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Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. 57

This volume of the Journal of Glass Studies is dedicated to the memory of David Whitehouse, former executive director and senior scholar at The Corning Museum of Glass. The articles, contributed by his friends and colleagues, celebrate his life and career. Many were presented as papers at the symposium titled “A Life in Archaeology and Glass: Honoring David Whitehouse (1941–2013),” which was held at the Corning Museum in March 2014; others were solicited contributions.

The topics covered by the scholarly articles in this volume were among his special interests: ancient glass, Byzantine and Islamic glass, Venetian glass, European glass, the glass of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, and the scientific analysis of glass. Two additional articles share memories of David as a mentor and friend, and reflect upon his contributions to the Corning Museum from the time he joined the staff as chief curator in 1984 until his death. The final two “articles” offer a photographic record of glassmaking demonstrations by William Gudenrath and Lino Tagliapietra during the 2014 seminar.

Table of Contents and Abstracts

Prefacep. 11

A Fix, a Fracture, and a FakeSidney M. Goldsteinp. 13

This article presents three different glass vessels, two of which have never before been published. The first is an eastern Mediterranean core-formed alabastron from the Enrico Caruso Collection that is now in the Saint Louis Art Museum. It appears to be the only surviving glass vessel that was repaired while being fabricated in antiquity. The second vessel is a Roman storage jar in the collection of the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. This object had been broken and was repaired in the late 1970s or early 1980s. An examination of the surface shows drilled holes that suggest the piece may have been repaired much earlier in its life.

Finally, there is a shallow gold-glass bowl, also in the Saint Louis Art Museum, that evokes a Sasanian or Islamic style. In fact, the piece is part of a group that seems to have been fabricated in Iran in the 1970s, and some of the objects in this group, including this bowl, were abraded or chemically treated to give the appearance of antiquity. These modern forgeries have made a new entrance into the market after a 40-year hiatus.

A Fragment of a Mold-Pressed Glass Bowl in The Metropolitan Museum of ArtChristopher S. Lightfoot and Carlos A. Picónp. 21

The fragment discussed in this article is made of thick opaque white glass, and it is unusual in a number of respects. It was originally thought to be unique and of late Hellenistic date, but research has shown that there is another fragmentary bowl, made from the same mold, which is in The British Museum. It is argued here that both are Roman and date to the early imperial period. They are the only examples of ancient glass made in a two-part mold with relief decoration on both surfaces. On the inside of the Metropolitan Museum’s fragment, part of an inscription survives that probably formed the maker’s signature. The bowl is decorated with erotic scenes of male and female lovers. From the inscription naming Aphrodite around the rim, it would appear that the object was meant as a love charm or gift offered by a man to his mistress or lover.

The Recycling and Reuse of Roman Glass: Analytical ApproachesIan C. Freestonep. 29

Recycling is evidenced in the composition of glass by contamination from the workshop environment, loss of alkalis in melting, incidentally incorporated colorants, and the presence of compositions intermediate to the primary production groups. In later periods, anachronistic compositions may be present. In the first to third centuries, recycling is readily identified through the mixing of glasses decolorized with manganese and antimony respectively. While recycling of glass was common practice at that time, the glass supply seems to have been refreshed with primary glass relatively frequently. After the sixth century, the supply of fresh glass from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe greatly declined, and old Roman glass was increasingly used as a raw material. This culminated in the eighth and ninth centuries, when windows and mosaics were removed in bulk from standing classical buildings, probably at the same time as the removal of spolia of decorative stone. Systematic exploitation of Roman glass continued, until at least 1200, in the form of colorants for window glass, and for use as enamels and gems on decorative metalwork.

Bowls in Two Halves, a Curious Feature of Some Late Roman Glass TablewareJennifer Pricep. 41

This article discusses four Late Roman glass bowls with wheel-cut figural or vegetal decoration—from Dorchester in Britain, Cologne in Germany, Carthage in Africa, and an unknown find-place—that have been deliberately divided into two pieces. It also considers how and in what circumstances procedures of this kind might have been undertaken, and it draws attention to the likelihood of the enhanced status of the bowls and the evidence for special treatment of individual examples of tableware of good, but not exceptional, quality.

A New Nilotic Bowl at The Corning Museum of GlassKarol B. Wight, Stephen P. Koob, and William Gudenrathp. 53

The authors take a comprehensive look at a Roman inlaid bowl with a Nilotic scene, acquired by The Corning Museum of Glass in 2012. Wight studies the bowl from an iconographic and archaeological perspective; Koob reviews the conservation and restoration treatment of the bowl after its arrival at the museum, and analyzes the various glasses used in its construction; and Gudenrath discusses possible means of its manufacture, based on modern experiments conducted at the museum’s Studio.

Sasanian Glassware from Mesopotamia, Gilan, and the CaucasusSt John Simpsonp. 77

David Whitehouse’s catalog of the Sasanian and post-Sasanian glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, published a decade ago, was a landmark in our understanding of Sasanian glass. It highlighted many of the types, which are well known from the Iranian art market, and it drew attention to the important results of excavated finds, particularly in Iraq, but it added a plea for more research on what was one of the major glass industries of late antiquity.

