his expectation, for Caesar, asking hinn 
if anyone knew how to make glass malleable besides ' 

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^himself^ and he answering in the negative, the 
emperor commanded his head to be struck off, for, 
said he, if this art be once propagated, gold and silver 
will- be of no more value than dirt." 

That which this unhappy artist is said to have 
achieved has been to some extent accomplished this 
century by M. de la Bastie, who discovered a process 
for hardening glass by immersing it whilst still hot 
in a bath of melted fat. It seems to be difficult of 
application to any but simple shapes, and when 
used for window-glass prevents its being cut with a 
diamond. Similar results are said to be obtained 
by the action of super-heated steam upon the plastic 

The cooling of glass presents very curious phe- 
nomena. Unless it has been very gradual throughout, 
and this is generally obtained by passing the objects 
slowly through an annealing oven, the glass is found 
to have cooled unequally and to be liable to fracture 
owing to the state of tension set up between its 
particles. The glassmakers amuse visitors by making 
what are known as Prince Rupert's Drops, in which 
this peculiarity is very apparent. They drop a small 
quantity of glass into water, and on taking it out, it 
haLs assumed a sort of tadpole shape, with a long thin 
taiL The wide end of the drop will resist a heavy 
blow, and you can hardly mark it with a file or 
diamond. But so much as touch the tail or cut 
through its skin with acid, and the whole thing 
explodes. The gossiping Mr. Pepys records how 
**Mr. Peter did show us the experiment of the 
chymicall glasses, which break all to dust by break- 
ing off a little small end, which is a great mystery 
to me." 

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Hudibras' epigram will be recalled : — 

*^ Honour is like that glassy babble 
That finds philosophers such trouble ; 
Whose least part cracked, the whole doth fly, 
And wits are cracked to find out why." 

The same disposition to fly to pieces will be noticed 
in the suddenly cooled " Bologna Phials." They will 
withstand pressure or blows on the outside, but if a 

grain of sharp sand be dropped 
inside the charm is broken, 
and the glass falls to pieces. 
Strangely enough, this unan- 
nealed glass, if re-heated and 
then allowed to cool gradu- 
ally, will have lost this treach- 
erous quality and will break 
with the clean fracture of 
ordinary glass. 

Here and there in our old 
churches there still survives 
an hour-glass in its orna- 
mental frame. The last to 
be seen in the city of London 
was at St. Albans, Wood 
Street. During the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries^ 
every church had its glass placed on or near to 
the pulpit to warn the preacher of the flight of 
time. The appetite for long sermons was prodigious. 
It is said that Bishop Burnet, preaching once iti 
St. Margaret's, Westminster, before the House of 
Commons, having arrived at the end of his time, 
turned the hour-glass in order to show that he meant 
to continue, and was at once interrupted by tlxe! 

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gratified murmurs of the congregation. The use of 
the sand-glass as a symbol of the passing of time can 
be traced back to Egypt. A half-minute glass is 
used on board ship while casting the log. The glasses 
used by Columbus for a similar purpose were timed 
for half-an-hour. Qiarlemagne is said to have had a 
monster sand-glass which required turning but once 
in twelve tours. In South Kensington Museum there 
is a set of four large sand-glasses in an ornamental 
frame of German work of the sixteenth century. 

From the earliest ages, as we shall see, the eye of 
mankind has been attracted by the effect of the colours 
that certain minerals will give when fused with glass. 
In this art the Egyptians were proficient at an early 
date, and were imitating gems and precious stones 
with success. Of the wonderful glow of colour now 
possible in our windows they perchance had little 
idea. Window-glazing is of northern growth, a^ it 
. was reserved for the Gothic artist to fully develop the 
glorious possibilities of the coloured window. Milton 
could not resist the charm, as the often-quoted lines 
in "II Penseroso" will show: — 

** But let my due feet never fail 
To walk the studious cloister's pale, 
And love the high embow^d roof, 
With antic pillars massy proof, 
And storied windows richly dight. 
Casting a dim religious light." 

Keats in his "Eve of St. Agnes" is quick to 
express with fine extravagance the poetry of the 
window : — 

" A casement high and triple-arch'd there was. 
All garlanded with carven imageries ^ 
Of fruit and flowers and bunches of Isiot-grass, 
And diamonded with panes of quaint device, 

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Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes, 

As are the tiger-moth's deep-damasked wings ; 

And in the midst, ^mong thousand heraldries, 

And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, 

A shielded scutcheon blushed with blood of queens and kings." 

That such a fragile material as glass should still be 
found in many an ancient church, where so many 
changes of taste and chances of fortune have left their 
traces, adds an almost pathetic interest to the few 
examples that remain ; and if one felt inclined to 
moralise, there is in this subject every scope for such 
an unhealthy habit. In the study of any artistic 
handicraft, there is no better opportunity of seizing 
its spirit and feeling than when we can see it in situ, in 
the very place for which it was designed. And this 
is especially the case with window-glass. The impres- 
sive effect of such a glorious shrine as the Abbey of 
St Ouen in Normandy, for example, is due almost 
entirely to its magnificent glass, of a date contemporary 
with the building. If one wants to count the windows, 
the guide will tell you there are one hundred and 
twenty-five, not including the three " rose " windows ; 
and of one of these last he will tell a moving tale. 
The window is known as the " Apprentice's Window," 
and is in the north transept. The master-mason, 
, Alexander Berneval, who had entrusted his pupil with 
the design of it, was so jealous of the youth that he 
slew him. Although apprentices could then be treated 
with a certain amount of rigour, this was too much, 
and Berneval was tried and executed for the murder ; 
but the monks, in consideration of his great services 
to the Church, buried him in consecrated ground, and 
there^ in one of the chapels, master and pupil lie side 
by side. 

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"nnHERE IS no new thing under the sun/' wrote 

I the Preacher long ago. The disillusioned 

X monarch was thinking of far more serious 

issues than would have been suggested by the 

little brightly-coloured vases from the coasts of Tyre 

and Sidon that must have been familiar to his sight. 

For were not many and many of his queens brought 

from Phoenicia, the fabled land of glass-workers ? and 

their scents and spices, their unguents and toilet-dyes, 

were they not stored in dainty glass vases of the 

gayest hues ? 

But the Phoenicians did not invent glass-making, 
although since Pliny's account of their accidental dis- 
covery of glass upon the shore under Mount Carmel, 
it had been the world's story that those wonderful 
old travellers and merchants were the first glass- 

And if we take in our hands a child's glass taw, 
and see how, embedded in the clear glass, there are 
pretty spiral lines of coloured work, we say naturally 
that the idea comes from Venice, where, during the 
Middle Ages, there were most important factories of 
ornamental glass. But the Venetian craftsmen were 
by no means the first to use these methods of com- 

17 B 

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bining in one mass strands of diflferent coloured glass; 
the Romans had long before been most expert workers, 
and wherever the sites of Roman dwellings are. 
unearthed, and the earth carefully sifted, fragments, 
more or less perfect, of the Roman coloured glass, 
are sure to be found. 

Nor were the Romans the inventors. Centuries 
before Rome was a city the workmen of ancient 
Egypt were fabricating the most precious little objects 
in glass of various colours, and every fresh antiquarian 
find in that land of mysteries and marvels reveals 
some new evidence of the extreme antiquity of the 
Egyptian knowledge of the art. 

Mosaics, in patterns formed by pieces of glass or 
glazed material, are looked upon at the present day as 
somewhat of a novelty, and the builder who should 
now line the walls of his vestibule with glass tiles 
counts himself enterprising — nay, almost too adven- 
turous. " There is no new thing under the sun," 
however. The same idea occurred to the builders of 
ancient Egypt, even as early in its long history as the 
sixth dynasty, and at the British Museum we may 
see some small glazed tiles of a green colour that 
were formerly part of a doorway into one of the 
pyramids at Sakkarah. Nearly 6000 years ago those 
little bits of colour were made and fastened up in 
their places to remain there through all the changes 
of empire, until loosened in these later years and 
brought home by our archaeologists. ' 

Six thousand years takes us a long way back into 
history, and yet it would seem certain that glass- 
making was not a new thing then. On monuments 
of the fourth dynasty (which, according to the latest 
historians, lasted from B.C. 3998 to B.C. 3721) glass 

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bottles containing red wine are represented, and it is 
highly improbable that the discovery of glass-blowing 
was at that time very recent. No actual specimens 
of this earliest work are so far known, but in a tomb 
of the fifth dynasty at Sakkarah, glass-blowing is 
represented along with other trades. A better known 
instance is the painting at Beni Hasan, dating from 

Part 1. 



Parti. Olan-blowers. Beni Rattan. 

3. The same. Thebet. 

The glass at the end of the blowpipe ft 6 is cotoured green. 
a is the fire. d a glass bottle. 


the reign of Usertesen I. (2758-2714 B.C.). Here the 
glass-blowers are shown at work, seated in a some- 
what awkward manner before a brazier. Each has a 
bulb of glass (coloured green) on the end of his blow- 
pipe, and the glass is evidently being kept hot by its 
proximity to the fire. In another representation at 
Thebes two men appear to be forming a bottle 

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between them — unless, indeed, the object, which looks 
like an inverted vase as tall as themselves, should 
really be intended for the furnace. Behind them is 
a third workman engaged with his single pipe and 
bulb of glass. 

The oldest extant specimens of glass are, as will be 
seen, Egyptian. It is not yet, however, certain that 
the Egyptian civilisation, ancient though its monu- 
ments prove it to have been, was the first to emerge 
from the mists of the earliest ages, and many eminent 
scholars are prepared to assert that in the plains of 
Chaldea and along the shores of the Persian Gulf we 
must seek for the beginnings of history and the first 
advances beyond the pastoral infancy of man. At a 
very early date, before the pyramids were built in 
Egypt, there was evidently communication by sea 
between Chaldea, Punt (or Arabia Felix), Egypt, and 
Sinai. The early kings of Chaldea obtained their 
wood from the valley of the Nile, and used the hard 
stone from the peninsula of Sinai for their statues, 
and Egyptian legends make the gods Hathor and Ra 
come from Punt, the "land of the gods." Some 
sculptures of a prehistoric era, found by Professor 
Petrie at Koptos, and representing, although very 
rudely, one of the early kings of This, named Min, 
have some surface carvings of shells, saw-fish, ostrich, 
and elephant. These would serve to prove that the 
race came from the vicinity of the Red Sea. Koptos 
itself, a city of very ancient foundation, is at the Nile 
end of one of the oldest trade routes in the world, 
and one by which caravans still travel to the port of 
Kosseir on the Red Sea. 

Whatever the origin of the Egyptian civilisation 
may have been, that it was singularly forward and 

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complete even in the days of monarchs of the 
earliest mythical dynasties must be quite certain. 
Many centuries of growing knowledge must have 
elapsed before the fourth dynasty appeared on the 
scene. Geometry and astronomy were by that time 
already known ; the decimal system of numbers and 
the division of the year into twelve months and 365 
days were in use ; of chemistry there must have been 
some idea ; medicine and anatomy were familiar. 
Architecture revelled in gigantic tasks ; the great 
pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops) employed 100,000 men 
in the building, and contains more stone than any 
other single erection in the world, stone that was all 
brought from the opposite bank of the Nile, and 
squared, levelled and fitted with an accuracy that it 
would be difficult to imitate at the present day, even 
with the aid of our perfect instruments. The sculptors 
possessed a skill of characterisation that render their 
works of the greatest possible interest, and that was 
not improved upon during all the long ages that 
followed. In the gentler arts, music already employed 
the harp, flute, and the peculiarly national instrument, 
the sistrum. The blow-pipe, saw, adze, chisel, balance, 
lever, plough, potter's wheel and kiln were all in use, 
and, as we have already seen, glass and glazed 

With the name of Menes, the first king of the first 
dynasty, all the ancient chronological lists begin. He 
is on the borderland between myth and actuality. 
He is said to have removed the seat of government 
from This, to have marched northward down the 
valley of the Nile, and to have founded Memphis and 
the temple of Ptah (one of the numerous names under 
which the sun was worshipped). The date assigned 

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for his reign is about 4750 B.C. No monuments of 
his erection now exist, although the embanked course 
of the Nile near his city of Memphis is said to be due 
to his engineering. Among the ruins of the city 
were found two beads of blue glass attached to a gold 
necklace stamped with the name of Menes. 

The beautiful turquoise glass of which these beads 
are made is therefore probably the oldest in the 
world. Blue seems to have been at all times the 
favourite colour of the Egyptians. Sneferu, the first 
king of the fourth dynasty (B.C. 3998), is known to 
have conquered the peninsula of Sinai with its 
valuable mines of copper and turquoise. The 
Egyptians were from quite early times able to imitate 
in glass the colours of turquoise, lapis-lazuli and other 
precious stones. The blue glass was used both to 
form solid ornaments and decorative objects, and also 
in the form of a glaze or coating for objects made in 
other substances. Such was — and this principally — 
the siliceous pottery known generally as Egyptian 
porcelain of which thousands of specimens, exist in 
our collections. Shelf after shelf, and caseafter case, 
in the British Museum is full of this blue glazed ware, 
and very bright and effective the colour, is. There 
are some bangles lying with the relics of Queen 
Hatshepset (B.C. 1600), that present the purest and 
most vivid of blue tints. And hardly less interesting 
in the same case, is a portion of a draught-board with 
alternate squares of ivory and blue glazed ware and 
one of the draughtsmen, the sole victor in the last 
game ever fought on that board — a little cone of clear 
blue glass of just the shape familiar to us as a 
" muller " for grinding artists* colours. The Egyptian 
artists were sufficiently acquainted with the capa- 

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bilities of this glazing to be able to coat vases 
and scarabs of steatite with it There is for instance 
in the British Museum such a vase inscribed with the 
name of Thothmes I. (b.c. 1516), while near it is a 
large steatite scarab glazed in green that was taken 
from the mummy of Thothmes III. (B.C. 1449) and 
has upon it a representation of the king kneeling in 
adoration and holding in his right hand the whip 
emblematic of sovereignty ; behind the king is the 
inscription : " Triumphant before the gods." Bearing 
the name of the same Thothmes III. we see a pretty 
little jug about three and a-half inches high, of a light 
greenish blue glass ; it has decorations upon it very 
freely drawn in what appear to be enamel colours or 
glasses. Part of this decoration, apparently consists 
of a skeleton feather, but the learned declare that this 
is a "sacred tree," a synibolic ornament that was 
largely used in Phoenician and Assyrian ornament. 
It is drawn in yellow, and there are bands of yellow 
on the mouth and foot of the jug, and lines of yellow, 
white and black (or dark blue), on the little handle. 
This is a very interesting relic of the early days of 
glass decoration. 

A little ornament in the Slade collection at the 
British Museum is far older than this vase of 
Thothmes III. It is in the form of a lion's (or 
panther's) head, not much more than half-an-inch 
across. The colour is now a nondescript dark olive 
green, but the substance was originally an opaque 
blue glass. On the flattened underside of the charm 
are hieroglyphics with the name of Antef of the 
eleventh dynasty (about B.C. 2850). This monarch's 
tomb is at Thebes, in Upper Egypt, and it was here 
that this glass relic was discovered. 

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Considerably older than the last is a cylinder of 
clear glass about three inches high, inscribed with the 
name of Pepy IL of the sixth dynasty (about 3443 to 
3348 B.cO. 

Of the relics of this monarch's long reign which 
began when he was six years old one very curious 
inscription may be mentioned, although, it is true, it 
has no particular connection with the subject of 
glass. On the front of a tomb in the cliffs at 
Aswan, in Upper Egypt, are carved records of an 
official named Herkhuf Various expeditions are 
mentioned, with the amount of tribute acquired in 
incense, ebony, skins, elephant's teeth, and so on. 
These had taken place under the king Merenra, 
Pepy*s brother. Then comes a letter from little king 
Pepy himself, and dated in his second year, expressing 
his delight that Herkhuf was returning from an 
expedition in peace, with all his soldiers, and with 
good tribute, and with a wonderful dancer named 
Deng, from the Land of Spirits {i,e. Punt) — possibly 
a religious dancer. And his little majesty orders 
that when the Deng travels, attendants shall watch 
him that he fall not in the water, and shall keep him 
in sight during sleep that he run not away, for his 
majesty loves to see this Deng more than all other 
tribute. If he is brought home safe and sound, his 
captor Herkhuf shall be most highly honoured, and 
all provisions and necessaries will be supplied him 
while on his way to the court. And the grave 
captain has his little king's letter carved there in 
stone.* That was more than 5000 years ago. 

Those ancient Egyptians were fond of simple 

* Flinders Petrie, '* History of Egypt," vol. i. 

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pleasures. Jt is almost pathetic to look at the cases 
of toys at the British Museum, for most of these little 
things have been found in tombs or among the 
wrappings of the mummied remains of the dead. 
Space does not avail to deal at length with the 
funeral customs of the Egyptians, but we must allude 
to the strong belief in the immortality of the soul, 
and of its ultimate return to reinhabit the body. 
This belief led to the adoption of elaborate methods 
of embalming, and to the placing with the dead body 
of foods, toilet materials, articles of furniture or 
personal decoration, toys — anything and everything 
connected with its former life. With the rich, the 
mummy wrappings and coffin cases were choicely 
decorated, the sarcophagus — often a huge hollowed 
block of granite — covered with carved figures, and 
the walls of the tomb or mortuary chamber decorated 
with paintings of scenes in the life of the occupant. 
That these should not be disturbed, the chamber was 
often hidden and built up very carefully, so that 
discovery should be impossible. For the highest in 
the land, great pyramid mounds of brick and stone 
were piled over the sepulchres, and the passages by 
which the mourners retired were closed by great 
portcullises of stone. Long ago, however, many of 
these secret places were rifled. Tunnels into the 
pyramids laboriously driven by our modern explorers 
would often reveal that the secret had been solved 
centuries before, and that everything of value had 
perhaps been removed. In some cases, later monarchs 
have been found to have mutilated the records of their 
predecessors, and appropriated their belongings, often 
placing fresh inscriptions across the older ones. 

Among the miscellaneous wreckage from these 




tombs, the toys and beads should be noticed. We 
can here do little more than allude to those in which 
glass is used. The beads are of the greatest possible 
interest; many of them are of the opaque mixed 
glasses worked in patterns, the colours of which go 
entirely through the object as in the Phoenician and 
Roman glass of much later periods. Many of the 
beads are of large size ; others again are so tiny as to 
be strung on threads to make a mop of hair for a 
doll's he^d. The dolls are grotesque ; a favourite 
shape is a flat board suggesting a battledore or a 
large bowlless spoon ; generally the legs are non- 
existent. One amusing little model (in the British 
Museum) is of a cat with glass eyes, and a moveable 
lower jaw which could be made to wag up and down 
in a ferocious manner by pulling a string passed 
through the top of the head. 

Other beads are in transparent glass, and these are 
often combined with ornaments carved in precious 
stones, such as carnelians, amethysts, and garnets. At 
South Kensington Museum is a portion of a mummy 
wrapping in bead work in the shape of a sacred beetle 
or scarab ; the beads are small and closely strung 
together in the fashion of the bead-mats worked by 
our grandmothers. 

Then there are some absurdly ugly little masks 
in moulded glass — these are almost Japanese in feel- 
ing, and with those, to be seen at the British Museum, 
is a larger one, about two inches high, of rather later 
date. This used to be in the Castellani collection, 
and is quite charmingly grotesque. It has a white 
face, a very prominent nose, big discs for its eyes, and 
the curls on its forehead and the curled beard are 
iridescent through age. 

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• Some of the shapes made in glass for inlaying in 
wood are of the greatest beauty and finish of work- 
manship. The coffins and- mummy cases painted 
with portraits were often finished with inlaid faces, 
hands, feet, wigs, beards, and other details in glass. 
There is at the British Museum, among numerous 
similar specimens, a little hand, not more than one 
inch in length, from Tell-el-Amarna ; it is of blue 
glass and, notwithstanding its small scale, most deli- 
cately modelled. Near it is a fragment of wooden 
framing about ten inches square, which shows how 
these glass details were introduced. It probably 
formed part of a sepulchral tablet, and represents one 
seated and two standing figures. All the parts of the 
design intended for flesh had been inlaid with glass, 
but most of this has disappeared, leaving the channel 
empty into which it had been inserted ; the female 
figure on the left, now headless, still has dainty blue 
hands and feet, and short detached lengths of a lotus 
sceptre. Pectoral tablets were also frequently used, 
and these are often inlaid with glass. The colour 
effect of these little jewelled ornaments is, in some 
cases, surprisingly fine. The colour of one of the 
large scarabs, bearing the name of Sheshonk III. 
(of the 22nd dynasty), is worth gloating over; the 
blue seems to glisten like the blue of heaven. 

Of personal ornaments worn by the Egyptians, the 
examples are not so numerous or so important. The 
necklaces especially are modest in size and materials. 
Many at the British Museum are of glass, or of glass 
mingled with carved stones, but all on a tiny scale, 
the little beads or moulded ornaments being almost 
too small to see. A few finger rings in blue, brown, 
and white glass have been found — plain hoop rings 

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without ornament On the other hand, ornaments 
of greater cost were worn. Some of the work in gold 
shows great skill on the part of the old workers. The 
British Museum has a gold ring with an inset bezel of 
glass, in which is inlaid a human-headed hawk. This 
is considered to be one of the finest pieces of glass- 
work in the Egyptian collection. 

The famous jewellery of Queen Aah-hotep (dating 
about 1500 B.C.) contains some glass-work, in the 
form of inlays of glass enamels. One of the relics 
is a small diadem of gold of peculiar form, bearing 
upon its circlet two sphinxes, and between them a 
sort of box. There seems to be a want of connec- 
tion between these features and their support, and 
the design is to this extent not wholly pleasing, but 
the workmanship is admitted to be admirable. On 
the lid of the box is the name in hieroglyphics of 
King Aahmes, " the Son of the Sun, Aahmes, living 
for ever and ever," inscribed in gold on a ground of 
lapis-lazuli. The sides of the box — it is oval in form 
— are covered with a small chequer ornament formed 
of red and blue glass triangles set in gold. A similar 
decoration beautified the handle of a dagger, this 
portion being otherwise, of carved cedar wood over- 
laid with gold ; the blade is of solid gold, and down 
either side of it is a narrow band of hieroglyphics 
and ornament inlaid in bright blue. Among these 
again occur the name and titles of Aahmes, while a 
lion chasing a bull and four locusts or grasshoppers 
allude to the king's prowess and achievements. 

These valuable objects formed part of one of the 
most interesting " finds " in modern exploration. In 
the valley of the tombs of the Kings, near Thebes, 
is a vast necropolis that has been for centuries past 

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^ — iT^yr-^r 


a hunting-ground for the spoiler, and many are the 
burial places that have been rudely entered and 
desecrated. Fragments of mummy-cases lie around 
to witness to the rough and ready way of disposing 
of what could not conveniently be carried off by 
thieves. Exploration in Egypt has not always been 
conducted with the care and knowledge that are 
now devoted to the task, and when in the spring of 
1859, at a depth of several feet, a remarkably large 
mummy-case was found, it was not anticipated that 
anything very wonderful would be revealed. It was 
evident that the coffin was not originally deposited 
there, for the elaborate decorations and gilding were in 
immediate contact with the surrounding soil. It is con- 
jectured that, thousands of years ago, the custodians 
of the royal tomb, no doubt fearing it would be entered 
and rifled during the warlike times that followed the 
queen's death, had secretly removed the coffin, placed 
within it a miscellaneous collection of valuables, some 
being taken from the coffin of her son, Karnes, and 
had buried the whole again in an unmarked spot. 

