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This carefully selected collection of glass well demonstrates the considerable achievements realised in this challenging medium by international, and notably French artist craftsmen working in the Art Nouveau style. This movement flourished briefly but spectacularly in the 1890s and in the first years of the new century. The experiments and successes of the leading exponents of Art Nouveau continued to influence artists, designers and architects for generations to come.
The collection comprises a wide variety of treasures from the great French innovators of Nancy, known collectively as the Ecole de Nancy. The most influential of these masters were Emile Gallé and Daum Frères. The collection showcases a wide range of glass-making techniques, developed through the ages, as well as many of the extraordinary innovations of Emile Gallé and Daum Frères. Here also are examples of artistic glass from the Austrian factory Loetz, as well as New York's Tiffany Studios. Both these makers focused on perfecting iridescent surface techniques. These vases were free-blown into organic forms which displayed their metallic surface lustre to maximum effect.
Developed in the middle of the Nineteenth century. This technique involves the controlled exposure of glass to hydrofluoric acid. Once the pattern is drawn it is then transferred on to the vessel itself by scratching it into the surface. Next, the parts not to be exposed to the acid are covered with an acid-resistant varnish and finally acid is applied using a brush, or the piece is dipped directly into an acid bath.
A technique similar to the cameo cutting of stones and shells used by ancient Egyptians and Romans, and revived in the 19th Century. The technique involves cased glass - the overlaying of several thin layers of different coloured glass, two or three and more rarely up to five. Layers are then selectively cut back with acid or by wheel-carving to leave the decoration in relief and in contrasting colours. The difficulty of this technique lies in the fact that the various layers must have the same dilation coefficient and the same thickness in order to avoid any breaking while the piece is cooling, or when working on the glass once it is cold. The chemical composition of each coloured layer of glass is therefore decisive and kept secret.
The ancient decorative technique of cold-painting vitreous enamels onto the vessel, then firing the colours in a muffle kiln.
The literal translation is hammered. A decorative technique producing a multi-faceted surface by cutting off small pieces of glass with a stone wheel, used particularly as a background to the design.
Pâte de Verre
The meaning is glass paste. The glass is ground into a powder, mixed with a flux and coloured powders, and the mixture is shaped and slowly re-fired in a plaster mould under high temperatures for several days. The mould is removed to reveal the final piece, which is ready to be cleaned and polished.
This technique was mostly used between 1900 and 1914 and consists of rolling the hot glass on the marver in particles of metal oxide or powder made of coloured ground glass, and re-firing to achieve a smooth and highly polished finish. The powder becomes fused and vitrified into the surface. The effect is further enhanced by polishing at the wheel.
A pattern or design is carved with a rotating wheel covered with an abrasive powder, either in relief (en camie) or in intaglio (en intaille).
Decoration encased within two layers of glass.