This article offers some new insights by comparing pieces, either found in or reported to have come from the Gilan region of northwestern Iran, with excavated finds from the Caucasus; it concludes that the latter region was not only the most likely source for the pieces interred in tombs in Gilan, but was also a major glass-producing region during the Sasanian period. Moreover, it draws attention to the fact that compositional analyses prove that some types of glass, both excavated and acquired through the art market, are imported Roman vessels that were cold-worked in Sasanian style. Archaeological evidence, scientific analysis, and object-based study are essentially complementary approaches, and they are exemplified in the work of David Whitehouse, for whom this article is offered in fond memory and with deep respect.

Byzantine Gold Glass from Excavations in the Holy LandYael Gorin-Rosenp. 97

There are three categories of Byzantine gold glass in the Holy Land: (1) mosaic tesserae, which constitutes the most common type; (2) tiles; and (3) an opus sectile panel discovered in a mansion outside the city wall of Caesarea Maritima (this is the only known example in this category). The three categories differ in size, quantity, and distribution, but they are linked by their combination of glass and gold foil, as well as by their connection with Christian public buildings or (as is attested by the panel) the home of a wealthy Christian nobleman.

This article focuses on the Byzantine gold-glass pieces discovered in Israel, and the place of the masterpiece panel among these finds. It emphasizes the importance of excavated evidence in understanding the role of gold glass during the Byzantine period. The discussion encompasses production methods (including experimental studies), distribution and dating, and a reassessment of gold-glass tiles in collections worldwide.

Chemical Analysis of Early Islamic Glass from NishapurMark T. Wypyskip. 121

Excavations at the site of the city of Nishapur, conducted by the Iranian Expedition of The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1935 to 1940 and in 1947, uncovered thousands of artifacts, including hundreds of glass finds dated mainly to the 9th and 10th centuries. Compositional analysis was performed with X-ray microanalysis (SEM-EDS/WDS) to determine the major and minor components of some of the glass. Nearly all of the samples have soda-lime-silica compositions with relatively high magnesium and potassium, thought to be due to the use of plant ash as one of the raw materials. Based on the ratios of some of the main elements, most of the glasses appear to fit into one of three main compositional groups. They probably represent glasses made with different sources of raw materials, and they may suggest different regional primary glass sources, as has been proposed for groups of first-millennium natron glasses.

The results of LA-ICP-MS trace-element analysis appear to confirm the validity of the compositional groupings as defined by the major and minor elements. The different compositional types are compared with the findings on pre-Islamic and Islamic glass from other sites, and they may point to the sources of the different types of glass found, with implications about the trade in glass during the early Islamic period.

Coincidental Developments? The Aldrevandin Glasses and Ayyubid–Mamluk GlassRachel Wardp. 137

Enameled glass was produced in Syria and Venice in the 13th century. It has been assumed that the Venetian industry was dependent on technology imported from Syria, but a revised chronology of the Ayyubid–Mamluk material would appear to preclude that. This article reviews the evidence for the dating of Ayyubid–Mamluk and Venetian glass, and for the transfer of technical knowledge between the two. It suggests that fundamental differences in the two technologies make it unlikely that one evolved directly from the other.

Der Quedlinburger „Lutherbecher“ und die Gruppe der Goldemail-RiesenbecherIngeborg Kruegerp. 147

The Schlossmuseum at Quedlinburg (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany) owns a very large Islamic glass beaker with gilded and enameled decoration. It is known as the “Lutherbecher” because it is alleged to have been a gift from Martin Luther to a citizen of Quedlinburg. This provenance is dubious, but the beaker was kept in the town hall of Quedlinburg for centuries, and it was probably used on special occasions, as is indicated by many diamond-scratched names on its wall. The lower part of the beaker was broken toward the end of the 19th century, and it was repaired and stabilized with a silver mount.

Only three other Islamic glass beakers of similar size are known. They are in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich, and the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. To this list, parts of two additional specimens can be added: wall fragments were found during excavations at the former royal castle in Buda (Hungary), and large portions of another beaker came from the site of a medieval Wasserburg in Artern (Thüringen, Germany). The decoration on these finds is very similar to that on the beakers in Munich and Washington, while the large inscription on the “Lutherbecher” is exceptional as a main motif.

Because all of these beakers were found far from their place of manufacture in Syria or Egypt, they may have been made for consumers in distant countries. And because they demonstrate the same advanced state of the enameling technique as mosque lamps datable to the 14th century, all of them were probably produced during the first half of that century.

Opal Glass in The British Museum Attributed to the Buquoy GlasshouseDora Thornton, Andrew Meek, and William Gudenrathp. 167

In this article, the authors consider a mold-blown opal glass beaker in the Waddesdon Bequest in The British Museum, London. The beaker had been attributed to Venice around 1600, but a recent publication by Olga Drahotová suggested that the object may have been produced at the experimental Buquoy glasshouse in Bohemia in the late 16th century. The authors carried out a detailed analysis of the techniques used in the beaker’s production, and they also decided to scientifically analyze the glass. They found that the likely raw materials used to produce the object matched those published for the Buquoy glasshouse.