For when, at last, under the watchful eyes of 
M. Mariette, the eminent archaeologist, who was 
superintending the explorations at that time, the 
huge coffin was opened, a unique treasure was dis- 
closed. Within there lay the mummy of a famous 
queen, and in the wrappings of linen that surrounded 
her remains were found all kinds of objects of 
gold and silver; among them were the diadem 
and poniard we have already described. Other 
objects besides these bore the name of Aahmes, 
such as a gold axe, a scarab, and three bracelets, 
while a gold model of a galley mounted on wheels 
bore the name of Kames. The collection is now one 

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seh, 1 

of the attractions of the Egyptian Museum at Ghizeh, 
and is extremely interesting as throwing light upon 
the history of the great war of independence, by 
which the rule of the Shepherd or Hyksos kings was 
broken down after more than 500 years of usurpation. 
Josephus identified the Hyksos dynasties as Jews, 
and patriotically enlarges upon such details of their 
story as were known to him. But it is now proved 
that he was mistaken, and that the story of the Jews 
in Egypt does not correspond in time with the rule 
of the Hyksos. Queen Aah-hotep lived a long life. 
Her husband, Sekenenra, the tributary prince of the 
Southern kingdom, had refused to pay tribute to the 
bullying Hyksos king, and the war of liberation 
began. Sekenenra was killed in battle, and brought 
home to Thebes to be buried. He was succeeded by 
Kames, he by Sekhentnebra, and he by Aahmes, all 
three being sons of the queen by a first husband. 
Aahmes (the Amasis of the Greeks) succeeded in 
driving the Hyksos northward, capturing their strong- 
holds, and, after a few final flickers of insurrection, 
entirely expelling them from Egypt. Hence the 
meaning of the lion chasing the bull depicted on the 
poniard found with the remains of his mother — he 
was "The Lion among the Shepherds/' And the 
four locusts typified the irresistible way in which he 
marched over and devastated the enemy's country. 
The queen lived on twenty years or more after the 
death of Aahmes, and saw her grandson, Amen- 
hotep, and great-grandson, Thothmes I., come to the 
throne and win great honour and wealth in foreign 
conquests. But the weapons and ornaments inscribed 
with her son's name were evidently her greatest 
treasures, and they were buried with her. 

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We have occupied almost too much space in thus 
mentioning the historic significance of these relics of 
ancient Egyptian art. But if we can here and there 
discern the human feeling underlying the art, and the 
human associations connected with these fragments 
of past history so strangely preserved through thou- 
sands of years, our studies will be, doubtless, more 
attractive than if we merely catalogue the objects on 
our museum shelves. 

And who were the artists who thus excelled in 
their craft so long ago? For the most part they, are 
nameless. We may imagine the little workshop with 
its clay-built walls and charcoal furnace ; the few and 
simple tools, the few lumps of vitreous pastes 
compounded and coloured in accordance with a 
jealously guarded recipe originally emanating from 
the wise priests of the ancient worship, and we can 
try to realise the quiet delight with which the deli- 
cately-wrought ornaments were slowly brought to 
completion. Strange to say, there is a record of a 
master-artist named Mertisen, who, during the reign 
of Mentuhoiep III. (about 2800 B.C.), carved his story 
in stone. He thus describes his skill. "I know," 
he says, " the mystery of the Divine Word, an artist 
skilled in his art. I know what belongs to it ; the 
sinking waters, the weighings done for the reckoning 
of accounts, how to produce the forms of going forth 
and returning, so that the limb may go to its place. 
I know the walking of the image of man, the carriage 
of a woman, the two arms of Horus, the twelve 
circles of the injurious (the hours during the night), 
the contemplating the eye without an equal which 
affrights the wicked, the poising of the arm to bring 
the hippopotamus low, the going of the runner. 

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I know the making of amulets which enable us to go 
without the fire giving its flame on us, or without the 
flood washing us away. No one succeeds in it but 
I alone, and the eldest son of my body. God has 
decreed him to excel in it, and I have seen the per- 
fections of his hands in the work of chief artist in 
every kind of precious stones, of gold and silver, of 
ivory and ebony/' Mertisen was evidently an "all- 
round man," and the quiet conviction expressed in 
"No one succeeds in it but I alone, and my eldest 
son " is nalfve and delightful. 

Until within the last two or three years the 
treasure of Queen Aah-hotep remained unparalleled. 
But in 1894-95, ^ French archaeologist, M. de Morgan, 
in the course of systematic explorations around and 
under the pyramids at Dahshur, near Memphis, the 
ancient capital, came across a store of wonderful 
jewellery belonging to some princesses of the twelfth 
dynasty (about 2650 B.C.). Although many of the 
pyramids there had been defaced, and secret mauso- 
leums rifled by the foreign Hyksos invaders, yet these 
caskets had remained undiscovered by them. We 
have not space to describe the objects at length, but the 
extraordinary workmanship — most minutely perfect — 
of the crowns, diadems, necklaces, pectorals, and other 
ornaments belonging to the royal ladies Sat-hathor, 
Nub-hotep, Khumit, and others long forgotten, carries 
back to an earlier date than was hitherto suspected 
the skill of the old goldsmiths. Their interest for us lies 
in the fact that many of the objects are in a kind of 
cloi5onn<S enamel ; minute filigree work of gold has 
been filled in with coloured precious stones or opaque 
glass enamels. But everything is so bewilderingly 
tiny in scale. How could the work have been done 

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Without the aid of magnifying glasses ? And yet it 
is not known that the Egyptians were acquainted with 

It used to be thought that the invention of 
clear transparent glass came comparatively late in 
the story of the Egyptian art, and it is true that but 
few old examples of it are known. Most of the 
oldest work is in opaque glass pastes or enamels. 
However, a bead of clear white glass has recently 
been found at Deir el Bahri, bearing the name of 
Senmut, the chief architect and favoured official of 
Queen Hatshepset (whose draught-board we have al- 
ready mentioned). The queen's nephew, Thothmes III. 
( 1 503-1449 B.C), is celebrated for his mighty cam- 
paigns and conquests, and for the great activity in 
building which took place during his reign. His 
frequent expeditions to Syria and Phoenicia, the 
tribute levied, and the prisoners taken led to a 
gradual modification of Egyptian art, language, and 
customs. A Semitic influence became strongly 
apparent ; types of ornament and design that had 
existed from the times of the twelfth dynasty were 
now put aside, and new ideas came in. Even the 
racial characteristics began to change ; wives, even 
for the kings, were found among the Syrian peoples. 
More grace and expression are found in the sculp- 
tured and painted memorials ; a lighter touch is 
everywhere seen. The allurements of Phoenician 
luxury began to undermine the traditional strength 

* At the Loan Exhibition of Enamels, held at the Burlington Arts 
Club, June, 1897, a tray of jewellery of the same age and workmanship 
as that just described, was lent by Rev. W. Macgr^or This was 
very interesting, especially as so few specimens are known elsewhere 
than in the Egyptian state collections. 


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of Egyptian life and art, and in a comparatively 
short time, genuine Egyptian 
and native ideals no longer 
existed. As in so many 
other instances, the decay of 
a national art is contempo- 
raneous with the decay of 
national character. 

Marking the intimate con- 
nection that from the time 
of Thothmes III. onwards 
existed between Egypt and 
Syria, we find a class of pro- 
ductions in glass of which 
large numbers exist in public 
and private collections. The 
designs are largely of one 
kind, although infinitely 
varied in colour; they con- 
sist of repeated parallel zig- 
zag or waved lines and bands 
in strongly contrasted colours. 
The most prevalent tone is 
the . deep blue, always a 
favourite colour in Egypt. 
These markings are not on 
the surface only ; they pene- 
trate some distance into the 
thickness of the glass. The 
general mode of manufacture 
seems to have been this : the 
body, of one colour — all these 
glasses are opaque — has been 
moulded round a core, or else blown into a mould ; 

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while still hot, threads of other colours have been 
laid on the surface, pressed down and combed to 
and fro ; the whole has been well fused together, 
and the irregular surface ground down and polished. 
The shapes in which this work is generally found 
are not numerous ; there are the alabastron, the 
amphora, the ceno- 
choe, etc. — shapes 
very similar to those 
used in Greek pottery. 
They were evidently 
used for containing 
perfumes and oils for 
the toilet. The alaba- 
stron was so named 
from the frequent 
occurrence of the 
same form in alabas- 
ter, a natural material 
known evidently from 
the earliest times ; it 
has a long cylindrical 
outline like a phial. 
Of amphorae, there are 
occasional variations 
of form ; some with 
feet, others with none 
at all, so that the 
vessel must either lie 
on its side or be carried by its little loop handles. 
The cenochoi were little jugs with shaped lips. Less 
frequent than these are the toilet bottles in the form 
of an Egyptian column, a slightly tapering body with 
a turned out lip. These appear to have been used for 



containing stibium, or kohl, a substance in great 
demand in the East for staining the eyelids or 
darkening the eyebrows. Some have been found 
with the pencils or rods of glass or hematite still 
inside them by which the kohl was applied. 

From the wide area over which examples of these 
dainty glass articles are found, they used to be con- 
sidered as of either Greek or Roman manufacture. 
But they are most certainly of earlier date. Possibly 
a large number are of Phoenician make, copied or 
suggested by Egyptian originals, and their wide dis- 
tribution was no doubt due to the business instincts 
of the Phoenician traders. These astute merchants 
and colonisers of antiquity do not seem to have 
originated very much ; they were rather successful 
exploiters and " middlemen " than artists. Although 
clever enough to have simplified the cumbrous 
Egyptian system of hieroglyphics into a handy and 
workmanlike alphabet, they used it merely for business 
purposes, and have left no literature of value. It is 
very unlikely that their claim to the invention of glass 
can be substantiated. As we have seen, the art was 
known in Egypt long before the Phoenicians came 
into prominence, and it is possible that the legend 
arose from the accidental circumstance that suitable 
sand was found on the shore under Mount Carmel 
by a party of merchants who knew already what 
beautiful work was being accomplished by Egyptian 
artists. However that may be, the Phoenicians found 
that the sand at several places along their narrow 
strip of territory was eminently suitable for glass- 
making, and from the capital, Sidon, especially, large 
quantities of glass must have been forwarded to all 
parts of the then known world. All kinds of glass 

u,y,uz.d by Google 


were produced ; of clear colourless glass more use 
seems to have been made than in Egypt, and it is 
spoken of by Pliny in connection with mirrors; in 
the coloured transparent glass we find beads and 
imitations of gems, vases, and amphorae of great 
beauty. Opaque glass was occasionally used for 
statuary and small models. 

The Phoenician effects of colour are well known. 
Blue is still in the predominance — a deep transparent 
blue. Sometimes the body of the vase was in other 
colours — buff, white, or fawn, and rarely green and 
red. The lines upon the surface — sometimes few in 
number, sometimes covering the whole form — are in 
white, yellow, and light blue, and the freedom and 
"go" of the half accidental zigzag markings are 
always very pleasant. For the most part, the colours 
are as bright as when the pieces were made, but 
occasionally where the glass has been in contact with 
the earth, there is some amount of iridescence. This, 
of course, is a result not foreseen by the maker, yet it 
is none the less beautiful and indescribable. You can 
make a list of the tints, but they will convey no idea 
of the mysterious and spectral light reflected from the 
surface. One little vase at the British Museum is — 
but this is not scientific language — " a perfect dream ;*' 
imagine a delicate combination of white, pale silver, 
pink, and gold, with glimpses of dark blue showing 

The greater number of these " Phoenician " bottles 
have been found in Greek tombs throughout Greece 
and the colonies; Sardinia, Melos, Ruvo, Ionian Isles, 
Camirus (Rhodes), Etruria — these are some of the 
widely separated spots in which they occur. Although 
numerous, good specimens are valuable; one little 

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vase of blue, white, and yellow, in the South Kensing- 
ton Museum, not two and a-half inches high, was 
bought for £$0. 

Confirming the Egyptian origin of this kind of 
glass, are some specimens of Egyptian earthenware 
at the British Museum, dated B.C 1700-1500, actually 
painted and glazed to imitate variegated glass and the 
veinings of marble. Very poor they look, it is true ; 
the glaze has nearly vanished, and the painted lines 
and bands are clumsily done, 6ut there was obviously 
an original that suggested them. 

Among the rubbish heaps investigated by Mr. Petrie 
at Tell-el-Amarna have been found numerous frag- 
ments of coloured glass ; almost all of it is striped 
and variegated in the " Phoenician " style. And here- 
by hangs a tale. Tell-el-Amarna is the site of the 
deserted city of Khuenaten built by Amenhotep IV. 
( 1 383-1 365 B.C.). Only within the last few years 
has it been known what delightful works of art lay 
hidden there. Professor Petrie found under only a 
foot or two of earth the stucco floor of a large 
hall painted with water-pools, plants, and animals in^ 
very spirited and freely drawn manner. Jars were 
dug up with remarkable outline sketches of animals 
upon them. Extensive use had been made of glazed 
inlays for the walls and column capitals; green glazed 
tiles imitating reeds were built up to form other 
columns ; some of the lotus flowers in pale blue and 
green may be seen in the British Museum. A dado, 
200 feet long, of glazed tiles painted with thistle, 
daisy, fig and other plants in their natural growths, 
extended along one side of a hall. All this work 
was in a style quite foreign to the formerly existing 
Egyptian work, and a great advance upon it in the 



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direction of naturalism. So far as is known, however, 
there are no other examples than these at Tell-el- 
Amarna. No permanent impress had been made by 
them on Egyptian art. 

Here is another strange thing. At Tell-el-Amarna 
was found a hoard of terra-cotta tablets stamped with 
cuneiform characters ; little rounded slabs of a form 
not dissimilar to a cigar-case. When the natives dug 
them up a few years ago, nobody paid much attention 
to them, and many were lost. When at last it was 
recognised that to find cuneiform characters — the 
characteristic Assyrian writing — in Egypt was out of 
the common way of discoveries, all that were left of 
these tablets were eagerly collected, and having been 
deciphered, now explain many uncertainties in the 
story of the declining power of Egypt They proved 
to be letters that had been deposited in " the place 
of the records of the palace of the king," and were 
from governors of distant provinces and kings in 
various tributary relations to the king of Egypt. 
Early in the series there are several tablets from 
Dushratta, king of Mitanni, to Amenhotep III., send- 
ing presents of gold, crystal beads, amulets, horses, 
chariots, and so on, and arranging for a matrimonial 
alliance between their houses. Amenhotep had, it 
seems, sent to the king of Mitanni for a daughter 
to be mistress of Egypt (/.^., wife to the prince 
of Egypt). Already, Dushratta's sister, Tyi, was 
one of the royal wives. Eventually a daughter, 
Tadukhipa, is sent down to Egypt, and is married to 
the prince, who, not long after, comes to the throne as 
Amenhotep IV. Shortly after his accession he sud- 
denly left Thebes, the old capital, changed his style of 
dress, discarded the old state religion, adopted the wor? 

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ship of Aten, called himself by a new name, Akhenaten, 
and began to build a new capital called Khuenaten. 
The very name of Amen (the chief deity at Thebes) 
was proscribed, and a pure worship of the sun, Adon 
or Aten, as the source of all energy, was inculcated. 
The great hymn to the Aten — one of the monuments 
of Egyptian literature — is thought to be by the king 
himself. In the royal sculptures the king and queen 
are shown worshipping the sun above them ; from it 
proceed long rays, each terminating in a hand. These 
hands surround the royal figures as if supporting them 
—a truly graphic although naXve way of indicating the 
king's reliance upon Divine aid and guidance. The 
old polytheism was no longer to be tolerated — there 
was to be only the one god, the living Aten — and 
" living in truth " was to be the keynote of 

It is significant that truth and realism certainly 
distinguish the art of Tell-el-Amarna. The floor 
paintings, the columns painted with creeping plants 
evince a direct study of Nature, in marked contrast to 
the hide-bound Egyptian convention that had for 
many centuries repressed all individuality. 

To whom was this artistic impulse due, and this 
sudden conversion of the king? The painted halls 
we have mentioned were in the queen's court or harem. 
The queen was, we remember, of northern lineage, 
from Mitanni in Syria. Her father's sister had pre- 
ceded her into Egypt, and become the queen of 
Amenhotep, a queen exercising the most powerful 
influence^ and governing the land as regent during 
the minority of her son. To her, in this capacity, 
Dushratta addresses his cuneiform letters. From 
Syria, therefore, evidently came the new ideas which 

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~ir:^-:^-'>f^ ' 


were as a breath of fresh air in the close atmosphere 
of Egyptian art and philosophy. 

And now, perhaps, we can see the interest that 
attaches to the little tray of ornamental glass in the 
British Museum, that bears a label, " Found in the 
rubbish heaps at Tell-el-Amama." They record for 
us the Syrian influence exerted by the Syrian queens. 
Many presents had been sent to Egypt with them, 
and doubtless many ingenious craftsmen had followed 
in their train. While the negotiations were going on 
for the younger queen, we read that her father sent 
to the Egyptian king a "gold goblet set with 
crystals ; a necklace of twenty crystal beads and 
nineteen of gold, in the middle a crystal cased in 
gold ; a necklace of forty-two khulalu stones and forty 
gold beads,'' etc. Portraits of both have been pre- 
served ; both ladies have a striking and characteristic 
expression, and of the queen of Akhenaten, a most 
beautiful fragment of a statue is known, which, 
although indicating only nose and mouth, is full of 
vitality and grace. 

The king reigned for about twelve years after his 
sudden adoption of the Aten worship. Twelve years 
after his death, a new king, Tut-ankh-aten, came to 
the throne, and although as son-in-law, one would 
have expected him to have had some sympathy with 
Akhenaten's ideals, he reverted to the old form of 
religion, altered his name to Tut-ankh-amen, and the 
dismantling of the palaces at Khuenaten began. With 
his successor, Horemreb, all traces of Aten-worship 
were swept aw^, the sacred name was erased wherever 
possible, and the temple buildings demolished. 

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OF the connections of the Hebrews with the 
Egyptians on the one hand, and the Syrians 
or Phoenicians on the other, we gain a few 
glimpses in dealing with their use of glass and 
glazed work. The enforced labour of the Israelites 
at the close of their sojourn in the land of Goshen 
was utilised in the erection of treasure-cities for the 
great Rameses. One of the sun-dried bricks — quite 
possibly made by some fainting Israelite — stamped 
while moist with the hieroglyph of Rameses IL, can be 
seen in the British Museum. And not far from it we 
can see a large collection of glazed tiles with the name 
of the same monarch; these were brought from 
Tell-el-Yahddiyyeh (the ancient Vicus Judaeorum), 
where they formed the ornaments of the palace walls. 
Rameses had made great conquests ; he had overrun 
all the countries within reach, had penetrated as far 
as the Orontes, and had fought a great battle under 
the walls of Kadesh, the capital of the Hittites. It is 
therefore natural to find among these wall tiles 
representations of many captives from Asia and Africa. 
They are drawn with surprising spirit ; the modelling 
in low relief is helped by the method of filling in the 
garments, backgrounds, and inscriptions in coloured 

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glasses and enamels. Some of the decorative work 
representing flowers and fruits is still very fine in 

The Israelites escaped from their bondage and 
occupied the land of Canaan, the inhabitants of which, 
having long been harried by Egyptians from the south, 
and by Hittites from the north, were in no position to 
resist their steady advance. The wanderings in the 
desert, however, and the unsettled state of the land 
for many years, could not have been conducive to the 
cultivation of any of the gentler arts, and it is not till 
King David's time and the building of Jerusalem, 
"the City of Peace," that we hear of luxurious furnish- 
ings of temples and palaces and the cultivation of 
decorative work. Under Solomon, the kingdom of 
Judah quickly reached its most glorious pinnacle. 
The king's sway extended from Egypt to the Eu- 
phrates, and commerce was carried on with Phoenicia, 
Arabia, India, and the isles of the East Indies. With 
Hiram, King of Tyre, he had the most friendly 
relations. In return for corn, wine, and oil, Hiram 
gave him abundance of cedar wood, and lent him 
cunning workmen. The fleets of the two kings 
ranged the seas together, and all the riches of the 
world were harvested. 

Naturally enough the glories of Solomon furnished 
matter for the wonder, speculation, and inventiveness 
of later Jewish times. Details, more or less true, in 
amplification of the Bible descriptions, are to be found 
in many writers. The Koran states that the floor 
of the court before the king's palace was of clear 
glass laid over running water, in which fish might be 
seen alive. And it is possible that the wonder-seeking 

Queen of Sheba thought that they were real waters 


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and gathered up her garments about her. It is 
curious to notice in this connection the similar notion 
of an aquatic floor at the Egyptian palace of 
Khuenaten — due, as we have seen, to Phoenician 
influence. A pavement of glass or crystal would 
seem to have always presented some attraction to the 
Eastern mind ; even the Apostle John (Revelation 
iv. 6) makes use of the picturesque idea. 

We know the sequel to King Solomon's magnifi- 
cence. The king's heart went astray, and he 
worshipped with unclean rites the strange gods of 
his seven hundred wives. The kingdom was divided; 
the great empire fell to pieces, and only five years 
after Solomon's death, Shishak, king of Egypt, 
captured Jerusalem and took away all the treasures 
of the temple and palaces, even to the shields of gold. 
Of this Shishak (or Shashank in Egyptian wording) 
there is in the British Museum a gold ring holding a 
glazed steatite scarab inscribed with his name. There 
may also be seen scarabs belonging to Shabaka, the 
" So, king of Egypt,*' to whom Hoshea, king of 
Israel, sent messengers, and who was defeated by 
Sargon of Assyria ; to Tirhakah, contemporary of 
Hezekiah, king of Judah, both being threatened by 
Sennacherib, whose son, Esarhaddon, and grandson, 
Assurbanipal, inflicted serious defeats on the Egypt- 
ians ; and to Psammetichus, founder of the twenty- 
sixth dynasty, in whose time art and prosperity 
revived in Egypt, and Greeks and other foreigners 
were encouraged to settle there. 

The name of Sargon, king of Assyria (B.C 722-705), 
whom we have just mentioned, is found upon a small 
glass vase now in the British Museum. It is about 
four inches high, and has two little projections or ears 

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on the shoulder. Upon one side of it are engraved a 
lion and some cuneiform characters mentioning the 
king's name. The vase was originally of trans- 
parent greenish glass, but is now almost opaque with 
decay. The surface has a pretty green and silver 
iridescence. It is of rather heavy make, having been 


evidently blown almost solid, and the interior taken 
out by a lathe. It was found in the north-west 
palace at Nineveh, and is an interesting memorial of 
the Assyrian king who conquered Samaria and took 
away into captivity the last of the Israelites. Other 
Assyrian glass objects placed with this are unnamed 

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but fully as interesting. Five thick glass bowls are 
of the same age as the vase ; all are much discoloured 
by mould, but one seems to have indications of the 
peculiar ornamental effect of fine spiral lines embedded 
in the substance, which was afterwards to be known 
as vitro di trina. It is possible that this one really is 
of later date and of Roman manufacture, for there was 
in later times a Roman colony, Niniva ClaudiopoHs, 
upon the same site. 

Buried under a quantity of fragments of beautiful 
blue glass Mr. Layard found at Nineveh a little 
object that appears to have been a lens. It has one 
face concave and one plain, but is so discoloured . 
as to be useless for experiments. Some antiquaries 
see in it an early specimen of a magnifying or burning 
glass. Others say it is not a lens and is not made of 
glass. We can examine it for ourselves at the British 
Museum and decide the question. It is difficult to 
believe that the terra-cotta tablets stamped with 
microscopically small cuneiform characters could have 
been worked without the aid of a magnifying glass. 

As large quantities of glazed and enamelled bricks 
have been found in the ruins of the Assyrian cities, it 
must be assumed that the knowledge of glass-making 
was fairly advanced in that country. Blue, white, 
yellow, black, brown, green, and red, are among the 
colours used. Some of the bricks were evidently 
fired on their backs, for the melted enamel has run 
down the sides. Over some of them there are con- 
tinuous patterns, the ornament outlined in white and 
filled in with pale blue, green, and yellow. The 
violent destruction that came upon most of the 
Assyrian palaces will account for so few portable 
objects having been preserved, and it is not surprising 



that SO little glass has been found. What has escaped 
the hand of the destroyer time has dealt lovingly with, 
and the most trivial fragment, long buried in the soil, 
and now sifted out by the explorer, will glow with 
strange tints of iridescence. 

Glass of later times than the Assyrian kingdom has 
been discovered in the soil above the ruins of the 
palaces. Some is of the Greek period (B.C. 300-100) ; 
the few pieces at the British Museum include one or 
two of opaque glass in Phoenician style, the rest are 
in clear glass, vividly iridescent Other specimens 
are quite evidently of Roman period, and of these a 
fragment of a ribbed dish is, thanks to dame Nature, 
of superlatively beautiful colour. The iridescence has 
spread out over a greenish body colour most lovely 
splashes of orange and greenish gold. One may be 
quite safe in admiring these masterpieces of Nature's 
colouring, nor need one fear that the effects will ever 
become too common. They, fortunately, cannot be 
imitated by hand, and no glass-worker will want to 
wait a few hundred years while his buried glass is 
being matured. 

