Cameo Vase

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Object Name: 
Cameo Vase
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 29.2 cm, W: 18.5 cm
Not on Display
about 1880-1890
Credit Line: 
Gift of Juliette K. Rakow in memory of Leonard S. Rakow
Web Description: 
Cameo glasses are made in two stages. First, the undecorated blank with at least two layers of different colors is prepared. Then, after the blank has been gradually cooled to eliminate stresses in the glass, it is decorated. Ancient Roman cameo glasses were carved, ground, and polished, but later 19th-century examples were also treated with acid. After this technique was introduced in Stourbridge by Benjamin Richardson in the 1850s, cameo glasses were decorated in as many as five stages: (1) drawing the design on the surface of the glass; (2) painting part of the design with varnish, which resists the effects of the hydrofluoric acid used in etching; (3) removing unwanted parts of the overlay by etching; (4) carving and engraving fine details; and (5) polishing.
Rakow, Dr. Leonard S., Former Collection
Rakow, Mrs. Leonard S. (d. 1992), Former Collection
Primary Description: 
Opaque white, red, colorless, lead glasses; blown, overlaid, etched, cameo-carved. Tall, bulbous, ovoid shape; with rounded rim, waisted neck, rounded body with two curved, vertical handles; flared foot with rounded rim; opaque white overlaid on colorless on red, cameo-carved decoration, including a formal foliate border around the rim, elaborate classical acanthus ornaments around an urn of fruit on one side, with an animal's-head and scrollwork ornament on the opposite side; carved scrollwork on the handles, and a ring of scallops and points at the bases of the handles; acanthus leaves at the base, below the handles; stiff foliate border on the foot, with stylized floral and foliate border on the rim; foot rim ground flat; concave ground pontil mark, with acid-etched mark, "THOMAS WEBB & SONS" in an arc, above "GEM / CAMEO"; printed circular paper collection label on the bottom, inscribed "COLLECTION OF DR. & MRS. LEONARD S. RAKOW / CG / 123."
Cameo Glass: Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking
Corning Museum of Glass 1982-05-01 through 1982-10-31
Cameo glass, one of the most costly and difficult decorating techniques since first century B.C., is documented and illustrated in this catalog. Included are examples from Rome, Islam, and China, as well as English 19th-century masterpieces by John Northwood and George Woodall among others. For the purposes of this catalog, the term “cameo glass” is used to refer to cased glass objects with two or more differently colored layers. The outer layer is usually an opaque or opalescent white, and the outer layer or layers have been carved in to leave the decoration standing in relief against a body of contrasting color. Shading is produced by thinning down the carved layer; highlights are created where the glass is left thickest. Both this catalog, and the exhibition for which it was created, documents the 2000-year cameo glass tradition.
Layers of Wonder: Majestic and Marvelous Cameo Glass (2003-05) illustrated, cover; p. 2;
English Cameo Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (1994) illustrated, pp. 35, 61, fig. 30; BIB# 35913
Cameo Glass: Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking (1982) illustrated, pp. 89, fifth from left; 125, #132; BIB# 30609