Two additional vessels of opal glass that are believed to have been produced at the Buquoy glasshouse, as well as one vessel thought to have been made in Venice, were analyzed. All of the Bohemian glasses were found to have similar compositional characteristics, which could be easily differentiated from those of the vessel produced in Venice.

Family Connections: The Formative Years of Beilby Enameled Glass, 1760–1765Simon Cottlep. 183

The goblets, wineglasses, and other table glass decorated in enamels at the Beilby family’s workshop in Newcastle upon Tyne are considered to be among the most interesting of all 18th-century English glasses. New light has now been shed on the contribution to this production of other, lesser-known members of the family and their connections in the north of England and London. An examination of the coats of arms and crests on Beilby glasses shows a common thread between the families that may have commissioned them and some of the most powerful political characters of the day. These families are generally shown to have been supporters of the second marquis of Rockingham, an influential statesman at the time of the newly crowned King George III. This relationship brings into sharper focus a group of glasses decorated with the royal coat of arms, the significance of which had previously been a matter of speculation.

A Brief History of Harvard’s Glass Flowers Collection and Its DevelopmentSusan M. Rossi-Wilcoxp. 197

The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, popularly called the Glass Flowers, was created by the father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Their roughly 4,300 individual models depict nearly 840 plant species in about 170 families. The collection reflects the intellectual history of botany and the research interests of both the modelmakers and the directors of Harvard University’s Botanical Museum, who commissioned the ongoing project.

This study concerns the expansion of the collection from its inception in 1886, as a few models to accommodate the development of Harvard’s natural history museums, to the last accessions in 1936. The focus is on the collection’s development as a didactic tool that served (and continues to serve) the Botanical Museum as an exhibition open to the public. The rationale for adding species, the reference sources the makers used, and their artistic license are explored.

Imitating Nature: The Materials and Preservation Needs of the Blaschka Glass ModelsN. Astrid R. van Giffen, Katherine Eremin, and Tracy Owen Drierp. 213

This article presents new research on the glass artifacts produced by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in Dresden in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Best known for their models of invertebrates and later for the exquisite plants now known as the Harvard Glass Flowers, they had previously produced glass eyes, jewelry, and some plant models. All of these models are made primarily of glass, but they incorporate other materials, such as metal wires, paper, waxes, adhesives, resins, and paints.

The research represented here is a continuation from previous studies by the authors. It focuses particularly on the construction and deterioration of the invertebrate models and considers the best preservation and conservation treatments for them. The need for careful handling and treatment by trained glass conservators is emphasized. This is followed by an updated summary of compositional data for all five types of objects, including much previously unpublished information. Some of the glasses used in these objects are compositionally unstable or potentially unstable, and the appropriate environmental conditions for storage and display are discussed. The importance of careful control and monitoring of the environment is stressed.

The Life and Work of Júlia BáthoryJohn P. Smith and András B. Szilágyip. 225

Júlia Báthory (1901–2000) was the first female glass designer and decorator of modern times. She studied design in both Hungary and Germany before setting up her own studio in Paris in 1930. Here, she stayed for 10 years, producing a wide range of works, including vases, panels for furniture, mirrors, glass murals, and ecclesiastical pieces. She exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and later at international exhibitions. In 1940, she returned to Budapest, where she continued to work until the Soviet advance of 1944. With her background, she found no favor with the communist party, and she was forced to do menial jobs until she was finally allowed to teach glassmaking, which she did until her retirement in 1970. In the following two decades, she tended her archives, but she did little work until 1990, when she opened a studio with the help of her artist stepson. In 1993, she was given a retrospective at the Hungarian Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest.

Notesp. 279

Archaeological Excavations of a Bead Workshop in the Main City at Tell el-Amarna
Classical Colorless Glass Stands from Rhodes, Dodecanese, Greece
Unusual Glass Tesserae from a Third-Century Mosaic in Rome
A Dichroic Bottle Fragment from Dülük Baba Tepesi, Turkey
Venetian Filigrana Glass and Its Imitations Made in Central Europe: Comparison of a Typology and a Chemical Composition
Le piastrine di vetro colato muranesi dell’Ottocento
Clarke Design Installed
Major Glass, Library Acquisitions Added to Corning Museum Collection
Rakow Library Receives Strasser Archive
Rakow Grant to Fund Three Research Projects
A Letter to the Editor
Josef Welzel (1927–2014)

Memories of David Whitehouse, a Mentor and Friend by Lisa Pilosi, p. 237
Working with David by Amy Schwartz, p. 243
The Art of Experiment by Amy Schwartz, p. 253
Demonstration for a Friend by Amy Schwartz, p. 261
Contributors, p. 271
Note to Authors and Readers, p. 337
Museum Publications, p. 339
Abstracts, p. 345

Pages: 
349
Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. 57