The sister-kingdom of Babylonia was very similar 
to that of Assyria in its knowledge of the arts. 
Glazed bricks were used, indicating of course some 
acquaintance with the materials for glass-making. 
The Tower of the Seven Planets, built about 600 B.C. 
by Nebuchadnezzar II., and brought to light by 
Sir Henry Rawlinson in excavating the mound of 
Birs Nimroud, was built in stages or platforms, each 
being faced with bricks glazed in different colours 
symbolical of the planets, greenish-grey, blue, yellow, 
pink, red, and black. A white enamel is also found 
-to have been used in Babylonia as in Assyria ; in 

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both cases it was made with tin, possibly obtained 
from the Phoenician merchants who, we know, brought 
some of their supplies from Britain, an island which 
was at that time on the farthest bounds of the known 
world. Nothing but fragments, so far, of Babylonian 
glass are mentioned by explorers. Layard, in describ- 
ing Hillah, the village on the site of old Babylon, 
says : " On all sides fragments of glass, marble, 
pottery, and inscribed bricks, are mingled with that 
peculiar nitrous and blanched soil which renders the 
site of Babylon a naked and a hideous waste.'* 

The Persian Empire that rose upon the wreck 
of the Babylonian carried on the traditions of its 
decorative arts. The palaces built by Darius and 
Artaxerxes at Susa (the Shushan of the Book of 
Esther) must have presented a magnificent spectacle 
of colour. The walls were faced with enamelled 
bricks, and the floors had pavements of porphyry, 
marble, alabaster, and stone of blue colour. The 
excavations made by M. Dieulafoy upon the site in 
1884-86 brought to light very remarkable remains of 
this enamelled faience, and certain portions were 
brought home to the Louvre ; a coloured cast of the 
celebrated " frieze of archers '* has recently been set 
up in the Persian Court at South Kensington Museum, 
and will serve to give us an idea of the coloured 
enamels in use at that time. Among some hundreds 
of smaller valuables found in the debris, such as 
engraved rollers, coins, vases, weapons, and so on, 
were numerous " tear-bottles " — little club-like vessels 
of glass, no doubt originally used for scents and 
ointments. [Why are these ancient glass flasks so 
often called tear-bottles ? Is it suggested by David's 
" Put Thou my tears into Thy bottle " ? (Psalm Ivi. 8).} 

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It is recorded of Xerxes (the Ahasuerus of the 
Book of Esther) that in the course of his journeyings 
he found the monument of Belus, and, opening it, 
discovered therein a coffin of glass in which were the 
remains of the mythical Belus or Baal, the god of the 
Phoenicians. This is only one of the stories connected 
with the sacred river Belus, a chief source of the sand 
that led to the celebrity of the Phoenician glass-work. 
A Latin historian wrote that " the river though it has 
a beach of only 500 paces has always been an inex- 
haustible mine for glass-workers. Between Ptolemais 
and Tyre the beach is covered with particles of sand 
of which they make white glass ; they pretend this 
glass will not melt on the river, but only turns into 
glass when it reaches Sidon.'* Other writers speak 
of the sand or of objects buried in it, changing 
into glass on the beach. Our redoubtable traveller, 
Sir J. Maundeville, in 1322, speaks of the sand still 
being used : " Men comen fro fer watre by shippes 
and be londe with cartes, to fetchen of that gravelle." 
And if the rabbis are to be believed, Moses knew all 
about this wonderful river when, in blessing Zebulun 
and Issachar, he said that "they shall suck of the 
abundance of the seas and of treasures hid in the 
sand^' (Deut. xxxiii. 18, 19), meaning obviously ^/^.yj. 
Moses from his upbringing in the Egyptian court 
must certainly have been familiar with the Phoenician 

Not very far inland from the sandy shore lies 
Nazareth, and here in tombs have been found 
quantities of ancient glass. Numerous examples are 
to be seen in the glass collection of the British 
Museum, and will repay examination. There are 
bottles, flasks, bowls, and cups, mostly in clear glass, 


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■ vs ^' ■ 

colourless or green, occasionally yellow. Some have 
a pattern trickled on in blue, or little handles in that 
colour. Some pieces are in the form of double bottles 
with looped handles ; these were used to contain 
stibium, and in one there is still the pencil with 
which the stain was applied to the eyes of some fair 
one long ago dead and gone. There are also some 
fragile twisted glass bangles or large rings. Most of 
this Nazarene glass has acquired by age a delicate 
pearly iridescence, and possibly dates back to Roman 
times. Captain Warren in " Underground Jerusalem " 
writes: "Glass has been manufactured at Hebron 
since very early times, and though there are so few 
references to it in the Bible, our excavations attest it 
was in use at a very early date, and most common 
during the Roman period. We found broken pieces 
of glass among pottery at many of the old ruins of 
Gaza, Askalon, Tell Jema, Ashdod, and other places." 
The traveller Burckhardt also mentions Hebron as 
the centre of the modern glass industry, producing 
beads which had a sale throughout southern Syria, 
Egypt, and Arabia. Captain Warren states that the 
sand used at Hebron does not come from the seashore 
but is found inland. 

Egyptian, Phoenician, and Persian were alike 
mastered by the Greek, and to Alexander the Great 
fell all the riches of the world. Babylon, Susa, and 
Persepolis opened their gates to him ; Damascus and 
all the cities of Syria and Palestine submitted except- 
ing Gaza and Tyre, which only fell after long and 
savage sieges. Egypt, enfeebled by its struggles 
with Persia, readily welcomed the victonous Greek, 
and the new city of Alexandria commemorated his 
name. Here he was buried in a golden coffin, and 

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■ I 


divine honours were paid to the conqueror who could 
conquer all men but himself, closing his short and 
brilliant career in an inglorious drinking-bout. 

Under his successors, the Ptolemies, Alexandria 
became, next to Rome and Antioch, the most magni- 
ficent city in the world. With its famous library of 
manuscripts — destined to be partly destroyed 600 
years later by a mob of fanatic Christians, and 
entirely so 250 years after by the Arabs — it was the 
resort of all the scholars of antiquity, and Greek 
learning and literature brought refinement to a city 
that from its favourable position soon became the 
centre of the world's commerce. 

Here quickly congregated clever workmen in all 
the arts to minister to the luxurious tastes of the rich, 
and among them must have been numerous Egyptian 
and Phoenician glass-workers. The Alexandrian glass 
was largely exported, and workmen from that city 
probably carried the secrets of manufacture to Rome, 
which was afterwards to be so celebrated for its glass. 
Some writers indeed attribute many of the elaborate 
examples of Roman glass — such work, for instance, 
as is found in the Portland Vase — not to Rome at all, 
but to Alexandria. As late as the time of Aurelian 
(died A.D. 27s) a tribute of glass was exacted from 
Egypt. Strabo the geographer, who lived about the 
time of Christ, was told by the glass-makers at 
Alexandria that the many coloured wares for which 
they were famous could not be made without a 
certain earth found in Egypt. It is easy to imagine 
that the works of art emanating from such a busy 
centre would combine the ingenuity and workmanship 
of the Egyptian with the passion for colour of the 
Phoenician and Persian, and that both would be 

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controlled by the innate taste and refinement of the 

Conspicuous as is Greece in the history of pottery, 
its vases at their best periods presenting an ideal in 
form and decoration that has in its way never since 
been excelled or approached, it is singular that the 
Greek artist does not hold a similar supremacy in the 
story of glass-making. There is, strangely enough, 
no specially distinctive style of Greek glass. As we 
have already said, large quantities of the Phoenician 
striped work are found everywhere on Grecian soil 
and in the countries round the Mediterranean, and 
its shapes are very often quite Greek in feeling. But 
most students of the matter do not think that it is of 
Greek manufacture. The glaze found on Greek 
pottery is not of a glassy nature, and the rich colour 
effects that contemporaneously were in use in Persia 
find no counterpart in Greece. In their incomparable 
pottery, the Greek artists contented themselves with 
beautiful form and drawing, and seem to have left 
colour to other nations. 

Glass, indeed, does not appear to have been known 
to the early Greeks. Homer does not mention it 
Aristophanes (450 B.C.) speaks of the Athenian 
ambassadors to the capital of Persia drinking there 
from cups of gold and glass, and this would imply 
that for such a use the material was considered as of 
equal value to the precious metal. In the next 
century, the painter Pausias, in representing the 
subject of " Intoxication," introduced a woman 
drinking from a transparent glass bowl. Thereafter 
the material must have come into more general use, 
and we read of vases, jars, and plates in clear glass, 
and of imitation gems and cameos in coloured glass. 

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A limited use seems to have been made of glass for 
architectural embellishments, there being traces of 
glass inlay in various temple sculptures — possibly 
suggested by the much older Egyptian mosaics, 
Pliny relates that upon the tomb of Hermias, on the 
coast of Cyprus, there was a marble lion with eyes of 
emerald, and that these eyes were so intensely bright 
as to frighten the fish away. In order not to ruin the 
fishermen it became necessary to remove the too 
brilliant optics. Herodotus also wrote that at Tyre 
he saw a column of emerald. It is generally assumed 
that in both cases the emeralds were nothing more 
than coloured glass, and that the historians were 
indulging in a slight exaggeration. 

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IN studying the numerous varieties of Roman glass, 
we arrive at the culmination of the gl ass- worker s 
art of antiquity. The empire, which in a few 
centuries had grown up from the tiny kingdom 
of Romulus till it embraced almost the whole world, 
had swept within its net all the knowledge and art 
and skill of the craftsmen among its conquered states. 
Etruria, Carthage^ Gaul, Macedonia, Greece itself, 
Syria, Egypt, Spain, Britain, Germania — each in turn 
added its share to the wealth and luxury of the 
Empire^ aud among the arts that flourished under 
such favouring conditions, that of glass-making 
received an enormous stimulus. From the large 
number of specimens — ^fragmentary or whole — found 
wherever Roman arms penetrated, it would appear 
that glass must have been used for more purposes 
and to a greater extent in many ways than even at 
the present day. Not only for costly works of art, 
but for common and useful articles too was the 
material available. Methods of making and decorat- 
ing were in use in great variety, and many an idea 
developed by later Venetian workmen can be traced 
to a Roman original. It is interesting to see the 
great use that was made of clear gla?s ; one might 
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have expected that the Roman desire for ostentation 
would have found an uncoloured material, depending 
for its interest mainly on the form of the object, too 
simple and unassuming. One very common applica- 
tion of the clear glass is for urns to contain the ashes 
of the dead. We owe the greater part of these that 
remain uninjured to the fact that they were enclosed 
in tombs and have thus been protected from harm. 
Almost every collection of Roman antiquities will 
have its examples of these urns, often with the handful 
of bones and dust still within them. They are mostly 
of good form, of blown glass, with sensibly strong and 
broad handles on the shoulder — a type of design that 
might very well be imitated for the crematory urns 
now coming into use among ourselves. Many of them 
have assumed an iridescence that is very beautiful, 
and very few are really transparent ; it is probable, 
however, that the purest crystal glass was not 
employed for any but the choicest work. It was, no 
doubt, difficult for the ordinary maker, working on a 
small scale, to produce glass free from discoloration 
and bubbles, and nearly all the domestic vessels found 
will be of a slight green or yellowish tint caused by 
the stain of iron in the sand. 

There is a small and well-arranged collection of 
Roman glass at the Guildhall Museum, consisting for 
the most part of objects found in excavations in 
London. Although by no means complete, it gives 
an idea of some of the more ordinary kinds of glass. 
Among them we may notice a sepulchral urn with 
looped handles found at AUhallow's, Barking ; two 
large squared bottles found at Moorfields ; a broken 
amphora from the Minories ; tiny bottles of club-like 
shapes, probably used for unguents ; bowls with raised 


ribs on the outer surface, of the kind known as pillar- 
moulded — these are mostly of clear green glass, but a 
few are in yellow, blue, or brown, and one found 
under Gracechurch Street, is in dark blue ; one odd 
fragment is the neck of a simpuvium or sacrificial 
vessel formed by two flasks flattened together and 
their orifices brought into the one neck ; and in opaque 
glass there are some beads of combined colours. 

Dealing for the present with clear glass only, we 
must see what they have in the splendid collection at 
the British Museum. There is a long and stately row 
of cinerary urns ; one of them is conspicuous by the 
extreme splendour of its iridescence, in which patches 
of gold on the dark green ground contend with vivid 
blue and purple flushes. Some of the plain blown 
bowls are decorated with blobs and trickles of glass, 
disposed in vertical lines round the outer surface. 
A goblet has these lumps placed, en Echelon, in a way 
that was much in use in Germany later. There is, 
among the smaller bottles and flasks, one, found in 
the Fayoum oasis in Egypt, that retains its original 
wrapping of rushes. Other examples of the decora- 
tion by means of threads trickled on, will show, 
perhaps, s^ thin line of opaque white forming a spiral 
round a bottle of clear blue, or reversing the idea, 
will have lines of transparent blue upon an opaque 
white jug. There is a large jug of transparent brown 
with splashes of opaque white all over it. A few 
" conceits " in glass have survived the touch of time ; 
here we may see a glass boat found at Pompeii, or 
a long-tailed bird found at Cumae, or a drinking-cup 
in the form of a grotesque helmet found at St. 
Severinus, Cologne. 

The " pillar-moulded " glass is one type of a large 

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group of objects, formed by blowing the glass into 
moulds, or on to carved surfaces, so that the impression 
of the modelling is retained by the glass. Among 
the simplest of this kind are the little bottles in the 
form of dates,* pine cones, scallops, etc., obviously 
moulded from the real things. These, it is thought, 
were produced at Sidon 
during the Roman 
period. With them 
are numerous tiny vases 
with raised ornament of 
musical instruments and 
figures. More elabo- 
rate, but produced in the 
same way by moulding 
entirely, are the cups 
and bowls with repre- 
sentations in relief of 
circus and gladiators ; 
sometimes the names 
are added. Occasion- 
ally moulded ornaments 
of masks were acjded 
to plain blown bodies. 
Some vases have been 
found with the maker's 
name and city — Artis 
Sidon — stamped on the 
handles. A moulded 
cup (at the British Museum) from a tomb in 
Cyprus has upon it " Exult and be glad ; " another, 
found by General Cesnola also in Cyprus, has the 

* One of the "date" scent-bottles at South Kensington Museum 
cost £*l. 


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name " Ennion " and the adjuration, " Remember this, 
O buyer ; " another, presented by the Cyprus Explora- 
tion Fund, has, in Greek characters, in relief, " Good 
cheer." One long-necked bottle was produced in a 
simple way by blowing into a cage made of wire ; 
the glass has been indented all over in a regular 

One drinking-cup that hardly falls within our 
classification may be seen at the British Museum ; it 
is of thin silver, pierced with a patterning of holes, 
through which drops of blue glass exude, giving the 
appearance of a goblet studded with sapphires. This 
method suggests the transparent enamels of mediaeval 
times, and in another way, the Chinese **grains-of- 
rice" wares, where a cup of thin porcelain was 
perforated in patterns to be filled up again by the 
clear fused glaze in which the whole piece was finally 

To make use of engraving for the decoration of 
glass must have been easy to such expert gem and 
cameo workers as were at the . service of the rich 
Roman, but only a few examples of importance are 
known. At the British Museum there is a dish 
engraved on the under side in thin lines, with a 
representation of Apollo and Minerva ; it was found 
at Halicarnassus, and is not very good in style. 
With it are three other dishes, found at Amiens, 
engraved in a similar way. Dishes of this kind have 
been found engraved with figures of Christ and the 
saints. They probably date from the fourth century, 
and, it is supposed, were used in the early Church. 
It is stated that Pope Zephirinus, early in the third 
century, required patens of glass to be used. 

Leading to more important artistic results was the 

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practice of cutting and carving glass, the work some- 
times being executed in the transparent varieties, but 
more often in what was known as the cameo style, in 
which glasses of different colours are combined in 
layers, and carved through from the outside, exposing 
the colours in turn. By 
this method were pro- 
duced some most re- 
markable works. The 
few that remain entire 
are of great value. In 
the Museum at Naples 
is an amphora that was 
found at Pompeii in 
1839; it is only 12 J 
inches in height, and is 
supported on a stand of 
silver. The body of the 
vase is of deep purplish 
blue ; over this has been 
laid a coating of opaque 
white glass, carved into 
an elaborate design of 
boys gathering grapes 
and playing musical in- 
struments, with goats, 
sheep, masks, and foliage 
filling the remainder 
of the space. In the 
British Museum are the fragments of the Auldjo 
Vase ; this also was found at Pompeii in the house of 
the Faun. Part of it was bequeathed to the Museum 
by Miss Auldjo, and other portions were subsequently 
purchased ; they have now been mounted together, 

uiymzeu uy -^.j ■.^ >^ -/ IC 




and show — although incomplete — that the original 
shape was that known as a Greek oenochoe of about 


nine inches in height The ornament is in white on 
a dark blue ground, and consists mainly of vine-leaves 
and grapes. 

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The most famous, however, of these examples of 
the glass-cutter's skill is that known as the Portland 
Vase. This is also in the British Museum, where it 
has been deposited since 1810. It measures ten 
inches high, and is really rather clumsy in outline, 
but its decoration is carved in most exquisite style. 
Like the Naples and Auldjo examples, this has white 
reliefs on a deep blue ground. The figures are 
assumed to represent, on one side, Thetis consenting 
to be the bride of Peleus, in the presence of Poseidon 
and Eros, and, on the other side, Peleus and Thetis 
together on Mount Pelion. On the underside of the 
vase is a large head of Paris. The Greek character 
of the subjects and workmanship seem to lend colour 
to the idea that this choice piece of antique art was 
produced at Alexandria, and not later than 1 50 B.C ; 
it was, however, found during the seventeenth century 
in a marble sarcophagus in the Monte del Grano, near 
Rome. The tomb is thought to have been that of 
the emperor, Alexander Severus, and his mother, 
Julia Mamaea, both murdered near Mainz in 235, 
during an expedition taken to defend the Rhenish 
frontier. The vase was, when found, deposited in 
the Barberini Palace at Rome, that treasure-house 
of one of the richest Italian families, and is hence 
sometimes called the Barberini Vase. It was for 
many years described as carved from a natural 
stone — a sardonyx or an agate. Winckelmann and 
Wedgwood came to the conclusion that it was glass. 
Owing to losses at card-playing, a princess of the 
house had to sell some of her family treasures. 
Among them was this vase, and, although the pope 
forbade the sale, it was acquired in 1770 by Sir 
William Hamilton (the husband of the beautiful 

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-/'VH - 


Lady Emma), author of many sumptuously illus- 
trated works on antique art, for the study of which 
his post of English Ambassador at Naples gave him 
unusual facilities. From him it passed to the 
Duchess of Portland, and, at her death, came into 
the auction room, where the new duke bought it 
again at £i02g. He subsequently lent it to the 
British Museum, where it had remained in safety till 
1845, ^^ which year it was wantonly smashed by a 
lunatic. Skilfully mended, it now rests among the 
rarest treasures belonging to the Museum, placed 
apart in the " Gold Room." 

Josiah Wedgwood, the celebrated potter, who had 
been successfully imitating in earthenware many of 
the examples of cameos and engraved gems illus- 
trated by his friend. Sir William Hamilton, was 
keenly desirous of acquiring the vase, bidding up to 
one thousand pounds for it at the auction, and, on 
its purchase by the Duke of Portland, obtained per- 
mission to copy it in his "jasper- ware." He paid his 
modeller, Webber, five hundred pounds for a year's 
work in making an accurate model of it, and proposed 
to recoup the outlay by issuing fifty subscription 
copies at fifty guineas each. By the time they were 
supplied, much more than this had been expended. 
Wedgwood's copies, being of pottery, lack the sparkle 
and close texture of their glass original, but are inter- 
esting examples of what was possible to the enthusi- 
astic and patient master- potter. In describing the 
Portland Vase, he wrote : — 

" It is apparent that the artist has availed himself 
very ably of the dark ground in producing the per- 
spective and distance required by cutting the white 
away nearer to the ground as the shades were wanted 

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deeper, so that the white is often cut to the thinness 
of paper, and in some instances quite away, and the 
ground itself makes a part of the bas-relief, by which 
means he has given to his work the effect of painting 
as well as sculpture ; and it will be found that a bas- 
relief, with all the figures of a uniform white colour 
upon a dark ground, will be a very faint resemblance 
of what this artist has had the address to produce by 
calling in the aid of colour to assist his relief That 
hollowness of rocks and depth of shade in other parts, 
produced by cutting down to the dark ground, and to 
which it owes no small part of its beauty, would all 
be wanting, and a disgusting flatness appear in their 
stead. It is here that I am most sensible of my 
weakness, and that I must of necessity call in the 
engraver to my assistance, in order to produce the 
highest finished and closest copies we are capable 
of making." The vase has been copied in glass in 
modern times, not unsuccessfully. One is inclined 
to think, certainly, that the time and skill required 
to copy an example of antique art might have been 
better spent in some piece of original work. 

The numerous fragments of cameo glass that have 
been found make it clear that, costly as the process 
must have been, it was not uncommon. One of the 
early fathers of the Church, Clement of Alexandria, 
is even found to mention the " chiselled glass '* as an 
effeminate luxury, "a pretentious, useless vainglory, 
good for nothing but to be broken, and to cause to 
tremble all those who lifted them to their lips." The 
good father's pious wish has been well fulfilled as 
regards the breakages, and we are now reduced to 
the study of the antique art as well as may be from 
its fragments. Most of those in the British Museum 

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are of similar colouring to the Portland Vase — white 
on blue ; a few show other colours, sometimes revers- 
ing the effect, the outer layer of glass being coloured, 
while the inner is of colourless material. On some 
rare specimens more than two colours may be found. 

Mention must be made of the separate repro- 
ductions of cameos and gems in moulded glass of 
different colours. In the making of these artificial 
gems the Romans were very expert. The story is 
told of a jeweller who cheated the empress, Salonina, 
wife of Gallienus, and she, becoming aware that the 
trinkets she had purchased were not genuine, 
demanded of the emperor that the jeweller should be 
thrown to the lions in the circus. The unhappy 
tradesman prepared for death ; the vast crowds of 
spectators were gazing down into the arena at the 
miserable figure ; the signal was given for opening 
the cage. No Hon, however, appeared. Instead, 
there strutted out a cock, who greeted the victim with 
a loud crow. Whether this happened by design or 
accident, the emperor considered it was punishment 
enough, and the jeweller escaped with a lesson. 

Some of the real cameos and engraved stones that 
were thus imitated are magnificent specimens of art. 
A sardonyx in the Imperial Museum, at Vienna, 
measures nine by eight inches, and is said to have 
cost ;^6ooo. Another still larger, at Paris, is a sar- 
donyx of five strata, and measures thirteen by eleven 
inches. There are no examples so large as these at 
the British Museum. The collection, however, is a ' 
very valuable one, and in portraits of the emperors 
is especially rich. Many of these are ancient pastes, 
that is, casts made of glass — transparent or opaque — 
by pressing the semi- fused material in a mould. No 

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doubt the larger number of these glass casts would be 
left untouched from the mould ; but some were cer- 
tainly finished by the engraver. An authoritative 
writer on gems states thc^t ninety -nine in every 
hundred of so-called antique pastes are modern 

Cameos of glass are not uncommon, some being of 
large size, and in strikingly contrasted colours, such 
as green on red. In South Kensington Museum is 
. a beautiful tablet about five inches high, in blue 
opaque glass. Smaller buttons and discs of moulded 
glass are thought to have been used for decorations 
on armour or harness. 

A method of decorating clear glass remains to be 
mentioned — viz., with gold leaf either placed on the 
surface or, in the better work, embedded in the glass. 
Most of this kind dates from early Christian times, 
having been found in the catacombs, and from the 
prevalence of sacred symbols, representations of the 
saints, and. pious mottoes, it is supposed that the 
bowls and plates in which this particular decoration 
occurs were used for sacramental purposes or for the 
"love feasts." Such inscriptions as BIBE VIVAS 
or PIE ZESES (" Drink and Live ") occur. The gen- 
eral process pursued seems to have been to place the 
leaf of gold on the inside surface of a thin bowl or plate, 
scratch the ornament through the gold and remove 
all portions not required, add the enamel colouring 
^hen any was intended, and then cover the whole 
inside with a second very thin sheet or bowl and fix 
them together by remelting, thus imprisoning the 
. decorations. Where this second coat of glass has not 
been added, the decoration in gold has almost dis- 
appeiared — ^it could have been attached but very 



slightly. A beautiful piece of work found at Cologne 
consisted of a central cup decorated with winged 
genii and flowers in gold, and then enclosed with a 
network of thin threads of glass. The specimens of 
gold decoration from Canosa (Southern Italy), to be 
seen in the British Museum, are remarkably good, 
and with them are some cups, bottles, etc., of 
undecorated glass with a most extravagant irides- 
cence of powerful purples, blues, greens, reds, and 

Similarly iridescent are some little pieces of Roman 
window glass found at Pozzuoli. That the Romans 
had glass windows seems pretty certain, but they 
probably could not see through them — in that respect 
we have improved on early times. The glass seems 
to have been cast on a stone bed, and is usually very 
uneven in surface and coarse in material. In the 
house of the Faun at Pompeii a little pane of glass 
remains in its frame of bronze, and it is stated that 
the Baths in that same long-buried city had windows 
of cast glass, one of a single pane measuring 44 inches 
by 32. Squares of glass were used for greenhouse or 
garden frames. For better windows, thin sheets of 
marble, alabaster, mica, or shells were employed. 
Fragments of Roman window glass found in London 
may be seen at the Guildhall Museum. Our climate 
probably made it more necessary to have such pro- 
tection than the warmer air of Italy. 

From windows to mirrors is no great step. The 
fact that glass could be used for this purpose was 
known at an early age. Aristotle, the tutor of 
Alexander the Great, states that " if metal or stones . 
have to be polished to serve as mirrors, glass or 
crystal require to be lined with a leaf of metal to 

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throw back the image presented to them." It is not 
certain, however, that the Romans had mirrors of 
glass. Such would require a very pure glass and 
a method of producing it in large flat pieces and of 
polishing it, not to speak of an efficient method of 
applying the metal or reflecting surface to the back 
of the glass. Good mirrors of glass were not made 
till well on into the mediaeval times, and it is therefore 
fairly certain that the polished metallic mirror of 
antiquity was not soon superseded. 

It is time now to speak of the Roman mosaic glass 
work, and the extraordinary variety of methods and 
beauty of effects obtained will leave us with the 
conviction that, in their coloured glass, the Roman 
artists were inimitable. With the comparatively 
limited range of colour available to them, the loveliest 
combinations were obtained. Of transparent colours 
they had blue, green, purple, amber, brown, and rose, 
and in opaque glass, white, black, red, blue, yellow, 
green, and orange ; of several of these there would be 
different shades and tones — eight or ten blues, almost 
as many greens, and various kinds of reds. With 
these materials mixed in the mass, with one another, 
or with plain white or colourless glass, several of 
the precious stones were imitated, jacinths, agate, 
sapphires, porphyry, onyx, and so on. Another 
imitation that was most highly esteemed cannot now 
be identified — viz., murrhine ; it is thought to have 
been a transparent purple with veins of opaque white. 

The large class of effects known afterwards to the 
Venetians as ** milk fiori " suggests an Egyptian 
origin, and it is pretty certain that the Romans were 
indebted to Egypt for most of this work. Not 
altogether, it is true, for fragments of the canes or rods 

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of glass used in the process have been found at Rome. 
The foundation of the method lay in the preparation 
of the canes. Threads or small sticks of diflferent 
colours were arranged together in a pattern, melted 
together by heat, and drawn out while hot to an 
indefinite length, reducing the diameter of the 
combined rod, but retaining the intended pattern 




unchanged throughout its length. Cut up into small 
pieces, here we have ^ cylindrical bead. Some of the 
patterns thus obtained by the gradual narrowing of 
the elongating canes are of extreme minuteness and 
beauty, requiring a powerful lens to reveal their 
workmanship. In the British Museum is a tray of 
rods thus prepared ; some are plain squares, some are 

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of combined colours. From a Roman glass factory 
at Tanis in Egypt there are also some mosaic rods for 

Short sections of these rods placed side by side, 
and united by heat, thus produced a recurring pattern 
of greater or less complexity and richness. The 
variety of the patterns is extraordinary. Several 
walls in the Glass Court at South Kensington 
Museum are lined with frames, each containing a 
large number of fragments of this work, and the 
pieces all appear to be different in design and colour. 
They will repay the most careful examination. Some 
suggest the madrepore coral. There is one particular 
kind of effect that seems to us especially charming, 
in which, swimming in a body of translucent dark 
green glass, numerous little tubes of pale green are 
set slantwise. The specimens at the British Museum 
are equally interesting, although not quite so over- 
whelmingly numerous. Here one should notice the 
tartan-like patterns. An enthusiast for the tartan 
might reasonably, on seeing these, discourse of the 
ubiquity of the Scotchman even at that early 

Complete vessels of Roman mille fiori are rare. It 
does not seem to have been a general practice to 
place objects of any value in the tombs, and it is to 
these undisturbed resting-places of the dead that 
antiquaries look, as a rule, for the more perfect 
examples of the portable arts of antiquity. 

More fragile even than the mille fiori have proved 
to be the vessels of laced glass (the vitro di trina of 
Venetian artists), and there are still fewer unbroken 
examples of this method than of the other. The 
essential feature of the process was a rod of clear 

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glass with threads of opaque or coloured glass 
twisted into it Vessels were then formed by placing 
the rods together longitudinally, and causing them to 
cohere by heat ; bowls and dishes could be formed by 
carrying the rod round continuously in a spiral 
widening at each revolution. In this method patterns 
of extreme minuteness could be obtained by drawing 
out the rods, and so narrowing the diameter ; some 
of the coils and twists embedded in the clear glass are 
dazzlingly close. Occasionally a piece is found in 
which the rods of different colours appear to have 
been plaited together ; one such bowl, built up of 
yellow, red, white, and blue stripes, is shown at 
South Kensington, having been purchased for ;£^I25. 

To many, the examples of glass-work we have been 
last describing are altogether more interesting than 
the cameo and cut work. The methods of workman- 
ship seem more eraftsmanlike, more appropriate to 
the material being used, and the effects produced are 
effects that can be got in no other way and in no 
other material It is true that a very characteristic 
way of working glass — viz., that of blowing, does not 
receive prominence, but that the Romans could 
produce blown glass, and of good forms, is quite clear 
from the cinerary urns and numerous shapes of 
smaller vessels. 

The idea of embedding a pattern of coloured 
g]ass within a mass of another colour, was further 
utilised in the manufacture of glass tiles for wall 
coverings, and even for pavements. Some pieces 
found at Pompeii show stars or rosettes made up of 
sections cut from the same rod, and surrounded by a 
field of lavender-coloured opaque glass. The most 
careful pains seem to have been taken in shaping and 

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grinding pieces of glass to form wall decorations. 
Of one citizen it is recorded that "his weakh was 
much spoken of, for he is reported to have covered 
his house with squares of glass attached by bitumen 
and other cements." Under the name of "opalite," 
the same idea is being revived now, and walls are now 
being built with, instead of glazed bricks, common 
bricks with a thin facing of glass afterwards attached. 
There is no reason why the colours available should 
not be more satisfactory than the somewhat crude 
and startling tones which at present seem alone to 
have been chosen ; as to the cleanliness of the glassy 
surface, and suitability for positions where our town 
walls are subjected to friction and dirt, there can be 
no question. 

With mosaic work the Roman edifices were abund- 
antly supplied. " Discovery of a Roman pavement " 
might almost be a permanent headline in those 
journals that record such things. Whenever a Roman 
site is excavated, a pavement is almost sure to be 
lighted upon. All kinds of materials were used ; for 
the most part marbles and coloured stones, often 
tesserae of pottery, and not infrequently glass. In 
one of the rooms of the house of the Faun, a pave- 
ment of variously coloured marbles was found with 
pieces of purple and opaque red glass inserted. Near 
the Coliseum at Rome there was found a pavement 
of slabs of glass, white, green, and blue, while 
another found near Rome is of green glass slabs 

For the wall mosaics more elaborate schemes of 
design and colour were adopted. In some decora- 
tions the pictures are built up with pieces of marbles, 
some portions only being in glass, but as time went 

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on, desire for greater brilliancy perhaps led to glass 
being wholly used, and we come then to the gold 
backgrounds and colossal glass mosaics of the Byzan- 
tine school. These we must refer to in another 

We have found so much of interest to say of 
Roman glass, that it seems unfair to finally mention 
an example of it that is hopelessly bad. At South 
Kensington Museum there are portions of mosaic 
work — more or less dilapidated, and they might very 
well be broken up altogether — from the ancient seaside 
resort of Baiae, where in the splendid days of Roman 
empire, it was considered absolutely necessary to have 
a villa* Horace, it is stated, preferred this abode of 
elegance to all other places in the world. Now 
deserted, it lies in ruins, partly submerged by the sea. 
It is often said that the Roman at heart was never an 
artist. He was a good warrior, manager, provider, 
and generally practical ; but his artistry had to be 
found for him by men of other countries. Perhaps 
in this work from Baiae, we may see the unaided 
efforts of the Roman. Here is a fountain niche that 
recalls our own childish achievements in grotto- 
building : mosaic very roughly done; design non- 
existent ; framed up by lines of real shells. Here is 
a column, stuck all over with mosaic, bristling with 
bits of glass. If there is one separate architectural 
feature, more than another that does not call for 
embellishment of this kind, it is the column. 

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AMIDST the general ruin that ensued upon the 
fall of the Roman empire, the art of mosaic- 
L working survived, and in the newly-founded 
empire of Byzantium was allowed to contribute 
in no insignificant degree to the sumptuous decora- 
tions of the imperial buildings. At the recognition of 
Christianity, and its adoption by Constantine as the 
religion of the State, the places of worship were 
planned on what was called the Basilican model. 
It was impossible for the Christians — until then, so 
cruelly persecuted by the representatives of a pagan 
religion — to adopt the heathen temples for their 
meeting-places, but to the basilicas or halls of justice 
no objection seems to have been felt, and the once 
obscure band of Christians stepped from their hiding- 
places in the catacombs to the broad and open day- 
light of the great basilican churches. The timid little 
paintings in the tunnelled catacombs gave way to the 
immense spaces of mosaic in the new buildings ; the 
touching symbolism and pathetic hopefulness of the 
earlier work was now forgotten in the strange gleam 
of the great mystical figures of Christ in glory sur- 
rounded by saints. The mosaics at the basilica of 
S. Maria Maggiore at Rome are typical of the usual 

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arrangement of subjects. Over the pillars of the nave 
are Old Testament figures which increase in splendour 
until at the great arch over the chancel they are 
stopped by some scenes from the New Testament, 
such as the Annunciation, Massacre of the Innocents, 
the Presentation, and the Adoration of the Magi. 
Over these is the Lamb seated on the Throne. In 
the picture of the Adoration, as now visible, there are 
two seated figures^ the Christ-child and the Virgin. 
The latter, however, is not part of the original work, 
but was altered in the last century by Pope Benedict 
XIV,, who thought that the mother of our Lord was 
not sufficiently honoured. He erased a standing 
figure of the Virgin, and gave her a seated represent- 
ation by putting a nimbus round the head of one 
of the magi, a figure in a long blue mantle. 

One very interesting feature of these early Christian 
mosaics is the " Likeness of Christ." At quite an early 
date a characteristic type of physiognomy was evolved, 
and one that varied but little during the after centuries. 
A very early example was preserved at Rome, and 
probably served as model for the others, but as to 
how far it could be accepted as an authoritative por- 
trait, the opinions of the learned have always differed. 
One of the finest types is the colossal figure of Christ 
in the apse of the Church of St. Cosmo and St. Damian 
at Rome. 

With the erection of the great church at Constan- 
tinople, dedicated to the Holy Wisdom, Santa Sophia^ 
a great change^ far-reaching in its effects, took place 
in the character of Christian art. What it meant in 
architecture it is not possible here to say, except that 
the vast surfaces of walls and vaults necessitated by 
the Byzantine use of the dome seem to have been 

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at once accepted as suitable for an applied mosaic 
decoration — a mosaic of large slabs of marble on the 
lower walls, and of glass cubes or tesserae on the 
ceilings and upper walls. The quieter dark blue 
ground of the Roman mosaic no longer appears, the 
richly draped figures of emperor and empress, courtiers 
and angels now are surrounded by great spaces of 
broken gold. The type of figure becomes terribly stiff 
with exaggerated features and stern expression ; rigid 
formality, excessive stateliness, characterise the figures 
on the walls as they seem to have char;acterised the 
pomp and ritual of the services held within the walls. 
Reproductions of typical portions of these mosaics 
may be studied at the South Kensington Museum, 
but, of course, suffer terribly in effect in being shown 
without appropriate surroundings. 

The original church built by Constantine when he 
established at old Byzantium the new capital to be 
called by his own name, happened to be burnt early 
in the reign of Justinian (A,D. 527-565). Famous 
Greek architects were called in, and the new church 
of Santa Sophia came into existence. It has ever 
since been considered one of the wonders of the 
world, although now disfigured by Mohammedan 
additions. Sir Gilbert Scottj our famous English 
architect, wrote of it : " When we consider the whole 
as clothed with the richest beauties of surface — its 
piers encrusted with inlaid marbles of every hue, 
its arcades of marble gorgeously carved, its domes 
and vaultings resplendent with gold mosaic inter- 
spersed with solemn figures, and its wide-spreading 
floors rich with marble tesselation, over which the 
buoyant dome floats self-supported, and seems to 
sail over you as you move — I cannot conceive of 

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anything more astonishing, more solemn, and more 

At the old town of Ravenna in Italy, conquered 
by the Emperor Justinian (and afterwards to be the 
burial-place of Dante), the Byzantine mosaics may 
be well studied. The basilica of S. Apollinare 
Nuovo, built by Theodoric the Goth, has on its 
walls a wonderful double procession of saints and 
martyrs, while above in golden niches between the 
windows are thirty apostles and saints. Another 
basilica, S. Apollinare in Classe, a building of Jus- 
tinian's time, has portrait figures of 150 bishops, 
and in the apse a great "Transfiguration," the first 
instance of the representation of this subject.* The 
domed church built in honour of Saint Vitale, the 
soldier buried alive at Ravenna for witnessing to the 
faith, is famous for its octagonal plan and for the 
mosaic portraits on its walls of the emperor and 
empress themselves — Justinian, the slave who became 
successively consul, joint-emperor, and sole-emperor 
of the reunited East and West, and Theodora, once 
dancer and actress of doubtful antecedents, now his 
ambitious and courageous consort. They are sur- 
rounded by courtiers, soldiers, and Roman ladies in 
the richest garments, and although Justinian and 
Theodora have each a nimbus, they do not look par- 
ticularly saintly. We may herein see that intrusion 
of personal aggrandisement which was ultimately to 
drive out the simplicity and devotion of the earlier 
work. Mr. Ruskin says: "That Roman Christian 
art work is the exact expression of Christianity at 

* At South Kensington Museum there is a copy of a mosaic of the 
** Good Shepherd "in the Mausoleum of the Empress Galla Placidia 
at Ravenna. 

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the time, very fervid and beautiful, but imperfect, in 
many respects ignorant, yet radiant with a strong 

{From the Mosaics at Ravenna.) 

childlike light of imagination, which flames up under 
Constantine, illumines all the shores of the Bosporus 

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and Adriatic, and then gradually, as the people give 
themselves up to idolatry, sinks into a strange gilded 
and embalmed repose, with the religion it expressed." 

The Byzantine churches were generally lighted by 
a series of small windows round the base of the 
domes. At S. Sophia, some of the original plates of 
cast glass still remain. Coloured glass for windows 
does not seem to be mentioned before the time of 
Leo III. (795), but it was most probably in use before 
that time. A very common method of introducing 
it, and one still in use in the East, was to perforate 
slabs of marble, or even hard plaster, in certain 
patterns of openings, and insert the small pieces of 
glass as a kind of mosaic. The Cairo room at South 
Kensington Museum has eleven of such windows, 
the stucco panels being framed in wood and placed 
side by side as a kind of frieze to the wooden-latticed 
balcony or meshrebiya. The perforations in the stucco 
form designs representing vases of flowers, trees, or 

The glass-workers settling at Constantinople were 
soon of sufficient importance to give a name to one 
of the gates of the metropolis, and when the advanc- 
ing tide of Mohammedan invasion swept up to the 
wallsj and the emperors of the East were hard pressed, 
mosaic and mosaic workers were often handed over 
to the Caliphs to enable them to decorate their new 

A reaction against the excessive use of images and 
pictures set in at Constantinople towards the eighth 
century, and by an edict issued in 726 by the 
Emperor Leo XIII. it became compulsory to remove 
alt representations except that of our Lord alone. 
This sweeping condemnation was followed by an- 

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Other decree which made it an offence punishable by 
death to pay any sort of reverence to a sacred figure. 
Not everywhere could this be enforced, and in Italy 
especially the Iconoclasts were hardly listened to. 
But in the Eastern Church the idea of Iconoclasm re- 
mained, and survives in the modem Greek usage of 
permitting sacred pictures, while forbidding carved 
representations of sacred objects. The typical 
Russian icon or sacred image, is a curious relic of the 
old Byzantine art. Grotesquely stiff figures with 
stem fixed faces, set in the midst of tinselled and 
jewelled plates of draperies bedecked with beads and 
looking glass, combine to form such a trivial horror 
as could only result from centuries of conventional art 
and the suppression of all individuality. 

Through the veil of obscurity that hangs over the 
history of glass for some centuries after the early 
Byzantine times, very few facts of importance can be 
discerned. The art did not wholly die out^ but 
gradually it must have fallen into disuse, and one by 
one the old secrets of manufacture were lost as one by 
one the old workers dropped out of existence. A few 
pieces of old glass exist that are ascribed to these 
" Dark Ages." There are some cups in the Treasury 
at St. Mark's, Venice, which were probably stolen from 
Constantinople in A.D. 1204, when the French and 
Venetians drove out the Greeks and founded the 
short-lived " Latin " Kingdom. These cups are 
mostly of thick greenish glass^ cut with the wheel ; 
one, however, is a small vase of dark brown glass 
decorated with pseudo-classic figures in enamel and 
gold, and bearing some inscriptions in Cufic characters 
which have hitherto not been understood, nor perhaps 
are likely to be, for it is no unusual thing to find the 

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old workmen making up sham inscriptions because 
the letters and flourishes looked pretty. At Genoa is 
preserved the Sacro Catino or Holy Dish, brought by 
the Crusaders from Caesarea in iioi. It was for 
years believed to be an emerald, but is really of 
green glass of fine colour, containing many small air 
bubbles. It is a hexagonal shallow dish with a foot 
and handles, and a little ornament Curious it is to 
observe how the notion lingered on, here and there, 
of precious things formed of huge emeralds. Herodotus 
and his column of emerald at Tyre, found a counter- 
part in quite late times, when in 1730 the prior of 
Reichenau on the lake of Constance, was taking the 
most elaborate precautions to ensure the safety of a 
huge emerald two feet high, thirteen inches wide, and 
three inches thick. According to tradition, it had 
been sent as a present to Charlemagne, by Irene, the 
ambitious empress who all but succeeded in her 
project of marrying the great emperor of the West 
This enormous emerald was nothing but a slab of 
transparent green glass. The story of the conquest 
of Gothic Spain by the Moslems, brings to light 
another fabulous emerald of great size. The Moorish 
commander Musa was summoned to Damascus by 
the Caliph, and fined 100,000 pieces of gold for 
assumed acts of peculation and diversion to his own 
use of the booty taken in Spain. Among the treasures 
captured at Toledo, and retained by Musa, was a 
wonderful table made of a solid emerald, and standing 
on three golden feet ; it was said to have been made 
for King Solomon. As it is also described as having 
inscriptions in Greek, it was probably nothing else 
than Byzantine green glass. 

Irresistible as the Arabs were in their advance 

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throughout most of the world, they did not succeed 
in capturing Constantinople till the fifteenth century. 
It was fortunate that their earlier attempts were not 
successful. Professor Freeman was of opinion that 
had the Mohammedans effected an entrance in the 
early days of their successes " it would seem as if the 
Christian religion and European civilisation must 
have been swept from the earth," One reads that 
siege after siege was repelled by the aid of a fearsome 
composition called " Greek Fire," the secret of which 
was kept at Constantinople for centuries. In the 
British Museum are shown some globes of very thick 
glass which were found at Rhodes, and are believed 
to have been used as hand grenades for scattering the 
dreaded combustible. 

The remains of old Arab or Saracen glass are not 
numerous. For the most part the Arabs seemed to 
utilise the services of the workmen they found in the 
conquered countries, and clever artists of any nation- 
ality seem to have been welcome. Thus Persian 
potters and tilemakers seem to have accompanied the 
Moslem armies on their onward march, and to have 
founded manufactories of pottery as far west as 
Spain. Examples of Saracen glass are not so 
important, however. In the British Museum is a 
series of glass weights or tokens ; they are of several 
colours, but mostly of transparent green glass. They 
are stamped with the names of different caliphs of 
Egypt, and the dates range from 760 to 1225. One, 
for instance, has the inscription, " By order of Obeyd 
Allah, son of Alkhebkhab, this has the value of a 
feston or twenty kharouba of weight" In the same 
museum is a little enamelled beaker from Koft in 
Egypt, and described as Arab work ; it is decorated 


e — 


with fish in different positions, drawn in outline only 
with some freedom. By the twelfth century travels 
of Benjamin of Tudela, it would appear that glass- 
making in Syria was regaining its ancient importance. 
He mentions ten glass manufacturers at Antioch, and 
400 Jews at New Tyre, "shipowners and manufac- 
turers of the celebrated Tyrian glass." With more or 
less of romance he goes on to say that one wall of the 
great mosque of Damascus was made of glass by the 
Magi, and that it had " as many openings as there are 
days in the year, and that the sun in gradual suc- 
cession throws its light into the openings, which are 
divided into twelve degrees." A further statement is 
that the Shah of Persia at that time had caused the 
body of the prophet Daniel to be placed in a coffin of 
glass at Susa. Coffins of glass seem to have had a 
fascination for mediaeval writers. Modern explorers 
at Susa have not yet found this glass coffin, but the 
tomb of Daniel is still a holy place most highly 
reverenced by the wandering tribes, and who knows 
but that some day the find may take place? As, 
according to local tradition, the body of the 
Peighambar (/.^., prophet) was 130 feet long and 30 
feet broad across the shoulders, the coffin must have 
been of respectable proportions. 

At St. Mark's, Venice, there is treasured a bowl of 
ancient glass of a nearly opaque turquoise colour. It 
is pentagonal, and has been roughly cut in relief ; on 
the base are four Arabic characters signifying " God 
the Maker." It measures 8 J inches across, aqd by tra- 
dition was a present from a shah of Persia in 1470, but 
the filigree setting, ornamented in cloisonne enamels, is 
of older date, and the piece is now ascribed to the tenth 
century. By the thirteenth or fourteenth century 

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Damascus seems to have become a great centre of glass- 
making, so much so that it was usual in mediaeval times 
to speak of all glass from the East as " in the Damascus 
style." An inventory taken in 1380 of the possessions 
of Charles V. of France, mentions several vessels " k la 
fagon de Damas." On the sack of Damascus by 
Tamerlane in 1402, the conqueror carried back to his 


Mongol capital " weavers of silk, men who made bows, 
glass, and earthenware, so that of these articles 
Samarcand produces the best in the world." 

The glass lamps that formerly hung in the eastern 
mosques, will tell us the nature of the Damascus 
glass. There are six in the British Museum and 

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several at South Kensington, one of the latter (lent by 
Captain Myers) being exceptionally handsome, and 
bearing an inscription with name of Sultan Mohammed 
en Nasir ibn Kalaun (i 293-1 341). All are alike in 
shape, having a wide body, narrowed neck, and wide 
mouth. They are of blown clear glass, painted 
mostly in red, blue, and white enamels, finished in 
gold. Some at Cairo are pale green or blue ; one is 
in deep blue. They were used with a little inner glass 
cup for oil and wick„ and were suspended by metal 
chains which were fastened to several loops of glass 
on the shoulder of the lamp. Mr. Stanley Lane Poole 
mentions* that in 1883 he saw about eighty of these 
lamps still in the mosques at Cairo. They began to 
disappear so quickly, however, travellers being ready 
to pay a high price for them, that it was necessary to 
collect all the remaining ones and place them in the 
Museum of Arab Art The main inscriptions vary 
but little, and consist of verses from the Koran. On 
one of the fourteenth century in the British Museum 
there is written on the body: — "By order of his 
excellency, the most noble, the exalted, the Lord, the 
mastefj Seyf-ed-din Skeykhu, of En-N^ir, God 
magnify his triumph/' and on the neck, the commence- 
ment of a verse : — ** God is the light of the heavens 
and the earth ; His light is as a niche in which is a 

On another lamp of the fifteenth century, and 
marked on the handles — a few words on each — " Of 
what was made for the mosque at the grave of the 
lady Et-Takuna/' the rest of the quotation may be 
found " , . . and the lamp in a glass ; the glass as it 

* "Art of the Saracens in Egypt.*' 

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" "ff^^' 


were a glittering star ; it is lit from a blessed tree, 
an olive neither of the East nor of the West, the oil 
thereof would well-nigh shine though no fire touched 
it — light upon light : God guideth to His light whom 
He pleas eth ; and God strikes out parables " [for 
mankind, and God is mighty over all]. 

Occasionally the lamps bear the name of the 
painter or writer. The man who formed the shape 
was evidently not of much account. So eager have 
collectors of curiosities been to secure examples, that 
many forgeries exist, and genuine lamps are very 
valuable* One at South Kensington, of only moderate 
size, was purchased for £200. 

A few other pieces of glass are known decorated in 
the Arab style. At South Kensington is a bottle 
seventeen inches high, the largest of its kind. It is of 
greenish glass decorated in red outline, now not very 
perfect, with medallions in red and blue. The cup at 
Breslau, said to have belonged to St. Elizabeth of 
Hungary^ has an ornament of red enamel arabesques. 
The cup called the '* Luck of Edenhall," is decorated 
in enamels in a similar style. "Two bottles from 
Damascus " are mentioned in the inventory of St 
Stephen's, Vienna, as long ago as 1373, and are still 
preserved there. 

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IN the church of St Mark's at Venice we may 
find a link between old and new. Planned as a 
Byzantine church, it did not receive its final 
touches until Gothic times, and the mosaics for 
which it is famous extend over a period of about 250 
years. Upon the demolition in 829 by the Moham- 
medans of the church of St. Mark at Alexandria, the 
relics of the saint were acquired by the Doge of 
Venice, who, proclaiming St. Mark as the new patron 
saint of the Republic in place of St. Theodore, 
purposed the building of a cathedral to enshrine so 
great a prize. Portions of this first cathedral remain, 
but the greater part of the present building was 
erected by Doge Contarini (1063-1071), the decora- 
tions being commenced by his successor, Domenico 
Selvo. The wealth of the city was enormous, and 
the choice seemed to lie between spending the money 
on some expedition of conquest or on the church. 
Fortunately the latter was decided upon, and two or 
three centuries the work lasted, every vessel sailing for 
the East being bound to bring back precious marbles or 
carvings of some kind, so that, as regards its architect- 
ural featureSj St. Mark's is somewhat of a museum, 
work of all kinds, back to Roman, being built in. 

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The interior walls are finished after the pattern of St. 
Sophia; costly marble slabs on the lower portions, 
mosaic on all above, including the arch soffits and 
spandrels, vaults and domes. The wonderful colour 
effects of these great spaces of mosaic have been 
eloquently described by Mr. Ruskin, who, indeed, 
seems to consider mosaic the only suitable material 
for permanent architectural colour decoration.* 

Upon the vaults of St. Mark's may be read a whole 
Bible in mosaic. ^* Never had city a more glorious 
Bible,'' says Mr. Ruskin. Here might the unlettered 
read, in pictures that would never fade, of the great 
facts of his religion. In the outer portico or atrium, 
beyond which the catechumens might not go, were 
pictures from the Old Testament ; the history of the 
fall of man, of the patriarchs, and of Moses, the series 
ending significantly with the eating of the manna in 
the wilderness — type of the true Bread of Life. After 
admission to the Spiritual Church by baptism, the 
catechumen could worship within the cathedral itself 
Above the doorway inside, he would see the picture 
of Christ enthroned, the Virgin and St. Mark on 
either hand, and in the open book held by Christ, the 
words " I am the Door." In the first cupola was 
represented the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at 
Pentecost, twelve streams of fire descending upon the 
twelve apostles. Below them, between the windows 
pierced through the dome, were figures representing 

* Mr. G. E. Street, R.A., the architect of our new Law Courts, 
wrote : " The colour is so magnificent that one troubles one's-self but little 
about the architecture, and thinks only of gazing upon the expanse of 
gold and deep rich colour all harmonised together into one glorious 
whole. . . . Nothing but a soft swelling and undulating sea of colour is 

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the men of all nations present at Pentecost On the 
four angles or pendentives were angels bearing tablets, 
three with the word "Holy," and the fourth with 
'* Lord " ; and between them encircling the dome, the 
rest of the words of the " Sanctus." On the section 
of the vaulting between the first and the second 
domes were represented the Crucifixion and Resurrec- 
tion of our Lord, with several smaller scenes of Judas' 
betrayal, Pilate's judgment, the descent into Hades, 
the appearance of Mary Magdalene, and other 
incidents. Then in the second cupola — the one over 
the centre of the church — was represented the 
Ascension. In the highest space was the figure of 
Christ, borne up by four angels and throned on a 
rainbow. Beneath were the apostles as on Mount 
Olivet, and between the windows, the Christian 
virtues. Upholding all, in the four angles were 
figures of the four Evangelists. In the more distant 
dome over the altar, and not so readily seen from the 
body of the church, there was drawn a figure of 
Christ enthroned and surrounded by patriarchs and 
prophets. Thus the vaults along the main vista of 
the church were concerned with the principal tenets 
of our faith.* Over the side chapels were represented 
numerous subjects from the New Testament, embrac- 
ing the life of our Saviour, incidents from Apostolic 

* Mr. Street, speaking pf the mosaics (in " Brick and Marble of the 
Middle Ages,") says i '* It is worthy of notice that the most prominent 
Bgure in the whole chur<ih is that of our Blessed Lord, who, seated and 
surrounded by the twelve Apostles, is represented in mosaic in the 
principal dome ; and I believe that their arrangement throughout the 
entire church is a lesson to those among ourselves who so often, in 
selecting Scripture subjects for representation in churches, do so 
without reference to their proper consecutive order or their relative 

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times and from the visions of the Revelation. There 
IS at South Kensington Museum a modern copy by 
Dr. Salviati, of a figure of Christ from St. Mark's. 
It is beardless ; a white nimbus surrounds the head ; 
the golden upper robe is outlined and shaded with 
red ; the background is deep blue. At the British 
Museum there is a frame of mosaic fragments from 
the Baptistery at St Mark's. 

Such a huge enterprise as this of covering a 
whole cathedral with mosaic exercised an important 
influence upon the glass workers at Venice, who, 
until this time, do not appear to have been many in 
number. Mosaics had been fixed in the church of 
St Cyprian at Murano in the ninth century — ^whether 
by Byzantine or Venetian workers is not known. It 
is not till the year 1 1 59 that the name of one Pietro 
is mentioned as engaged on the mosaics for St. 
Mark's. Early in the next century the glass workers, 
ox phiolariy were numerous enough to draw up regula- 
tions for the conduct of their trade. 

Elsewhere in Italy, instances of mosaic working 
on a large scale do not seem to be numerous. In 
Sicily, the Norman cathedral of Monreale, commenced 
in the twelfth century, is entirely covered inside with 
mosaics, and the smaller Capella Palatina in Palermo 
has equally magnificent decorations. At Orvieto, the 
superb early Gothic cathedral has some well-known 
mosaics on the exterior. When, some time in the 
thirteenth century, the miracle of Bolsena took place, 
and the festival of Corpus Christi was instituted, the 
people of Orvieto determined to commemorate the 
events by the erection of a basilica after the fashion 
of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome. In 1290 Pope 
Nicholas IV. laid the first stone, and thereafter for 

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some 300 years the works went on. The plan of the 
whole was due to Lorenzo Maitani, an architect of 
Sieila. 152 sculptors, 68 painters, and 90 mosaic- 
workers were employed at different times, among the 
latter being Orcagna and Ghirlandajo. One of the 
doorhead fillings by Orcagna, representing the birth 
of the Virgin, is now in the South Kensington 
Museum, having been purchased in 1891 for ;^iooo. 
One is tempted to ask two things : why was a work 
of art of this kind allowed to be removed from the 
edifice for which it was designed, and of which it had 
formed a part for over 500 years ; and secondly, why 
was it purchased by the Museum authorities ? Away 
from its surroundings, the mosaic looks quite 
insignificant, and literally, out of place. 

In addition to the series of mosaics that fill the flat 
spaces of the front, the columns of the doorways have 
in several instances an inlay of mosaic in geometrical 
patterns, the glass being inserted in grooves half-an- 
inch or so in depth cut into the white marble, the 
columns being sometimes carved as if twisted. Such 
decoration was mostly employed for church purposes 
in screens, pulpits, tribunes, and other constructional 
features. The earliest specimen dates from about 
A.D. 580 in the tribune of the church of San Lorenzo 
at Rome. The tomb and shrine of Edward the 
Confessor in Westminster Abbey had mosaics of this 
kind, executed by "Peter, the Roman citizen," 
brought over by Henry III. in 1270 specially for the 
decorations of the rebuilt abbey. At the same time 
the famous pavement of marble mosaic — "opus 
Alexandrinum '* — was laid down. 

With the development of pictorial art in Italy, wall 
decorations in mosaic went out of fashion, and no 

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' ' -"^^' 

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works of importance appear to have been carried out 
after the fifteenth century. 

But the glass- workers established at Venice began 
to be noted for their productions in ornamental glass, 
and from the thirteenth century onward a great 
quantity of beautiful work of all kinds proceeded from 
the City of the Adriatic. By the year 1291, so 
numerous had the factories become that the Great 
Council took fright at the possible danger of con- 
flagration, and ordered all glass furnaces to be 
demolished within the city. Except that this was 
modified in the following year to the extent that 
small-ware makers might carry on their trade in 
Venice provided a space of fifteen paces was left 
around their works, the prohibition remained in force, 
and most of the establishments migrated to the island 
of Murano, a mile to the north. And still at Murano 
the glass furnaces glow, and the magical phantasies of 
Venetian glass are brought into being by descendants 
of the original " phiolari." 

It is not surprising that very soon the Venetian 
workers — proud of their skill — endeavoured to have a 
close corporation. Already in 1295 they petition that 
a heavy fine should be imposed upon makers who 
should try to return to Venice after working in other 
places, Vicenza, Padua, Mantua, Ravenna, and Bol- 
ogna; and twenty years before that date, it was found 
necessary to prohibit the sending away any sand or 
other materials for glass-making. There appear to 
have been four groups of workers : the " phiolari " for 
vessels and windows; the "cristallai" for optical 
glass ; the " specchiai," or mirror makers, and the 
bead makers. Of these last, there were the " pater- 
nostreri," who made rosaries, " margaritai " who made 


small beads, and " fuppialume " who made large 
blown beads. These all had their guilds or fraterni- 
ties, and so highly was the craft esteemed that its 
members were to be considered "gentlemen," and 
no nobleman marrying into a glass-maker's family 
was dishonoured thereby. Any workman who dared 
to carry the art to another country was, after due 
warning, liable to be tracked and slain, and it is 
recorded that instances of this punishment did occur. 
A wandering glassmaker named Paoli had found his 
way into Normandy, with his daughter, but having 
been traced by emissaries was found dead one day, 
stabbed to the heart with a dagger on which was 
written "Traitor." Admission to the works was 
jealously guarded ; strangers were never allowed with- 
in the gates. Each apprentice had to pass a severe 
examination before proceeding to the status of master, 
and the state officials who exercised a strict scrutiny 
of all that went on, saw that there were no more 
masters than necessary. No master could engage a 
workman unable to produce his discharge from his 
former employer, or who owed anything. At the 
same time, although admission to the craft was 
difficult, honourable retirement was easy ; if, after ten 
years' work, a master could not pay his way, he could 
claim a pension of seventy ducats from the guild. 

The earliest piece of Murano glass still preserved is 
a marriage cup in the Correr Museum at Venice ; it 
is ascribed to a maker named Beroviero of about the 
year 1440. It is made of blue glass, with portraits of 
a man and woman painted in enamel. There is a 
similar cup in the British Museum which cost 
Mr. Slade £161, and one of the same shape, but 
with an indistinct decoration of swans which, bought 

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from the Castellani Collection at a cost of £$60, los., 
is at the South Kensington Museum. It does not 
look worth it, most certainly. Near it is a much 
better specimen in green glass, with the usual pair of 
marriage portraits, and this cost £^0. 

The Berovieri were a distinguished family. Marino 
Beroviero was master of the company of "phiolari" in 
1468. His father, Angelo, had an apprentice, Giorgio, 
nicknamed // Ballerino^ who earned an unenviable 
fame by copying the receipt-book of his master, and 
selling the secrets to another maker. With the 
money thus gained, he himself started a workshop, 
and so founded the house of the Ballerini. An 
account of Venice written about 1495, by Sabellico, 
mentions the street of Murano as extending a mile in 
length, and illustrious on account of its glass-houses. 
" Hence come cups, beakers, tankards, caldrons, ewers, 
candlesticks, animals of every sort, horns, beads, neck- 
laces ; hence all things that can delight mankind ; 
hence whatever can attract the eyes of mortals ; and 
what we could hardly dare to hope for, there is no 
kind of precious stone which cannot be imitated by 
the industry of the glass-workers. Hence come vases, 
the equals of the murrhine, unless cost may be a 
source of pleasure. But consider to whom did it first 
occur to include in a little ball all the sorts of flowers 
which clothe the meadows in spring." The mention 
of murrhine brings to mind the Roman glass of mixed 
colours of which the secret had been lost. It was 
rediscovered by Cristoforo Briani and Domenico 
Miotti, and the work produced in glass of this kind 
became extremely varied and interesting. Some of 
the colourings are as good as any of Roman work- 
manship, while the shapes are graceful and appropri- 

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ate. Among the numerous examples at the British 
Museum, one ewer in especial is worth notice ; the 
marbling is in rich greens, yellow, and purple. 



Another rediscovery made at Murano, was the 
method of making the lace or reticulated glass — vitro 
di trina. In this the Venetian artists were extremely 
happy, and the delicate and fanciful forms, made 
readable and expressive by the light threads of white 
or coloured glass embedded in the clear mass, have 
always excited admiration. Perhaps in these two 

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classes, the marbled (or schmelz as it is often termed 
now) and the lace, Venetian glass is at its best. Some of 
the transparent colours used by the Venetians are not 
wholly pleasing in tone, the blue especially ; where 
they employ no colour at all, utilising merely the 
contrast between a colourless transparency and a 
white opaqueness, the most delicate of effects is 
generally obtained. 

Apart from the 
simple and obvious 
forms of cups and 
goblets, Venetian 
taste seems to have 
run towards the 
bizarre. The very 
facility of the ware 
— or rather the dex- 
terity of the artist 
— seems to have 
prompted an indul- 
gence in the extrava- 
gant and grotesque, 
which is not always 
justified by the artis- 
tic result. Bulky 

bodies balanced on ^^^.^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ..^^^^^^^^^^^^ „ 
the tips of dolphins' 

tails, boat-shaped vessels perched up on a bewildering 
erection of tubes and birds and nondescript griffins, 
full-blown flowers filling the whole of the bowl of a 
closed vase — these excite surprise at the ingenuity 
and daring of the craftsman, but do not impress one 
with the fineness of his taste. One or two exhibits 
at the British Museum are really deplorable. There 

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is a trident about four feet in length, all of hollow 
glass, with little turquoise bosses stuck on the prongs. 
There is a vessel in the form of a human foot and 
lower leg. There is a set of knife, spoons, and fork 
with twisted handles. But for the tall and graceful 
spill-vases, the drinking-cups on elegant twisted 
stems, the tankards and tazzas with bossed or fluted 
sides, and the countless other variations that were 
obtained, no words of praise can be enough. 

All through the Middle Ages the fame of Venetian 
glass was great, and if the workmen could not be 
enticed away, as was frequently attempted, the 
next best thing was to buy largely of the 
Venetian merchants. As early as 1399, we find 
Richard 11. giving permission to the masters of two 
Venetian galleys lying in the port of London to 
sell their glass vessels on board, duty free. In an 
inventory, taken in 1542, of property belonging to 
Henry VIII. and under the charge of Sir Anthony 
Denny at the palace of Westminster, nearly 450 
articles of glass are mentioned. Among them we 
read of '' great glasses like holies standing upon fete/' 
''great bell candles tickes," "aulter candlestickes," a 
'* hollywater stocke with a bayle," a "leyer of blewe 
glasse partly gilt, the leyer having the Kinge's Armes 
gilt upon it/' glasses with "long smale neckes and 
great bellies," and a " baskett with two eares." 

A favourite conceit was the making of " puzzle " 
and ** wager" cups. These assumed various forms, 
alike only in the idea that the contents of the cups 
had to be drunk without the spilling of any portion. 
In some there were arrangements of syphons which, 
unless the trick were known, would discharge the 
contents anywhere but in the drinker's mouth. A 

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quaint form was the " windmill " cup, in which, 
instead .of an ordinary stem and foot, the glass was 
finished with a little model of a windmill in metal 
The glass could only be .set down when empty by 
reversing it. Attached to the model was a tube 
which directed a stream of air against the sails and 
caused them to revolve. Bibulous wagers would be 
laid as to the drinker's ability to go through the 
following performance : Set the sails revolving by a 
vigorous blast through the pipe, fill 
the cup to the brim, drain it to the 
last drop, and set it, reversed, upon 
the table again before ever the sails 
ceased their revolutions. One of 
these windmill goblets can be seen 
in the British Museum. 

A prodigious quantity of beads 
of all kinds came from Venice for 
exportation to the East. Wherever 
the trade of the Middle Ages could 
penetrate, there we may find Vene- 
tian beads also. Far away among 
African and Indian tribes,old Vene- 
tian beads are still found — older 
beads even than these, perhaps 
Phoenician and Egyptian. An instructive contrast 
may be seen in a case at the Geological Museum ; 
side by side are some beautiful old beads of solid 
opaque glasses in quiet harmonious colours, and some 
modern slave-trade patterns, glittering and vulgar with 
gold and cheap enamels. An idea of the importance 
of the bead industry may be gained from the fact that 
in 1764 twenty-two furnaces were devoted to it, pro- 
ducing about 44,000 lbs. per week. From 60Q to 1000 

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639162 A g 



workmen — the " fuppialume " — were employed at 
the blow-pipe alone upon the ornamentation of 

In addition to the manufacture of beads, the canes 
of opaque or transparent glass were also, of course, 
used for the smaller kinds of mosaic. There is, for 
instance, at the British Museum, a curious canopy 
or wall decoration of glass dating from about 1700. 
Upon a wooden foundation, a mass of leaves and 
flowers of Orierttal type has been set ; on the over- 
hanging ceiling are the sun, moon, and stars, and, 
just belowj a white dove. It has been suggested that 
the work may have been executed by nuns, possibly 
in Sicily, At South Kensington there is an inter- 
esting spinet or virginal which was made at Murano 
about the end of the sixteenth century, and is said 
to have belonged to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, 
daughter of James I. Whatever may have been its 
value as a musical instrument, it forms a pretty piece 
of colour as an article of furniture. Its stamped and 
gilt leather-covered case, once of a royal crimson but 
now faded to a brown, hides a gorgeous interior, 
panelled out in compartments containing represent- 
ations of DaphnCj Andromeda, Narcisus {sic)y lo, 
Argus, and so on. There are eighteen of these 
divisions on the folding-lid ; elsewhere, the sound- 
ing board, the stretcher bar, the sides, the front of 
keyboard, and the keys themselves are covered with 
ornament in coloured glass, silver, and enamel. The 
accidentals have a top of blue and white striped glass, 
and the fronts of the naturals short lengths of the 
same. Beads and buttons of pearl are powdered 
plentifully aboutj and altogether it looks very gay 
and useless. 

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The making of mirrors would seem to have come 
into Venice from Germany. The first mention of 
them is in 13 17 when a petition records how a certain 
" magister de Alemania," a mirror-maker, had broken 
his agreement with three Venetians, and departing 
had left on their hands a great quantity of alum 
mixed with soot, and what could they do with this 
but sell it, although such sale was forbidden — hence 
the petition. In 1507, Andrea and Domenico dal 
Gallo obtained an exclusive privilege for twenty years 
in the making of mirrors for which they now possessed 
the knowledge, the secret having hitherto been in 
the keeping of only one German glass-house. The 
" specchiai,'* or mirror - makers, established their 
"scuola" or guild in 1569. The test of membership 
was to flatten and polish a sheet of glass, and to 
apply the " foglia " or leaf of reflecting metal. The 
glass was blown in cylinders, cut, opened out, and 
polished on a table. For two centuries the Venetian 
mirrors were exported in large numbers — in 1664, it 
was estimated that the value of those sent to France 
was about 100,000 crowns annually — and then com- 
petition abroad led to the downfall of the trade. 
One of the last of the makers was Giuseppe Briati, 
an enterprising man who, finding how seriously his 
business was affected by the Bohemian makers, 
worked for three years in a Bohemian glass-house 
in the disguise of a porter. When he returned in 
1736 and obtained a patent to make glass in 
Bohemian fashion, his jealous Murano neighbours 
would not hear of it, and he had to migrate into 
Venice itself He was famous for mirrors with frames 
of glass as well as for light table ware, and while 
he could make lustres six or seven feet in diameter, 


he was equally successful with the smallest pieces 
of "vitro di trina." After his death in 1772, the 
glass trade seems to have fallen very low, and by 
the beginning of this century only a few bead- 
makers kept their furnaces going. 

Not wholly to expire, however. One or two expert 
workmen remained to avail themselves of the instruc- 
tion and enthusiasm of the Abbd Zanetti, who about 
the middle of this century founded a museum at 
Murano, and began the re-discovery of the chemical 
and technical processes employed in the andient 
examples. About 1858, it became necessary to 
restore some of the mosaics in St Mark's, and 
Radi, a descendant of one of the old Murano fam- 
ilies, offered to do the work. Dr. Salviati, a lawyer, 
joined Radi in the enterprise, and their united energy 
and learning brought back to Venice some of its 
ancient reputation. Salviati's glass began to be 
known in other countries, and a company was event- 
ually formed with English capital in 1866 to the 
management of which Dr. Salviati was appointed. 
The new works were built on the Grand Canal in 
Venice, and there a large staff of skilled workers 
was gradually got together and trained by old Radi, 
the forgotten processes of antiquity being one by one 
striven for and rivalled. 

A change in the management of the company led 
to Salviati's withdrawal, and it was reconstituted as 
the "Venice and Murano Glass Company," while 
Salviati founded a fresh establishment. From both 
sets of workshops have proceeded original works of 
extreme beauty of colour and excellence of workman- 
ship, as well as reproductions of some of the celebrated 
works of antiquity. The Phoenician and Egyptian 


opaque bottles have been imitated, some seventy 
different pieces in the British Museum having been 
copied by the Venice and Murano Company. Their 
workmen also have copied the pierced silver goblet, 
and reproduced the glass-enamelled Arab lamps. 
Finally they have attacked the cameo work in the 
style of the Portland Vase, and in 18S7, exhibited a 
little cup of blue and white glass, which had taken 
eight months to engrave. 

To Dr. Salviati has fallen the enviable distinction 
of supplying pictures in mosaic for a large number of 
English cathedrals and churches. We need mention 
only the picture of the " Last Supper '* over the altar 
at Westminster Abbey, and the mosaics on the 
Albert Memorial, London. He introduced a method 
of working the mosaic upside down upon paper and 
of backing it with cement in slabs of portable size, 
which could be packed and sent abroad to their desti- 
nation. The old mosaics were of course worked on 
the spot they were to occupy, a certain portion of the 
wall or vault being covered with cement, into which 
the cubes of glass were pressed one by one, the 
irregular alignment and levelling thus obtained being 
really of no detriment to the effect but rather helping 
it by breaking up any flat masses of colour or great 
spaces of gold. To this extent, Salviati*s plan, though 
adopted now by most mosaicists, is defective ; the 
finished surface is too flat, and the gold grounds too 
uniformly level and glassy. An extraordinary variety 
of colours is now used by the Venetian workers ; some- 
where near 37,000 colours and 400 shades of gold are 
in stock at the works of the Venice and Murano 
Company, and without doubt Salviati uses as 

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Some amount of mosaic is produced at Rome., but 
it is of a kind that interests us but little. For the 
most part it seems to be used in imitation of painted 
pictures, the minutest shades and details being 
slavishly copied with microscopic accuracy. The 
little pictures set in brooches and trinkets make one's 
eyes ache to look at, and one's mind shrink at the 
labour imposed upon the workman, and all to a 
mistaken purpose. For why should one expect from 
a mosaic made up of separate squares of colour, what- 
ever their size, a pictorial treatment which can only 
rightly be given by the brush, with its power to blend 
and soften the colours together? Mosaic demands 
large spaces and a distant view to reveal its character- 
istic and jewel-like glitter. A mosaic of compara- 
tively few colours, but those rightly disposed, will 
produce a finer architectural effect than one in which 
thousands of shades of colour have been introduced. 
In the latter case the impression received by the eye 
will be blurred and uncertain ; in the former, it 
will be sparkling and vivid. A well-known artist- 
engraver commissioned to reproduce in wood-engrav- 
ing the masterpieces of Italian art, writes thus : " The 
mosaics in Ravenna are the most surprisingly magni- 
ficent things I ever saw. Nothing could excel these 
beautiful mosaics in delicacy and brilliancy of colour ; 
as delicate as a breath, and sparkling like an array 
of tinted gems. I am seated before the procession of 
the twenty-two virgins and the magi bearing crowns 
and gifts to the infant Jesus, who is seated on the 
Madonna's lap with two angels on each side. The 
background is gold, delicately shaded with light and 
dark brown tints. With my opera-glass I can see the 
separate stones ; but without it, and at a propjsr dis- 

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tance, the tints blend, and the twinkling bespangled 
effect of the whole is very pleasing."* 

Although one cannot help thinking that the Roman 
idea of mosaic is mistaken, it ought to be acknow- 
ledged that had it not been for the pontifical manu- 
factory the art might almost have been forgotten. To 


Pope Urban VIII. (1623-1644) was due especially 
the idea of perpetuating in the imperishable materials 
of mosaics the failing oil paintings and frescoes in 

* Mr. T. Cole in the Century Magazine, 
to are in the church of San AppoUinare Nuovo. 

The figures referred 

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"' ■l^'UI 

St Peter's, and since his time the Vatican studios 
have held a monopoly for this kind of work. Among 
the Jubilee presents to the Queen in 1887, we may re- 
member the gift of His Holiness the Pope. It was a 
reproduction in mosaic of Raphael's fresco of" Poetry," 
and it was really very delicate and fine in workman- 

It is significant that in Rome itself, the scene of the 
first efforts of Christian art, an English artist should 
now be entrusted with the task of designing a great 
scheme of mural mosaic decoration. Sir Edward 
Burne-Jones in his beautiful designs for the new 
church of St. Paul's-within-the- Walls, built under the 
direction of G. E. Street, R.A., has evidently been 
inspired by the Roman and Ravenna mosaics of the 
fifth and sixth centuries, although in the details of the 
figures he retains his characteristic and somewhat 
melancholy type of design. The mosaics are being 
executed by the Venice and Murano Glass Company. 
In the composition to be placed over one of the arches, 
with the subject of the " Tree of Life," and in the 
extremely dignified decoration of the apse. Sir 
Edward's genius is displayed at its best. Adopting in 
the latter the idea often seen in the old basilicas, he 
represents in the centre Christ seated in glory with 
one hand raised in blessing. Around His head are 
innumerable angels, and from under His feet gush out 
four rivers of living waters. To right and left are tall 
figures of archangels, each standing in front of a door- 
way in the golden wall of the New Jerusalem. There 
are six doorways, but only five archangels. With an 
eloquent silence, the doorway at Christ's right hand is 
closed and dark. Its guardian was Lucifer, now fallen 
from his high estate. 

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GERMAN ornamental glass is characteristically 
different from that of Venice, More sturdy^ 
and robust even to clumsiness, more rough io 
workmanship, but with no lack of spirit, less 
choice in colour, but with certain broad effects of its 
own, the German work has several points of interest. 
As to its early beginnings there is some uncertainty. 
From the amount of glass found in the neighbour- 
hood of Cologne and Treves — early Roman stations 
— it is thought that the making must have been 
carried on in Roman times. Drinking vessels of 
glass are not uncommon in graves of the period soon 
after the Roman occupation. In Italy, glass of 
mingled Teutonic and Byzantine feeling has been 
found. There are, for instance, in the British 
Museum, two vases and a drinking horn which, from 
the circumstances of their discovery^ point to an early 
Teutonic origin. The horn is about nine inches long, 
of blue glass, with thin trickled lines of white glass 
surfounding it The vases are of green glass into 
which rough splashes of red, white, and yellow glass 
have been melted. The handles and a spiral line 
round the necks are in green glass. Two bowls (also 
in the British Museum collection) were discovered in 

uiymztju uy tS^^ •>^ zti-*^ 


a grave at Leuna, near Merseburg (Prussia). They 
are of clear glass, and appear to have been finished 
by cutting and engraving ; one has a figure and stags 
upon it, perhaps a representation of Actaeon. These 
show some remains of Roman influence ; they were, 
however, found with some decidedly German bronze 
work. Near these we may see a large and handsome 
drinking horn of yellow transparent glass (now 
slightly iridescent) ; this was found in a German 
grave at Bingerbriick on the Rhine. 

An interesting notice of glass-making in Germany 
at an early period is in a letter addressed by one of 
our early abbots, Cuthbert of Wearmouth, about the 
middle of the eighth century, to LuUo, Bishop of 
Mainz : " If there be any man in your diocese who 
can make vessels of glass well, pray send him to me ; 
or if by chance he is beyond your bounds, in the 
power of some other person outside your diocese, 
I beg your fraternity that you will persuade him to 
come to us, for we are ignorant and helpless in that 
art ; and if it should happen that any one of the 
glass-makers, through your diligence, is permitted 
{D. V.) to come to us, I will, while my life lasts 
entertain him with benign kindness." If the worthy 
abbot could have looked into futurity he would 
have seen, not very far away from his quiet little 
monastery, the huge glass-works of modern Sun- 

Although it is possible that glass-making con- 
tinued in Germany, no very definite references to the 
matter exist, and the oldest date that so far has been 
found on glass is that of 1553, on a specimen at 
Berlin. The oldest dated piece at the British 
Museum is of the year 1571 ; it is a large cylindrical 

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drinking-vessel of the kind called Wiederkom (or, 
" Come again "). It is of clear glass, painted in 
enamels with a large Imperial eagle, bearing on its 
wings the coats-of-arms of states and towns compos- 
ing the empire. These glasses are not very graceful 
in form, but they are eminently business-like, and the 
suggestion ' of good fellowship in their descriptive 
name is borne out by their huge proportions. 

A traveller in Germany in 1687, gives a good 
idea of the arrangement of these vessels ; he says : 
"You shall also know that glasses are as much 
respected in this country as wine is loved ; they are 
paraded everywhere. Most of the rooms are wains- 
coted for about two-thirds of their height, and the 
glasses are arranged all round on the cornice of the 
wainscot, like the pipes of an organ. They begin by 
the little one, and end by the great, and these great 
are melon-glasses {cloches - d. - melon), which one is 
obliged to empty without pausing when any health of 
special importance is to be drunk." 

At South Kensington is a "wiederkom" of the 
year 167 1, which may be described as typical of 
this domestic conviviality. It is a plain cylinder 
about 9^ inches high. On it are painted in enamel, 
portraits of a miner of the Hartz Forest, and his wife, 
with an inscription relating the perils and heroisms of 
the husband's calling. He is all in black, except for 
his white buttons and under-sleeves, and he carries a 
long-handled yellow axe. The lady has a black 
hood, white collar and cuffs, and a skirt half white 
and half black. She is raising her glass with a 
grandiose air, or else expressing surprise at its 
emptiness — one cannot be sure which. Two other 
glasses at Kensington may be mentioned ; both are 

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beakers, and decorated in enamel colours ; on one, 
a lady and gentleman are again depicted with an 
inscription in white : — 

" Lieb haben inn ehrn 
Kan mir niemanndt wehrn, 

("No one shall prevent my holding love in honour.") 
The other, which is of dark blue transparent glass, 
has a date in two instalments ; the figure i, then 
a piece of ornament, and then the remaining figures 
6oi. The ornament represents a sportsman kneeling 
and taking aim with a blue and yellow gun at a red 
stag with yellow antlers. The stag does not seem in 
the least alarmed. 

A very characteristic and effective feature in some 
old German glass is the use of drops of glass placed 
in regular diagonal order, and each drawn out to 
a more or less blunted point. The light plays in and 
out of these protuberances in the happiest way. The 
more simple the art, the better the effect, as far 
as German glass is concerned. Another form of 
frequent occurrence is the s6-called *' flugelglas," 
probably suggested by Venetian work. This is a 
goblet set upon a high stem, with wide-spreading 
ornamental scrolls to right and left. They are often 
very interesting and picturesque. Eventually, the 
use of enamel decorations tempted the artists to 
indulge in more pictorial designs, and after producing 
some elaborate processions and battle subjects (one 
in the British Museum, dated 1662, represents a 
procession in honour of the birth of Maximilian 
Emanuel, afterwards Elector of Bavaria), the method , 
could not be further elaborated, and died out. Then 
came the clever but ineffective engraved glass. One 

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recognises the skill of Johann Schapper, for instance, 
who produced ornamental engravings of such extreme 
delicacy of execution that they seemed "merely 
like a cloud on the 
glass." But were 
they worth doing ? 

About the year 
1600, Bohemia begins 
to be mentioned for 
its crystal glass, and 
Caspar Lehmann, for 
his ingenuity in cut- 
ting the material. It 
used to be claimed 
for Lehmann that he 
invented glass-cut- 
ting, but that is clearly 
incorrect, for, as we 
have seen, very valu- 
able examples of the 
process exist from 
ancient times. He 
was appointed, about 
1609, lapidary and 
glass-cutter to the 
Emperor Rudolph 11. 
From his workshop at 
Prague came two or 
three scholars, among 
them George Schwan- 
hard, who migrated 
to Nuremberg and Ratisbon, and left two sons, 
George and Henry, to carry on the art. They 
seem to have used both the lapidary's wheel for 

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cutting, and the diamond for etching. Henry 
Schwanhard, about 1670, discovered a method of 
etching on glass by fluoric acid, the ground being 
eaten away and dulled, while the ornament remained 
smooth. He is said to have been led to this idea by 
noticing how his spectacles had been spoilt by being 
accidentally touched with acid. Contemporary with 
Schwanhard, Hermann Schwinger was also working 
at Nuremberg. There is a piece of his work in the 
British Museum. Shown with it are a few specimens 
of Dutch engraved glass, by Greenwood, Adams, and 
Wolf, and some of the curious cypher-engraving — 
long swirls and flourishes, very graceful in line, and 
suggestive of the old writing-master's accomplish- 
ments — by W. von Heemskerk, of Leyden, about 1675. 

Ruby glass was brought into prominence by 
Kunckel, the director of the Potsdam glass-works, 
about 1680. The intensely strong colour was ob- 
tained from gold, a thin layer only being sufficient 
to give a full colour. A very ordinary way of 
utilising this " flashed ware '* (clear glass coated with 
a coloured glass), was to cut through the colour into 
the clear substance. In this way the thin film of colour 
is irradiated by the light striking on the cut facets. 
Bohemian glass is largely imported into this country ; 
most of it seems to be rather over-decorated. Lobmeyr, 
of Vienna, has for many years excelled in the manu- 
facture of glass, especially in engraving and cutting. 

To turn now to France. Here too the oldest glass 
dates from Roman times. The name of Frontinus 
occurs on a barrel-shaped bottle of greenish glass, 
found at Amiens, and now in South Kensington 
Museum ; it dates from the second or third century. 
In the Comarmond Collection at the British Museum 

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are numbers of little flasks in transparent glass of 
different colours ; these are relics of Roman France. 
Occasional references to glass occur during Mero- 
vingian and Carlovingian times, and in the province of 
Poitou there seems to have been an organised industry 
from quite early times. In 1466 it is recorded that 
in payment for permission to collect fern, the ^r] ass- 
workers at La Ferrifere gave the abbess of the Holy 
Cross at Poitiers, twelve dozen glasses and one dozen 
ewers. In 1572, Fabriano Salviati, a gentleman of 
Murano (bearing a name to be afterwards made 
famous), settled in Poitou, and whether due to his influ- 
ence or to others, ornamental glass in Venetian style 
began to be made there. In Provence and Normandy 
also, glass-houses were at work in the thirteenth cen- 
tury. The " Boucault " drinking cup of yellowish glass, 
in the British Museum, is attributed to some manu- 
facturer of Provenge ; it is painted in enamels, and the 
costumes of the figures give it a date of about 1520. 
It bears the names of Jean and Antoinette Boucault 
As early as 1490 the French glass-makers had a 
prescriptive right to the style of "gentilhomme," in 
this respect being as well favoured as those of Venice. 
These privileges of " noblesse" were jealously regarded 
at all times, and remained in force up to this century. 
Many an impoverished Huguenot gentleman took to 
glass-making as a trade that did not disgrace his 
rank. As late as 1746 more than forty "gentils- 
hommes verriers '' of one town in Gascony were 
sent to the galleys for professing the principles of 
the Reformation.* 

* Readers of Du Maurier's " Peter Ibbetson " will remember the 
charming episode of " la belle Verri^re " and the old glass-works at 
Vemy le Moustier. 

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A very celebrated Huguenot, Bernard Palissy, the 
potter, may be mentioned in connection with the art 
of glass. Of course the full story cannot be told here 
of his heroic struggles to acquire the secrets of 
coloured enamels (/.^., glazes) for pottery. He says 
himself in an often-quoted autobiography, that it was 
because his real trade of glass-painting was falling off 
that he turned his attention to the closely related 
study of ceramics. As a young man he combined 
the work of a glazier and painter upon glass with the 
duties of a surveyor. Before marrying and settling 
down at Saintes he had travelled all over France, and 
visited Germany and the Low Countries, acquiring all 
kinds of useful information in the natural sciences. 
His thoughts were frequently turned to the subject of 
pottery, and it seems that only a slight cause was 
needed to induce him to devote his whole attention 
to it. " An earthen cup," he says, " was shown to me 
turned and enamelled of such beauty that henceforth 
I entered into dispute with my own thoughts, bringing 
to my memory several jesting proposals that some 
had made me when I was painting images " {i.e.^ for 
windows). ** Now, seeing they were beginning to give 
them up in the country where I lived, and also that 
glazing was not in great request, I thought that if 
I could discover the invention of making enamels 
I should be able to make vessels of earth and other 
things of beautiful arrangement, because Heaven had 
given me to understand something of painting ; and 
thenceforth, without considering that I had no know- 
ledge of argillaceous earth, I set about seeking 
enamels like a man who gropes in the dark." 

Palissy "groped in the dark'* for some sixteen 
years before he arrived at any degree of success in 

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f ""J^t^^: 


making his enamels — a signal instance of perseverance 
finally overcoming most depressing difficulties. 

Persistent efforts were made from time to time by 
the French to obtain the assistance of Italian glass- 
makers. In the sixteenth century Henri XL estab- 
lished Theseo Mutio at St Germain-en-Laye, In 
1598 two *' gentilshommes verriers," Vincent Basson 
and Thomas Bartholus, natives of Mantua, obtained 
permission to establish themselves at Rouen, in order 
to make "verres de cristal, verres dor^s emaulx, et 
autres ouvrages qui se font i Venise." In 1603 
Henri IV. established works at Paris and Nevers, 
In 1664 Colbert, the famous chief minister under 
Louis XIV., and generous patron of arts and sciences, 
wrote to the French ambassador at Venice, the 
Bishop of B6ziers, asking him to obtain workmen for 
glass-making. The ambassador replied that if it were 
known that he had done so he ran the risk of being 
thrown into the sea. However, in the following year, 
eighteen Venetian glass-makers were bribed and 
brought to Paris, where they began making mirrors 
for the palace of Versailles and elsewhere. Four 
years later Colbert forbade the importation of 
Venetian mirrors. But the foreigners were discon- 
tented, troubles arose, and it looked as if the enter- 
prise might come to nought, when Colbert learned 
that another mirror factory was in existence at 
Tour-la-ville, near Cherbourg, under Richard Lucas, 
Sieur de Nehou, where some men from Strasburg had 
introduced a knowledge of the manufacture, having 
acquired it surreptitiously at Venice. The two 
factories were united, and with royal patronage 
Lucas de Nehou produced looking-glasses that 
rivalled those from Venice. In 1688 the exclusive 



privilege, for thirty years, of making large plates of 
glass by casting (all previous glass plates having been 
produced by blowing, and therefore limited in size), 


was granted to a certain Abraham Thevart It is 
said that this name was only assumed by a syndicate 


formed to develop the ideas of the real inventor, 
Louis Lucas de Nehou, nephew of Richard. Over 
the door of the chapel at Gobain in Picardy is an 
inscription stating that Louis Lucas de Nehou 
invented in 1691 the method of casting glass, and 
installed the manufacture in 1695 in the chateau of 
Saint Gobain, where he died in 1728. The works are 
to this day among the largest in the world. 

The establishment of the Gobain works gave France 
the monopoly of the trade, and for nearly 100 years 
after plate-glass was only to be obtained from the 
French makers. Then some English works were 
started at Ravenhead, in Lancashire, and we began to 
make our own plate. 

Of the old ornamental glass of France not many 
specimens can definitely be determined. There was 
evidently no marked distinctive style. Of late years 
some extremely beautiful glass is being produced at 
Nancy by Emile Gall^ and Messrs. Daum, in which 
novelty of technique is very marked, and an attempt 
made to get away from mere patterning in the design. 
Some of Galld's poetic fancies are almost too fanciful, 
but that is a fault on the right side. There is too 
much mechanical art perpetrated now-a-days, and it 
is refreshing to find something original and thought- 
compelling. Monsieur Galld seeks to amalgamate 
poetry and design, and his innovations have been 
welcomed in official circles, a case of his work finding 
a place in the Luxembourg Gallery in Paris, 

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THE origins of glass-making in Great Britain are 
extremely uncertain. Some antiquaries go so 
far as to say that no glass was made here 
before the sixteenth century, and that all that 
was in use earlier than that date was imported. This 
assertion seems almost too sweeping, for it is difficult 
to believe that the large number of specimens found, 
of all periods, could all have been brought from abroad. 
The finding of beads will prove very Httlei for they 
are easily carried from country to country, and 
among nations not very far advanced in civilisation 
were largely used in barter. The " aggry beads," for 
instance, found in old graves on the Gold Coast of 
Africa, and valued at their own weight in gold, were 
certainly not made there, and remain probably as the 
sole record of some long past trading with Egyptians 
or Phoenicians. Beads, however, have been found in 
British graves, and how they came to be there must 
be left for students to discover. Within a stone- 
sided grave uncovered in a tumulus near Tynwald 
Hill in the Isle of Man, some glass beads were 
found, together with metal ornaments and iron 
weapons ; these seem to betoken a great age. In 
British barrows or funeral mounds, in Roman graves, 

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in the tumuli of the Saxons, have been found beads 
of mixed opaque glass of the Phoenician type, and 
these, it is quite conceivable, were obtained from the 
Phoenician traders. They have been called " Druid's 
beads,'' "snake stones," or " Glain Neidyr" (holy 
snakes), sharing these fantastic names with the adder- 
stonesy which used to be carried as charms against 
snake bites and other wounds. They were believed 
to have been produced actually by a party of snakes 
laying their heads together and hissing merrily, until 
the foam produced was turned into stone. 

We have already mentioned that glass of Roman 
times has been found in London excavations. Similar 
remains have been discovered in many other places 
in England. It is possible that it was all imported, 
but it may reasonably be conjectured that, as in the 
case of pottery, while the finest ware was brought 
from abroad, the commoner kinds were made here, 
either by 'Roman potters or by Britons trained by 
Romans, so with glass. It may not have been worth 
while to make the more elaborate coloured glasses 
here, but it certainly was to make the commoner 
bottles and window glass, for which all suitable 
materials could easily be found. In i860 the remains 
of a glass furnace were found at Buckholt, near the 
Roman road from Winchester to Salisbury, and many 
fragments of glass — green, blue, purple, and white — 
were found. At first it was thought that here had 
been a Roman furnace, but investigation of the frag- 
ments showed that, while some might be Roman, 
others were certainly of the time of Elizabeth or 
later. At Colchester, an important Roman station, 
among the numerous sepulchral remains, a cup (now in 
the Anglo-Roman room at the British Museum) was 

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found with a representation of a chariot race. This 
may perhaps have been made locally — there were 
evidently proper materials for doing so, for in 1295 
and 1300, two glass-makers are enumerated among 
the jurors of the town, and were presumably persons 
of importance. 

Of the glass of Saxon times, there are numerous 


specimens. In Kent, especially, drinking vessels have 
been found in large numbers. So many were dug up 
some years ago at Wodensborough that, in ignorance 
of their value, they were used in a neighbouring farm- 
house as ordinary beer glasses. For the most part, 

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these Saxon glasses are of simple forms, long flasks 
or beakers, with either rounded bases or such small 
feet that they are veritable tumblers, and cannot be 
made to stand upright. The de;corations — such as 
they are — are formed by threads of glass, arranged in 
spirals or irregular diamond shapes. 

We have already mentioned the application from 
Abbot Cuthbert of Wearmouth to the Bishop of 
Mainz for a maker of glass vessels. Eighty years 
before this (about A.D. 675), some French workmen 
are recorded to have gone to Wearmouth to make 
windows for the same monastery. Glass windows, 
however, were not in general use till the fifteenth 
century, and even then the English manufacture does 
not seem to be too highly esteemed, for in 1447 John 
Prudde of Westminster, employed to make some 
windows for the Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick, 
covenants to use no glasse of England, 

It was a long while before table glass was much 
used in England. Vessels of wood, or leather, or 
coarse glazed pottery, served our rough and ready 
forerunners. Here and there, however, a manufactory 
of glass was in existence. We read of one in 1557, 
when Thomas Charnock, in his " Breviary of Philo- 
sophy," says : 

" As for glass-makers, they be scant in the land, 
Yet one there is, as I do understand, 
And in Sussex is now his habitation, 
At Chiddingsfold he works of his occupation/* 

This would seem to be the same maker as he who 
is referred to when in 1574 the Bishop of Chichester 
writes to Lord Burghley that " of very late, aboute 
Petworth, certayne had conference to robbe the 
Frenchemen that make glasse, and to burne there 

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houses, but they be apprehended and punished." A 
century later Fuller states that " coarse glass-making 
was in this county (Sussex) of great antiquity." 
Camden, writing (i$io) of the iron and glass indus- 
tries of Sussex, says : " Neither want here glasse- 
houses, but the glasse there made, by reason of the 
matter or making, I wot not whether, is likewise 
nothing so pure and cleare, and therefore used of the 
common sort onely." [The maps of the counties in 
Camden seem to indicate two glass-houses, one near 
Dunsfold in Surrey, and the other nearer Rudgwick, 
in Sussex ; it would be interesting to know if there 
are any traces of these old works now.] It is not 
surprising that " Venice glasses" were preferred to 
the "green ones blown in Sussex," however "profitable 
to the makers, and convenient to the users thereof," 
the latter may have been. 

Now and then a Venetian galley would bring a 
cargo of glass wares, which would be acquired by the 
well-to-do, and mounted in gold or silver. Such were 
probably the pieces belonging to Henry VIII. In 
1529 "a great glasse" was purchased for the king 
for 53s. 4d., and the year after, another "glasse** for 
45s. — sums equal, perhaps, to twenty to twenty-five 
pounds now-a-days. In the inventory of goods at 
Kenil worth, in 1 588, belonging to the Earl of Leicester, 
are included " tenne glasse dishes, gilte with the 
sinque-foyle on the brims, eight graven dishes of 
glasse aboute the brim, three dozen and four dishe 
glasses, two glass ewers, and twelve beare glasses, 
three with covers." 

Efforts were naturally made to engage Venetians 
to carry on their business here. We have already 
seen how severely the authorities at Venice viewed 

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any attempt to rob their city of the monopoly. Their 
displeasure seems to have followed a party of eight 
glass-makers of Murano, who in 1550 sent a petition 
from London, praying to be excused from the 
penalties denounced against them. The unhappy 
men, not being able to obtain work at Murano, had 
accepted a sum of money to go and work in Flanders 
and England ; they had been seized and imprisoned 
in the Tower, and kept on bread and water, then 
released, only to be held in custody and in fear of the 
gibbet, till they should have worked out the value of 
the money that had been advanced them. The 
Venetian Council of Ten, anxious not to anger our 
English sovereign, thought that under the circum- 
stances the men might remain here for the term of 
their engagement. It is possible that these were the 
makers referred to by Stow, who writes that *'the 
first making of Venice glasses in England began at the 
Crotchet Friars in London, about the beginning of 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by one Jacob Vessaline, 
an Italian." He also records that the Fryar's Hall, 
which had been converted into a glass-house, was, . 
with 40,000 billets of wood, burnt down in 1575. 
In 1580, Queen Elizabeth granted a fresh patent to a 
Venetian for making Venetian glass in Crutched 
Friars. We learn that owing to the representations 
of some fifty persons, then belonging to a London 
Glass-Sellers Association, the patent limited the sale 
of the foreigner's wares to his own works. In 1565 a 
Cornelius de Lannoy is mentioned as making experi- 
ments for Sir William Cecil, apparently, for want of 
good crucibles, without much success ; " the potters 
cannot make him one pot to content him : they know 
not howe to seasson their stuff to make the same to 

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susteyne the force of his great fyers.*' Two years 
after, Pierre Briet and Jean Quarre obtained permission 
to make "table glasse as is used here for glasing, 
brought hither out of Burgundy, Lovayn, and France," 
and in 1 568 asked leave to cut wood and make char- 
coal in Windsor Park. Other Flemings, Protestant 
refugees, also came over and started window-glass 
works in London, Stourbridge, and Newcastle-on- 
Tyne, and in 1614 Bernard van Linge, a celebrated 
glass painter, began to work here. In 1589 George 
Longe, petitioning for letters patent, states that there 
were fifteen glass-houses in England. 

What with our numerous iron foundries and the 
growing importance of glass-making, the supplies of 
wood for fuel would soon be exhausted, and in 161 5 
it was necessary to proclaim that no more wood 
should be used, but sea coal or pit coal only. About 
1 6 16 Sir Robert Mansel bought out several other 
patentees, and appears to have attempted to mono- 
polise the trade. He must have been a much-worried 
man. He erected furnaces in London, the isle of 
Purbeck, at Milford Haven, and on the Trent, all of 
which failed ; at Newcastle-on-Tyne only did he 
succeed. In 1624 he was specially exempted from 
the Act of Parliament which forbade monopolies, and 
he should have been protected by other ordinances 
which prohibited the importation of foreign glass. 
But these were evaded ; Venetian glass still continued 
to be brought in, and while he was away at Algiers, 
the House of Commons declared his patent void. 
Then his men were bribed to leave him and work in 
Scotland, and he had to buy up the Scotch works at 
;^25o per annum. When he got his men back again 
they made such " ill-conditioned " glass that he had 

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to obtain a whole company from Mantua. Then his 
clerk absconded and began to send in glass from 
France, until that was stopped. Altogether, by the 
year 1634, Sir Robert was ;£"30,ooo out of pocket 
before the manufacture could be perfected, and as 
soon as he was producing his best looking-glass and 
spectacle plate-glass at reasonable prices, his men 
were again leaving him for Scotland, and he was 
threatened with competition in Ireland. Here this 
troubled story of a patentee terminates ; at the 
Restoration in 1660 several persons asked for a 
renewal of Mansel's patent, but apparently without 

A queer relic of about this time may be seen at the 
British Museum in a panel of thick green glass from 
a house at Purfleet; it has the head of Charles 11. 
moulded upon it, and its use is not very apparent. 
In the Guildhall Museum are several wine bottles and 
flasks of this period, some having the owners' badges 
or names applied like seals. In the British Museum 
are some fragments of seventeenth century common 
wine bottles found in the bed of the Thames, and 
glorying in very vivid iridescent colours. 

The use of coal for fuel made it necessary to use 
melting pots closed at the top, and this in turn may 
have led to the large proportion of oxide of lead that 
about the time of ManseFs patents came to be used 
as a constituent of the glass, flint-glass or crystal 
being the name given to this description. M. Peligot, 
a French authority on glass, says that " to the English 
should really be attributed the honour of having 
created in their flint-glass a new product, which, by 
the progress made in the quality and selection of the 
materials used in its fabrication has become, without 

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dispute, the most beautiful glassy substance which 
we know, and which it may be possible to pro- 

A glimpse of the condition of the industry at the 
commencement of Charles II.'s reign is obtained in 
1664, when the London Company of Glass-sellers 
(which had apparently had an unofficial existence for 
many years) on the plea of abuses in the trade for 
want of proper control, obtained a charter from the 
king. Grinding, polishing, casing, foyling (foil for 
backing looking-glasses), and finishing are mentioned, 
and the patent rights of " Thomas Tilson of London, 
Merchant," are specially reserved to him for the sole 
making of crystal glasses, and plate and other glass 
for mirrors, coach windows, etc. Proud of their 
new charter, the glass-sellers seem to have offended 
the City Court of Aldermen by presuming to 
create a livery without proper licence, and it was not 
until 17 1 2 that the Company assumed a livery 
of 60 members. It never seems to have had its 
full complement, and although still in existence, 
it is one of the smallest and poorest of the City 
companies. Of the older association of Glaziers, we 
shall speak when we come to deal with the subject of 

About the year 1673 flint-glass plates for looking- 
glasses and coach windows were being made at 
Lambeth by Venetian workmen under the patronage 
of the Duke of Buckingham. They were visited 
some four years later by Evelyn, who wrote: "We 
also saw the Duke of Buckingham's glass-works, 
where they make huge vases of metall as cleare, 
ponderous, and thick as chrystal ; also looking-glasses 
far larger and better than any that come from 

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Venice."* There would also appear to have been an 
independent colony at Greenwich, for Evelyn else- 
where records (in 1673): "Thence to the Italian 
glass-houses at Greenwich, where glass was blown of 
finer metal than that of Murano at Venice/' The 
Lambeth-made mirrors are not infrequently met with 
in old houses ; possibly some of the elaborately 
bordered and bevelled pier glasses still in Hampton 
Court Palace came from Lambeth. 

Evelyn mentions the flint-glass again on the lOth 
of February, 1685, when, after King James's titles had 
been proclaimed by the sheriff at Bromley, to the 
" many shouts of the people, His Majesty's health 
being drunk in a flint glasse of a yard long, by the 
sheriff", commander, officers, and cheife gentlemen, 
they all dispersed." 

The cruel Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 16S5 
had the effect of driving thousands of artisans out of 
France to seek a shelter on these friendly shores, and 
among them were many glass-workers. Their arrival 
made a great difference in the amount and quality of 
the wares produced; in fact, as Mr. Pellatt has 
pointed out, it is clear that the influx of the 
Huguenots must have almost revolutionised the 
industry. Most of the technical terms used in glass- 
making betoken a French origin. " Thus, the * found ' 
is the melting of the materials into glass, from the 
French word fondre. The 'siege* is the place or 
seat in which the crucible stands. The 'kinney' is 
the corner of the furnace, probably from coin or 
^i — — 

* These works continued under the firm of Dawson, Bowles & Ca 
until 1780, when disputes about wages occurred and the whole business 
was stopped. The glass-houses occupied the site ofVauxhall S<]uare 
now almost obliterated by the railway. 

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* .^^^^n 


cheminie. The 'journey,' denoting the time of 
making glass from the beginning of the 'found' is 
obviously from joum/e. The * foushart/ or fork used 
to move the sheet of glass into the annealing-kiln, is 
from fourchette. The * marmore * is the slab, formerly 
of marble, but now of iron, on which the ball of hot 
glass is rolled. And so on with *cullet' {coule — 
glass run off, or broken glass), 'pontil' (^pointie); 
and other words obviously of French and Flemish 
origin." An Abraham Thavenart is mentioned as 
establishing in England soon after the Revocation 
some works for the making of plate-glass for mirrors. 
The name is very like that of the syndicate of 1688 
already mentioned when speaking of French plate- 

The Tatler in August, 17 10, has a reference to the 
Whitefriars' Glass-works now carried on by Messrs. 
Powell, and originally started about 1700: "At the 
flint-glass house in White Fryars near the Temple 
are made and sold by wholesale or retale all sorts of 
Decanthers, drinking glasses, Crewits, etc., or glasses 
made to any pattern of the best flint at I2d. per 

During last century the Bristol glass had some 
reputation. It was chiefly of a white opaque body, 
decorated in enamels in the style of the white salt- 
glazed ware or the earliest English porcelain, and has 
the somewhat limited range of effect and poorness of 
design that characterised the enamel painting of the 
period. Pieces of it may be seen in the Geological 
Museum and in South Kensington Museum. In the 
Schreiber collection at the latter museum are some 
pretty little objects in transparent glass of about the 
same period : bodkin cases, scent bottles, patch-boxes. 

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and similar trifles. Most of these are in transparent 
coloured glass — blue, purple or ruby ; sometimes cut, 
the greater number gilded and enamelled in little 
patternings. At the Geological Museum is a piece 
in dark green transparent glass made at Nailsea, with 
splashes of opaque milk-white in it. 

The era of cut glass seems to have had no definite 
beginning. There were early symptoms of the 
fashion towards the close of the seventeenth century; 
during the eighteenth, it was ripening ; at the com- 
mencement of this century cut glass was rampant. 
The heavier the make, the more handsome the piece 
was considered ; great masses of heavy flint glass cut 
into sharp aggressive angles and knobs and bosses 
were thought to be the acme of taste and beauty. 
Do we not all know the enormous cut glass orna- 
ments of the early Victorian sideboard, the jingling 
trophies of lustres hung from some strange perpetra- 
tion of cut and facetted ruby glass, and all protected 
from the air by an enormous dome of glass — a shade 
it is called ? The culmination of cut glass ingenuity 
was reached in the enormous glittering pendant called 
a theatre lustre, which has to be suspended by strong 
chains through a hole in the ceiling, and which one 
sits under with fear and trembling lest the whole 
thing should come shattering down into the stalls. 
Hardly less ingenious, and much more difficult to 
make, was the glass fountain of the 1851 Exhibition, 
in Hyde Park. (It is now at the Crystal Palace, 
Sydenham.) One reads without much sympathy that 
the greatest difficulties had to be overcome in con- 
structing this glittering marvel. The casting of such 
large sections of glass was extremely hazardous, and 
the waste in spoiled pieces considerable. The 

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annealing — lasting six or seven days — and the 
subsequent grinding and cutting filled everyone 
concerned with the greatest anxiety. There were 
four tons of crystal glass and three of flint used, in 
its construction, the principal dish measuring eight 
feet across, and weighing, before cutting, nearly a ton. 
Very few people of taste then seemed to consider that 
after all a shape that could be blown was perhaps the 
most suitable for vessels both for domestic use and 
for ornamental purposes, and that this extremely 
clever cutting might be overdone. But alas, a further 
ingenuity was possible. The manufacturer said to 
himself, "The great public wants to have cut 
glass ; it is costly and difficult to make ; it takes long 
to do and skilled men to do it. I will make a model 
of a piece, with plenty of cutting upon it. I will 
mould this, and press out hundreds of pieces like it, 
and there you are ! Cut glass, cheap and . . ." Let 
us record sadly that pressed glass is an American 

But we are beginning to see now that the ordinary 
operations of glass-blowing can produce forms of 
simple beauty and appropriateness, and our manu- 
facturers are finding some encouragement in turning 
once more to blown glass for their best effects. 
With some of our makers flint glass itself is given up 
as being altogether too colourless and cold, with a 
brilliance too hard and glittering. To obtain softer 
effects they resort to the lighter glass made with soda 
and lime. In this, although there is a slight coloura- 
tion, the limpid quality of the material is very 
pleasant Messrs. Powell & Son, of Whitefriars, are 
now relying very largely on the soda-lime glass for 
their better table wares, and extremely beautiful it is, 


and so delightfully simple in form and finish. The 
" Clutha " glass made by Couper & Sons, of Glasgow, 
while not pretending to such high finish, is full of 
character and quaintness, and the little specks, and 
bubbles, and general colour all tend to render the 
shape visible. By no means let us be understood to 
plead for imperfections. At the same time, in the 
attempt to gain mechanical perfection, too often the 
art vanishes. An artist is very often happier when 


he is allowing for and utilising the apparent defects 
in his materials than when, hampered by their very 
perfectness, he essays some superlatively faultless and 
conscientiously correct masterpiece. 

Whatever William Morris had to say on decorative 
art is worth listening to. His influence will not soon 
die, for if there has been a renaissance in recent years 
in the arts of design, not only of England but abroad, 
it has been largely due to Morris and those who have 



worked with him. In his lecture on the " Lesser Arts 
of Life," he says : — 

" Now as to the art of making glass vessels. It is 
on much the same footing as the potter's craft Never 
till our own day has an ugly or stupid glass vessel 
been made ; and no wonder, considering the capabili- 
ties of the art. In the hands of a good workman the 


metal is positively alive, and is, you may say, coaxing 
him to make something pretty. Nothing but 
commercial enterprise capturing an unlucky man and 
setting him down in the glass-maker's chair with his 
patterns beside him (which I should think must gener- 
ally have been originally designed by a landscape 
gardener; — nothing but this kind of thing could 



turn out ugly glasses. ... In speaking of glass-work, 
It is a matter of course that I am only thinking of 
that which is blown and worked by hand ; moulded 
and cut glass may have commercial, but can't have 
artistic value. As to the material of the glass vessels, 
that is a very important point. Modern managers 
have worked very hard to get their glass colourless ; 
it does not seem to me that they have quite succeeded. 

' I should say that their 
glass was cold, and 
bluish in colour ; but 
whether or not, their 
aim was wrong. A 
slight tint is an advan- 
tage in the metal, so 
are slight specks and 
streaks, for these things 
make the form visible. 
The modern managers 

' of glass-works have 
taken enormous pains 
to get rid of all colour 
in their glass ; to get it 
so that when worked 
into a vessel it shall 
not show any slightest 
speck or streak ; in fact, 
they have toiled to take all character out of the metal, 
and have succeeded ; and this in spite of the universal 
admiration for the Venice glass of the seventeenth 
century, which is both specked and streaky, and has 
visible colour in it. This glass of Venice or Murano 
is most delicate in its form, and was certainly meant 
quite as much for ornament as use ; so you may be 

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sure that if the makers of it had seen any necessity 
for getting more mechanical perfection in their metal 
they would have tried for it and got it ; but like all 
true artists, they were contented when they had a 
material that served the purpose of their special craft, 
and would not weary themselves in seeking after 
what they did not want. And I feel sure that if they 
had been making glass for ordinary table use at a low 
price, and which ran more risks of breakage, as they 
would have had to fashion their vessels thicker and 
less daintily, they would have been contented with a 
rougher metal than that which they used. Such a 
manufacture yet remains to be set on foot, and I very 
much wish it could be done ; only it must be a fnanu- 
facture ; must be done by hand, and not by machine, 
human or otherwise." 

One or two sentences in the foregoing are calcu- 
lated to make the hair of the average glass-maker 
stand on end, and to excite his forcible comment. 
Allowing, however, for Morris's characteristic energy 
of expression, one has no difficulty in seeing the 
reasonableness of his contention in this as in all his 
sayings, that to produce beautiful things, the maker 
^ must himself be an artist, a free craftsman pleased 
with his work. 

As in Venice the secrets of the old Venetian and 
Roman glass were one by one re-discovered and the 
processes revived, so in this country there has been 
a successful endeavour to equal or excel the best 
work of past ages. Several names of manufacturers 
are honourably mentioned in the histories of the art. 
Messrs. Bacchus & Sons of Birmingham were among 
the first to revive the Murano twisted and filigree 
work. The first canary-coloured glass is also said 

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to have been made by them on the discovery of the 
peculiar colouring properties of uranium. Messrs. 
Green of London, Copeland, Naylor, and Pellatt & 
Company, Messrs, Osier of Birmingham, Messrs. 
Richardson and Messrs. Webb & Sons of Stour- 
bridge, have all been noted for various excellences 
of workmanship. Mr. Apsley Pellatt's work on 
" The Curiosities of Glass-making " was published 
in 1849, and is often referred to by writers on the 

In Scotland, the first glass was made at Wemyss 
during the reign of James VI., and possibly by some 
of the Flemish refugees. There was plenty of scope 
for their efforts. Glass at that time was so scarce 
that a window of glass was a rarity. At Alnwick 
Castle it is recorded that when the Duke of North- 
umberland was away, the steward was accustomed to 
take out the glazed windows and hide them away till 
the owner returned. Even in the middle of the seven- 
teenth century only the principal apartments of the 
royal palace had glass. Earlier in that century there 
were the works with which Sir Robert Mansel was 
connected. About 1620, John Maria DeirAcqua, of 
Venice, is spoken of as master of the Scotch works. 
About 1680, glass was being manufactured at Leith. 
By the end of the century, the industry was evidently 
important enough to be endowed with a monopoly. 
The Newcastle glass-makers having landed at 
Montrose no less than 2600 dozen of bottles, the Lords 
of the Scottish Privy Council empowered the Leith 
Glass Company to seize all such English wares and 
bring them in for his majesty's use. 

During the eighteenth century the trade seems to 
have fluctuated considerably. A writer in an Edin- 

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burgh journal of 1792 says that thirty years before 
there was only one glass company in Scotland, the 
hands working for half the year in Glasgow and the 
other half at Leith. They were then making only 
bottles of coarse green glass. About 1790, it appears 
that crown glass for windows, cut glass, and gems 
were being made by the Glass House Company, and 
several other works at Leith and elsewhere were in 
operation. The Glass House Company had its own 
armed ships, so harassed were our coasts at that time 
by French privateers ; one of them, the PhceniXy had 
the reputation of being one of the swiftest sailers in 
Leith, and was always advertised to sail with or 
without convoy as she fought her own way. There 
were difficulties, certainly, in those days in the way 
of commercial transactions. A record of the Jacobite 
times may be seen in the Schreiber Collection at 
South Kensington, in the goblets engraved with a 
rose and two rosebuds, emblematic of James H. and 
the Old and Young Pretenders, or with a portrait of 
Prince Charlie in tartan dress. These must be Scotch 
work of the last century. 

A special kind of work that ought to be mentioned 
is the manufacture of artificial gems as revived by 
James Tassie at the end of the last century. A native 
of Pollokshaws, near Glasgow, he, like many another 
Scotch artist, moved to London, and acquiring a 
reputation for his skill in imitating in glass all kinds 
of cameo and intaglio antique gems, was offered such 
facilities by the owners of them as to be able to form 
a collection of upwards of 15,000. More important, 
however, than these copies were his original portraits 
in cameo of famous contemporaries, and these are now 
eagerly sought for by collectors. 

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We must mention now, but very briefly, the efforts 
that have been made in recent years in England 
to revive the art of glass mosaic. As already men- 
tioned, the Venetian firm of Salviati was for a certain 
period of the Gothic revival entrusted with the 
making of numerous panels of mosaic for our 
cathedrals and churches. The designs may have 
been — generally were— supplied by English artists, 
but the work was done at Venice and sent here to 
be fixed. On the upper walls of the South Court 
in South Kensington Museum there is an interesting 
series of mosaic panels representing famous artists 
of old and modem times. The panels are plainly 
in several different styles, of which those executed 
in ceramic mosaic need not be detailed here. Of 
those in glass mosaic, several were done by Salviati ; 
these were "Pisano," designed by Lord Leighton, 
" Giorgione,'' by Prinsep, and "Era G. D'Ulma," 
by Westlake. Sir E. J. Poynter's two panels of 
"Phidias" and "Apelles," and one of "Delia Robbia" 
by Moody, were made by Harland, Fisher & Com- 
pany. The panel of " Inigo Jones," designed by 
A. Morgan, was executed by Simpson & Sons, and 
one of " Palissy," designed by Townroe, by Mr. Jesse 
Rust. The gold grounds are worth noticing ; those 
in the Salviati panels are almost too well done, they 
are so perfect and flat as to be like a continuous 
sheet of glass against which the figure looks cut out 
and dark. This flatness is such as might arise from 
the mosaic being worked upside down upon a level 
bed, the plan usually adopted where the mosaics are 
executed in a workshop, and not direct upon the 
wall. Mr. Rust, who was responsible for one of the 
panels, had several important works in hand about 

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that time,* and while primarily a maker of ordinary 
blown glass, was devoting a good deal of time and 
trouble to the manufacture of a glass mosaic for 
floors. This material — coarse and granular in com- 
position but very effective in colour and, of course, 
extremely durable — was used, among other places, in 
some of the courts of South Kensington Museum. 

The present president of the Royal Academy has 
interested himself in mosaic work on more than one 
occasion. One of his earliest designs was for a panel in 
the Houses of Parliament, the subject being St. George 
of England with accompanying figures of Fortitude 
and Purity. It was contemplated that other panels 
in the lobby should be similarly treated, but this was 
the only one actually carried out The cartoon 
hangs in South Kensington Museum. Following upon 
this, the authorities at South Kensington sent him to 
Venice to study the mosaics at St Mark's, with a view 
to his preparing a design for the decoration of the 
half-dome over the Lecture Theatre. The design 
was duly made, and there the matter ended. The 
dome still shows an expanse of cement, and the 
design, painted upon a model made to scale, may be 
seen in the museum. It is very elaborate, and com- 
prises numerous figures of great artists and men of 
science, figures of the Muses, Truth, and Beauty, etc. 
Why was the scheme never carried out ? At a later 
date. Sir E. J. toynter was consulted about the 
decoration of St. Paul's Cathedral, and prepared 

* Among others, some small panels over the altar at Westminster 
Abbey. The present writer may be pardoned for mentioning that, as 
a small boy, he helped to put some of the tesserae in place, and remem- 
bers still the weird effect of working on into the dusk while listening 
to the choir at practice away down the darkened church. 

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designs for certain parts. The great opportunity of 
decorating Wren's masterpiece has now fallen, how- 
ever, to the hands of Sir W. B. Richmond, R.A., who, 
in selecting glass mosaic as the medium, made by 
an English maker, and fixed by English mosaic 
workers, has inaugurated a monumental work of truly 
national importance. The eight spandrels under the 
" Whispering Gallery " had already been filled with 
mosaics executed by Salviati. Four of these repre- 
senting the Four Greater Prophets, from designs by 
Alfred Stevens, the designer of the famous Wellington 
Monument, were done many years ago ; the other four 
of the Evangelists (two designed by G. F. Watts, R. A., 
and two by W. F. Britten), comparatively recently. 
Their effect is rather disappointing ; their smoothness 
of execution has robfbed them of all life and brilliancy, 
and they look dull compared with the more gorgeous 
v\rork that may now be seen within the choir. 

Devoting the greater part of his time and attention 
to the task. Sir W. B. Richmond has, since 1891, been 
almost continuously engaged in designing and super- 
intending the filling of the panels left by Wren in the 
interior design of the choir and apse of the cathedral. 
A study of the old Italian mosaics, and especially 
those of Ravenna, had convinced him that their 
manner of execution was the best, and that the smooth 
modern work was a mistake. After making one or 
two trials in his own studio upon panels which were 
afterwards fixed up bodily, he came to the conclusion 
that the work must be done direct upon the prepared 
surfaces of walls and domes — a much more difficult 
way of course, but one that permitted him to gauge 
the effect as the work went on. By this means, he 
eventually found it possible, and indeed advisable, to 


simplify both designs and workmanship, and while 
the portions first finished can hardly be distinguished 
owing to the smallness of the details, and the confused 
blur of the numerous shades of colour used, the later 
work is much bolder in scale, and more vivid and 
brilliant in colour, using not many more than fifty 
tints as against one hundred and fifty at the first. All 
the tesserae are set in very roughly as regards level, 
so that the light sparkles from their varying facets. 
The glass is made by Messrs. Powell of Whitefriars, 
and up to Easter 1896, over ten tons weight had been 
used, cut up into millions of tesserae set into some- 
thing like twelve tons of mastic cement. In the 
domes, this cement adheres to the original brickwork, 
the old plaster covering being removed ; where the 
new mosaic is laid on the stonework, this has had to 
be cut out to a depth of three-quarters of an inch, so 
that the finished surface gives the same plane as 
before. No change has been made in the mouldings 
and rather heavy carvings left by Sir Christopher 
Wren, although their forms somewhat hampered Sir 
W. B. Richmond. Their harsh effect has, however, 
been softened by judicious painting over in encaustic 
colours, and there is now a general harmony between 
architecture and decoration. This is certainly a 
milder solution of the difficulty than that suggested 
by the late William Burges, who, when preparing 
designs some twenty years ago, was of opinion that 
the proper way to decorate St. Paul's was to strip off all 
the mouldings inside, and cover the whole surface with 
gold mosaic, in the style of St. Mark's at Venice. That 
St. Paul's is not Byzantine in architecture, it is hardly 
necessary to observe, and Burges's idea was of course 

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It may be interesting to note the general plan of 
the subjects selected for the St. Paul's mosaics, and 
then we must leave this fascinating subject. As with 
so many of the Roman basilicas, the dominant figure 
is that of our Lord in Majesty, which fills the centre 
panel of the apse, and is visible to the extreme end of 
the church. In the panels to right and left are the 
Recording Angels of the Judgment In the windows 
which break into these spaces, and which have been 
filled with new glass of extremely fine colour, are 
represented the Four-and-twenty Elders, with the 
Archangel Michael and other angels. To right and 
left of the apse .are panels of Noah's Sacrifice, and 
Melchizedek blessing Abram. In the main arcades of 
the choir, and going from west to east, the spandrels 
have the Creation, the Expulsion from Paradise, the 
Annunciation, Adam and Eve in Paradise, and angels 
bearing the instruments of the Passion. In the panels 
of the attic order over the north and south halves of 
the organ are two of the most brilliant pieces of 
colour in the cathedral. They represent Adam in the 
garden of Eden with a lion and lioness, and Eve with 
tigers and peacocks. Lest any should say that these 
representations of the " human form divine " are inad- 
missible upon the walls of a sacred edifice, however 
dignified and reverent the treatment (as here), one 
might argue that if created things may be depicted 
at all, the noblest work of the Creation ought to find a 
place, and that if it is permissible to represent the 
circumstances of the Redemption of man, it should 
also be possible to suggest the need of it as symbo- 
lised by the Fall of our first parents. 

The smaller panels to the eastward of those last 
mentioned are filled with ornamental arrangements of 


beasts, fishes, and birds, and at the extreme east 
adjoining the apse, the subject of the Sea giving up its 
Dead. The spaces in the clerestory on either side of 
the windows are filled with figure subjects. On the 
north side these represent the " ancient world looking 
forward to the Coming of Christ," as suggested by 
Abraham, Job, Cyrus, Alexander the Great, the Persian 
and the Delphic Sibyls. On the south side are " the 
earliest visions of the House of God " in figures of 
Jacob, Moses, Bezaleel, Aholiab, Solomon, and David. 
The pendentives or triangular spaces between the 
main ribs of the vault, are each filled by a huge 
angel with extended arms, and the three saucer-shaped 
domes with representations of the creation of beasts, 
fishes, and birds. The design of these is remarkably 
ingenious, and one would like to see them from a 
nearer standpoint than the floor. 

The general effect of this great scheme of decora- 
tion is remarkably rich, and it is to be hoped that the 
Dean and Chapter, now that a grand commencement 
has been made, will be enabled to utilise the services 
of Sir W. B. Richmond in clothing with beauty the 
vacant spaces of the rest of the cathedral. Thus 
eventually there may be realised Wren's own idea, as 
recorded by his grandson : " The judgment of the 
surveyor " (Wren's official title) " was originally, 
instead of painting in the manner it is now performed, 
to have beautified the inside of the cupola with the 
more durable ornament of Mosaick work, as is nobly 
executed in the cupola of St. Peter's, in Rome, which 
strikes the eye of the beholder with a most magnificept 
and splendid appearance, and which, without the 
least decay of colours, is as lasting as marble or the 
building itself." 

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THE delightful old English window, with its 
diamond-shaped panes twinkling in the light 
as the casement swings open — where may one 
see it now? Here and there in the country 
cottage or farmhouse one may find a cobwebbed 
specimen or so, or in the hall or manor-house a quaint 
painted quarrie with delicate pencilling in brown or 
yellow. But for the most part, the yawning hole in 
the wall, the dreadful vacancy of the sheet of plate- 
glass, the convenient tameness of the sash window — 
these have taken away a good deal of the picturesque- 
ness of mediaeval times, and we, in our ignorance of 
what is amiss, are left to solace ourselves with chromo- 
lithographic transfer sheets, with names as dreadful 
as their designs, or with "cathedral-tinted" glass of 
the most excruciating colours. 

Could we attain to the simplicity of the old work 
we should be much happier. A window is not merely 
a hole in the wall ; it is a part of the room, and the 
bars and lead-lines remind us of the existence of the 
house walls that shelter us. On the other hand, a 
great sheet of invisible glass only tempts us to walk 
through it, floods the room with a glare of light, and 



looks as cold and comfortless as it is modem and 
uninspiring. Our Elizabethan 

house-builders were not 
afraid of light, but they A 
fortunately were un- yS 

able to obtain very 
large sheets of glass. 
Their window >-, 

lights are usu- <: |^*^ 
ally of small '^^^^v 
proportions arid 


grouped in numbers together, interest being ^often 
gained by the patterns formed in " leading up *' the 


small pieces of glass. In Lancashire and Cheshire 
many of the old timber-framed houses still retain their 
original glazing. At Little Moreton Hall, in the 
latter county, one may read, carved in the solid oak 
of the unique bay windows : — 






A good example of the elaborate planning of 
windows might have been seen till recently in 
Bishopsgate Street, where Sir Paul Pindar's house 
stood until it was removed to make way for the 
Great Eastern Railway terminus. It was partly 
re-erected in South Kensington Museum, and as far as 
the outside goes, can now be studied in quieter 
surroundings than it had towards the end of its 
existence in Bishopsgate. But the elaborate plaster 
work of mantelpiece and ceilings had to be destroyed, 
and the view of the windows from within can no 
longer be had. 

Now and then one comes across an old window — 
generally a cellar window — where the panes have 
been filled with bull's-eyes, " roundels," or the waste 
centres left from the discs of crown glass after cutting 
all the possible rectangular pieces from them. The 
manufacture of crown glass has now practically been 
given up in favour of sheet glass, and so no more 


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bull's eyes are available. But a certain quaintness 
about them has led in these days of modem antiques 
to their being asked for once more, and they are now- 
made specially for insertion in "artistic" windows. 
Bottle ends have been made to serve a similar pur- 
pose, and something of the sort may be seen repre- 
sented in drawings by Albert Durer and other German 

The patterns of ''leading" were no doubt tradi- 
tional with the old glaziers, and do not greatly vary 
throughout the country. The oldest book dealing 
with the trade was issued by Walter Gedde in 161 5, 
under the title of " A Booke of Svndry Draughtes, 
Principaly serving for Glasiers : And not Impertinent 
for Plasterers and Gardiners/' 

In the same year the London Glaziers, who had for 
many years previously existed as a Fellowship or Guild, 
were empowered by the Common Council to control 
all persons using the Art of Glazing within the city 
and Liberties, and strict rules were laid down for the 
binding of apprentices to none but "free" glaziers. 
Formal incorporation did not take place till 1638, 
although the Craft had sufficient standing in 1627 for 
the Wardens to be committed to Newgate Prison on 
account of failing to pay an assessment toward a loan 
to the Crown. The charter changed the "ancient 
Fraternity of the Mistery or Art of Glaziers '' into a 
body "corporate and politic by the name of the 
Wardens and Commonalty of the Mistery or Art of 
Glaziers and Painters of Glass." The company still 
exists in the city, but has no hall, and possesses no 
great wealth. 

It was a very usual custom in feudal times for those 
who possessed coats-of-arms to have them represented 

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in the windows of their halls. Many of these may 
still be seen, though doubtless hundreds have dis- 
appeared — carelessly lost during alterations to the 
houses or with changes of ownership. Where intact 
they are often of great value to the historian, to say 
nothing of their artistic interest. Bolingbroke, in 
Shakespeare's " Richard II." addressing his prisoners, 
says : — 

"... you have fed upon my signories, 
Dispark'd my parks, and fell'd my forest woods ; 
From my own windows torn my household coaty 
Raz'd out my impress, leaving me no sign, — 
Save men's opinions, and my living blood — 
To show the world I am a gentleman." 

Almost every record of household expenses that 
has been saved from the Middle Ages will have some 
items relating to the windows, and they afford quaint 
rieading. At Hampton Court Palace the accounts 
state that " Galyon Hone the Kynges glasier," in 
the year 1534, put "in the two great wyndowys 
at the ends of the haull two great armys, with four 
beestes in them at 6s. '8d. the pece ; also in the said 
wyndows in the haull 30 of the Kynges and Quenys 
armys, pryce the pece, 4s. ; also 46 badges of the 
Kynges and the Quenys, pryce the pece, 3s. ; also 
T7 scryptors with the Kynges worde, pryce the pece, 

1 2d." 

None of these old " armys *' now remain. All the 
stained glass now in the Great Hall is modern, and 
was put in by Willement between 1840 and 1846, but 
the same idea was carried out by him, and the huge 
windows are once more filled with coats -of- arms, 
badges, and " beasts " of everyone connected in any 
way with Henry VIH. 

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But we must leave these 

"... chambers and parlers of a sorte, 
With bay windows, goodly as may be thought, 
As for daunsing and other wise disport ; 
The galeries right well ywrought," 

and turn from Chaucer's picture to the other great 
division of window glass with which we have to deal : 
the stained or painted glass such as we see in church 

Here is a subject about which much has been 
written, and which might have easily filled the whole 
of our space. We shall, however, only be able to 
skim the surface, and must refer those who are 
interested to the numerous works that deal with it in 

Decorated glass for windows falls into two main 
classes, stained and painted. The earliest coloured 
windows were mostly of stained glass ; as time went 
on it became usual to help the effects by painting ; 
during last century, reliance was almost altogether 
placed on painting. Most windows now combine 
both methods. The glass stained or coloured through- 
out its substance is known as/^/ metal, and a window 
formed by a mosaic of such glass will be more 
brilliant than where any painting has been added. 
Glass painting is executed with opaque enamel 
colours containing a certain amount of fusible material 
or flux which is melted by heat and adheres to the 
surface of the glass, interfering of course more or less 
with the light passing through. As the purpose 
of a window is generally to transmit light, the opacity 
caused by too much enamel painting is clearly out of 

In building up a window the general method 

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adopted is to make a tracing from the full size 
cartoon by the artist. This tracing will have upon it 
the dividing lines or "lead-lines," which the artist 
will, of course, have arranged for from the first. 


Designers now, as a rule, are not afraid of the lead- 
lines ; they are an essential condition of the method 
of construction, and being absolutely indispensable 
are best worked into the design. At one period of 
bad art, it was considered correct to do without the 
lead lines as much as possible, and use the biggest 
sheets of glass obtainable. Pieces of coloured or 
plain glass are selected for the spaces indicated by 

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the tracing, and a glazier cuts them to the exact 
shapes. Any outlines then required by painting are 
pencilled on the pieces and fixed by heat in the 
" first fire." The pieces of glass are next placed in 
their correct positions upon an easel of glass, lighted 
from the back, and the shadows and background 
stain painted on. If any variations of colour are 
required to represent folds of drapery and so on, 
some attempt is made when selecting the pieces of 
glass at first to pick out those with natural markings 
and veins, but these are very rarely complete or exact 
enough, and the details have to be painted on. 
Having been fired once more, the fragments are put 
together upon the tracing, and leaded up with narrow 
grooved strips of lead soldered at every crossing, and 
further solidified by cement i-ubbed into the grooves. 
The window is then ready for fixing, requiring only 
to be stiffened in position by the iron stay bars and 
cross-bars to which it is attached by loops of stout 

As we have said, the lead lines have at one time 
been considered objectionable. It was thought that 
they interfered with the pictorial effect of the paint- 
ing. But there was here a double mistake. First of 
all, windows should not be pictures, and those artists 
— the Munich school, for instance — who attempt to 
make a window look like an oil painting, are attempt- 
ing an impossibility, and one that would not look 
well were it successful. And in the second place, as 
it must be clear to everyone that different colours in 
glass are obtained by using different pieces and are 
put together as a kind of mosaic, the joining up 
ought to be frankly acknowledged. It is so for the 
most part now ; in fact, some extremely conscientious 

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designers go to the opposite extreme, and entertaining 
an exaggerated respect for the lead lines make almost 
too much of them, till you begin to wonder where the 
glass is. 

Stained glass may be described as especially a 
Gothic art. Its rise and growth coincided with the 
development of Gothic architecture, and when the 
latter decayed and died out, the art of stained glass 
too waned and suffered extinction. The means of 
painting on glass were not unknown in antiquity, as 
we have seen, but it does not seem clear that for 
windows any extensive use of the knowledge was 
made before the eleventh or twelfth centuries. Then 
with the change from Norman or Romanesque 
architecture to the first of the Gothic styles there 
begins a very characteristic school of window design. 
Although stiff and angular in drawing, the figures are 
expressive and tell their story effectively ; the colours 
are few, red and blue being predominant tones. The 
painting is of the simplest ; the outlines are very 
strong, and sometimes wider than the leads. The 
figure subjects are arranged in medallions, the spaces 
between being filled with conventional foliage, built 
up in small pieces of glass with a kaleidoscopic effect. 
Some of the windows in Canterbury Cathedral date 
from early in the thirteenth century. Owing to 
various regrettable incidents, such as Henry VIII.'s 
demolition of the Becket relics and at a later period 
the ravages of " Blue Dick " and other Puritans, the 
greater part of the old glass at Canterbury has dis- 
appeared. Originally the nave windows were filled, 
and served as a picture-book to the crowds of waiting 
pilgrims. Chaucer describes them as gaping around 
and speculating as to the subjects of the pictures. 

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" * He beareth a ball-staff,* quoth the one, * and also a rake's 
*Thou failcst,* quoth the miller, *thou hast not well thy 

It is a spear, if thou canst see, with a prick set before, 
To push adown his enemy, and through the shoulder 

Their surmises are interrupted by the host of the 
Tabard. " Peace," he says, 

" Let stand the window glazed ; 
Go up and do your offerings, ye seemeth half amazed.** 

In France, the oldest glass of any importance is 
that in the Abbey of St. Denis, near Paris, where the 
windows that escaped the havoc of the Revolution 
have set the pattern for the modern restorations. 
Abbot Suger's Church — one of the first to use the 
pointed arch and vault — was commenced before 1 140. 
The famous windows of Chartres Cathedral date from 
about 1250, and in them the employment of small 
figure subjects in medallions is still found, with 
borders of elaborate ornament. Often the lower part 
of the window is occupied with a representation of the 
trade of the workmen's guild which paid for that 
particular window. Above, in the clerestory, where 
no close inspection was possible, large single figures, 
twenty or thirty feet high, w*e introduced. At 
Poitiers, Sens, Rheims, and Bourges, and many other 
French churches the windows are all of this kind. 
It was an enthusiastic and fervent age; miracles 
were daily happening, and in the numerous elabo- 
rate churches rich with carving, metal-work, and 
painted glass, the people left the story of their 
piety. In the Sainte Chapelle at Paris — not a very 
large building, but one of such extremely slight 

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construction that it 
really seems to be 
all window — an ex- 
traordinary assem- 
blage of designs is 
found. Over Soo 
subjects are repre- 
sented in the huge 
expanse of g^lass, 
comprising between 
two and three thou- 
sand figures. As the 
interior of the chapel 
has been enriched 
%\nth elaborate poly- 
chromatic decora- 
tion by Viollet-le- 
DuCj the combined 
effect of window^s 
and walls is be- 
wildering. A few^ 
pieces of this early 
French w^ork may 
be seen at South 
Kensington Mus- 
eum in the corridor 
under the Keramic 
Gallery, but at such 
close quarters the 
somewhat archaic 
figures do not show 
to advantage. In 
fact it is unfair 
to exhibit them. 



Church windows should be looked at in church, and not 
in a museum, torn from their appropriate surroundings. 
A development in England towards the end of the 
thirteenth century brought "grisaille" into use. In 
these, instead of the strong reds and blues of the 
earlier work, the greater portion of the window is in 
white glass, painted with scroll-work, and against this 
the scantier pieces of colour tell out like jewels. The 
window at York Cathedral called the " Five Sisters " 
is a well-known example of this work. During the 
fourteenth century, the figures were placed under 
elaborate painted canopies, a great feature being 
made of the contrast between the plain canopy and 
border, and the rich colour of the figures. At York 
Cathedral and at Merton College Chapel at Oxford 
there are good examples of this style, which, according 
to William Morris and other writers, was the highest 
point reached by the art. Of the great east window 
at York, with its hundred subjects, we are told that 
it was the work of John Thornton, master-glazier of 
Coventry, and that he was paid for it at the rate of 
four shillings per week for three years besides one 
hundred shillings at the end of each year, and, if the 
Dean and Chapter approved the work, a final ten 
pounds in addition. With the glass of the Perpen- 
dicular Gothic of the fifteenth century a more elaborate 
technique is found. Stipple shading is much used, 
and with less colour and paler tints, the general effect 
is described as silvery and refined. The yellow stain, 
first used in the preceding century, is now extensively 
employed, some beautiful windows being composed 
almost entirely of whites and yellow. As examples 
of English glass of this period, we may mention the 
windows in the ante-chapel of New College, Oxford, 


dating from about 1380, the huge east window at 
Gloucester Cathedral, and several beautiful windows 
in Malvern Priory. One of these latter, said to have 
been the gift of Henry VIL, has an inscription asking 
for prayers for the "good estate," not only of the 
donor and his queen, but also of Prince Arthur and 
his wife. As the prince, a boy of fourteen, died in 
1 502, having been married only five months, the date 
of the window is clearly fixed. 

A favourite " motive " for a church window during 
all these periods was the genealogical exercise called 
a " Jesse Window." From a reclining figure of Jesse 
at the bottom of the window, a huge vine was made 
to grow, enclosing at intervals panels for other figures 
in the line of descent of our Lord. One or two 
quaint examples have the stonework of the window 
carved in the form of the tree with wandering 
branches, and the figures in glass occupy the openings. 

Abroad, during the fourteenth century, French 
glass was very similar to English in its combination 
of grisaille with colour. At St. Ouen in Rouen, at 
Troyes, Evreux and Poitiers are famous examples. 
In Germany, somewhat bolder designs and stronger 
colours are found. At Strasburg, Cologne, Ratisbon, 
and Nuremburg, there are windows of especial beauty. 
A not unusual arrangement in German windows was 
to mass all the rich colour at the bottom, and put the 
lighter or white glass at the top. This does not 
produce so well-balanced an effect as where in 
English work the colour is taken across the window 
irf bands separated by spaces of light canopy work. 

With the sixteenth century and the approach of the 
Renaissance, glass-painting came to be much heavier 
in style and less good in colour, and the attempt to 



be pictorial, with proper perspective and light and 
shade, led to the overloading of the glass with pig- 
ment, so that all translucency was lost. The glass 
had ceased to be window-glass, and had not succeeded 
in becoming a picture. Some of the transitional work, 
in France especially, is interesting and suggestive, 
Gothic and Renaissance details occurring side by 
side. At St. Etienne and St. Gervais in Paris, at Auch 
and Beauvais, and in several of the Rouen churches, 
the work is at its best. Among the artists we read of 
are Jean Cousin, Demole, Enguerand, and the potter 
Palissy. To Palissy are attributed some charming 
grisaille windows with the story of "Cupid and Psyche," 
formerly in the Chateau of Ecouen, and now in the 
chapel at Chantilly. 

Contemporary with these in France, the glass- 
painters of the Low Countries were going still further 
in the direction of heavy shadows and pictorial effects. 
The light Gothic canopies gave place to immense 
architectural compositions drawn with extreme inge- 
nuity, but so strongly painted as to contend with the 
figures in importance. Bernard Van Orley, the greatest 
artist of his time, and the designer of the " Abraham " 
tapestries at Hampton Court Palace, was responsible 
for much of the Flemish work. In the cathedral at 
Brussels there are some important windows by him, 
with portrait figures of various royal personages, the 
donors of the glass. The main note of the design is 
the shading of the figures so that they stand out as 
darks against a pale blue background. At Gouda in 
Holland, the church contains a remarkable set of 
windows dating from about 1560 and most of them 
painted by two brothers, Wouter and Dirk Crabeth. 
The original coloured drawings happen to be pre- 


served in the sacristy. In these windows, the admirer 
of Gothic glass can see nothing but abomination. 
They are designed as pictures solely, and are alto- 
gether inappropriate to their material. 

Some examples of Flemish glass are found in 
England at Lichfield and Southwell. There is a 
tradition that Holbein designed the glass at King*s 
College, Cambridge, but the names of the workmen 
are certainly English, and the style is not unmitiga- 
tedly Flemish. The east window at St. Margaret's, 
Westminster, has had a somewhat romantic history. 
It is Flemish work, and seems to have been painted 
at Dordrecht, having been, so it is said, ordered by 
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain when their daughter 
Catherine was affianced to Arthur, Prince of Wales. 
It may have been intended as a present to Henry VII., 
and, according to another account, it was the magis- 
trates of Dordrecht who were going to present it. 
But Henry VII. died, and the window came into the 
hands of the Abbot of Waltham. At the Dissolution 
of Monasteries it was sent to New Hall, and in time 
was acquired with that property by General Monk. 
Buried for safety during the Puritan Commonwealth, 
the loyal general replaced it in his chapel at the 
Restoration. There it remained till 1738, when John 
Olmins, having purchased the house, offered the 
window — " one of the finest large windows oi painted 
glass in England," as he calls it — to Dr. Swinton of 
Wadham College. The College did not want it, 
- and it remained cased up for some years. Then a 
Mr. Conyers of Copt Hall, Epping, bought it for 
fifty guineas, and put it up in his house. His son 
took it down again and, for 400 guineas, sold it in 
1758 to the committee for repairing and beautifying 

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St Margaret's. It was fixed in the church, and so 
ended its wanderings, not far away from the resting- 
place of the monarch for whom it had been intended 
two hundred and fifty years before. Even then its 
troubles were not over. Offended at the representa- 
tion of the Crucifixion which occupies the main portion 
of the window, the Registrar to the Dean and Chapter 
brought an action against the churchwardens "for 
that they had set it up without a faculty, and that 
it contained superstitious images." The suit lasted 
seven years, and in the end neither side won. But 
the " superstitious image " was allowed to remain, and 
the churchwardens, to commemorate the failure of the 
attack, gave to the church a richly-chased silver-gilt 
cup, which is still produced with ceremony at parish 

It is hard to believe that a great many old Gothic 
windows were destroyed to make room for the 
Renaissance glass. It was, however, the case at 
many and many an English church. At Oxford 
Cathedral for instance, about 1630, Dean Duppa, a 
man of classical tendencies and author of a life of 
Michael Angelo, almost succeeded in removing all 
Gothic features from the building. He pulled down 
the stalls, broke up the monuments as "old super- 
stitious stuff arid unhandsome to be mixed with the 
new pavement,*' and altered all the window-tracery. 
The aisle-windows he " beautified with glass, admir- 
ably well performed by the exquisite hand of Abraham 
Ling, a Dutchman, an. 1634." The priceless old glass, 
with pictures of St. Frideswide the patron saint, was 
destroyed. In their turn, Ling's windows, with one 
exception, were turned out about twenty-five years 
ago, as they made the church too dark. In the one 

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remaining Jonah is depicted sitting under his gourd, 
with the town of Nineveh represented Durer-wise 
in the background. 

If cultured men such as this dean could see so little 
to admire in Gothic work, and have so little reverence 
for the work of bygone artists, it is not surprising that 
other more ordinary folk should feel no compunction 
in removing the old glass from many and many a 
sacred edifice. What escaped demolition at the 
Reformation incurred great damage at the hands of 
the Puritans, and the few examples that survived the 
Civil Wars mostly disappeared during the far from 
enlightened eighteenth century* Here is a letter that 
explains why Salisbury Cathedral appears so cold 
and bare. It was written in 1788 (during Wyatt's so- 
called Restoration) by John Berry, glazier, of Salis- 
bury, to Mr. Lloyd, of Conduit Street, London : — 

" Sir, — This day I have sent you a Box full of old 
Stained and Painted glass, as you desired me to due, 
wich I hope will sute your Purpos, it his the best that 
I can get at Present. But I expet to Beatt to Peceais 
a great deale verey sune, as it his of now use to we, 
and we Due it for the lead, if you want eney more of 
the same sorts you may have what thear his, if it will 
pay for taking out, as it is a Deal of Truble to what 
Beating it to Peceais his, you will send me a line as 
sune as Possoble, for we are goain to move ore glasing 
shop to a Nother Plase, and thin we hope to save a 
greatt Deale more of the like sort, which I ham your 
most Omble Servnt— John Berry." 

So little was stained glass understood a hundred 
years ago that when Sir Joshua Reynolds was asked 
to design a window for New College Chapel, Oxford, 
he prepared a cartoon such as would have been 

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suitable for an oil painting. Transferred to large 
square panes of clear glass and painted in thick 
enamel colours by Mr. Jervais with an entire absence 
of luminosity, even Sir Joshua himself did not like 
the result. 

With the Gothic revival of the early part of this 
century the art of glass-painting has been once more 
brought into effective use. At first, the designers 
somewhat timidly relied upon precedent, and pro- 
duced those numerous copies of angular mediaeval 
saints which now we would gladly see consigned to 
oblivion. We want a second Gothic revival to get 
rid of the mistakes of the first. But the efforts of 
our glass-makers and artists — Madox Brown, Morris, 
Burne- Jones, Selwyn Image, Henry Holiday, C. E. 
Kempe, Richmond, Westlake, Christopher Whall, 
and many others (to speak of English designers 
only) — are bringing a colour and charm into our 
windows that rival the glories of the past. Simplicity 
of method, sincerity of design, honest workmanship — 
these virtues characterised the masterpieces of old 
times, and ever seeking these rather than cheap 
unenduring prettiness, the clever craftsman of to-day 
may still bring his message of beauty into the lives of 
those around him. There is room for originality ; the 
last word in the art of glass-making has not by any 
means been said. But whether it is a new song, or 
an old one resung, provided that the voice be but true, 
the world will listen eagerly to any melody that has 
beauty for its theme. 

'^" ^^ 


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