Author Topic: Counting sides as an aid to attribution  (Read 981 times)

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Offline Bernard C

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Counting sides as an aid to attribution
« on: September 12, 2005, 10:39:48 PM »
Some may know that I count sides of glass, and I believe it could possibly be useful in a variety of ways, particularly with attribution.

Has anyone done such counts (including round or one-sided weights) for, say, mid-C19 paperweights as a whole, and then compared the results with the counts for individual paperweight manufacturers?   The outcome is bound to show some variation between manufacturers, and could be statistically significant if a large enough sample was studied to minimise the impact of individual collectors' personal preferences.

The actual numbers themselves could also be interesting.   Six sides would be an obvious number of sides for close packed millefiori paperweights, as it matches the way that round canes line up.

An odd number would seem to me to be more natural for paperweights with cut windows, because of the rather better internal lighting of the paperweight, avoiding the glare of reflected light from an opposite window.

Any number which is not a factor of 360 is unlikely, because I would have expected cutting turntables to have been marked out in degrees.   Indeed the only exception to this in mid C20 cut glass I have found is a design by John Luxton for Stuart which has seven pattern repeats (see Benson & Hayhurst, #84).   I think this just indicates that he was an outside designer, not too familiar with the manufacturing processes.   I doubt whether Farquharson, Murray, or Kny would have even contemplated 7- or 11-sided patterns.

Bernard C.  8)
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Offline Leni

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Counting sides as an aid to attribution
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2005, 11:05:18 AM »
Bernard, you made me go and look at my paperweight collection with 'new eyes'  :shock:

I don't actually have many faceted weights!  There are about half a dozen or so with one flat 'window' (in addition to the - obviously - flat base  :roll: ), usually at an angle.  Then there are a couple with 'prunties':  a Caithness Whitefriars with eight plus a flat top - four are placed one opposite the other on four 'sides' and four smaller ones are placed in between them, lower in the weight - and a double overlay Murano millefiori with five round the sides and one on top.  

I'm going to have to count the 'prunties' on faceted weights from now on!  Not sure it has the same import as other glass though, as I would have thought paperweight makers might vary the number depending on the design  :?

Must investigate further!  

What must we look like to other people?  I go round 'biting' :oops: glass and you go round counting the sides   :roll:  :lol:

Leni
Leni


Offline KevinH

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Counting sides as an aid to attribution
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2005, 04:46:11 PM »
I suppose the simple answers are:
- yes, studies of facets and cuts have been done
- yes, to some degree, the cutting can help with attributions

The problems though, are numerous. Even just thinking about 19th century weights, we are faced with all sorts of variations in faceting / cutting. Many makers used simple round, flat cuts with 5, 6, 7 and 8 being often seen around the circumference. Some makers, St Louis in particular, seem to have enjoyed using all-over faceting, for which the only way to count to the number of cuts would be to mark each one as you count! There were many variations between the extremes.

In Identyfying Antique Paperweights Millefiori, by George N. Kulles, published 1985, there is a section on "facets" which shows that is the overall style of cutting rather than a specific number of cuts that can help to make an attribution. But even then, the rest of the weight, its canes or lampwork, need to be checked to be sure.

As for cutting turntables being a factor in the number of cuts, as far as I know this did not apply to paperweights, where the cuts were "simply" marked out by hand and then actioned.

[Just for interest - A current Scottish cutter is apparently able to produce a complex, curved "Gingham" cut around the entire surface of a double-overlay domed paperweight without even marking it up!]

And just for more fun:
Leni mentioned "prunties". For the record, this should be "printies". But, as with many terms, there can be confusion through everyday usage. Paul Hollister Jr. wrote, in his Glossary to The Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights (1969):
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Facet. Decorative plane-cut surface having three or more sides.
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Flute. Deep, narrow cut whose ends taper to a point.
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Window. Any round or oval, flat, or concave cut through overlay that gives a view into the interior of the weight.
Quote
Printy. Any circular or oval concave cut on the outer surface of a weight. This nineteenth century term is here substituted for the American term, "punty," to avoid confusion with the term "pontil", for which punty is also a synonym.

Those of us who browse the main Glass forum know what fun we have when using terms such as "pontil" and "punty" to describe the unfinished mark on the base of pieces - it's just as much fun in paperweight-speak when talking about facets, flutes, windows and printies. Personally, I normally use "facet" to mean almost any cut on a paperweight, other than obvious "stars", cogs", "sprays" and the like. But according to my understanding of Hollister, I should not even use that word if the cut has less than three sides! And I am sure I have seen "flute" cuts on antique weights that do not have tapered ends (as per Hollister), but are just thin concave cuts - I wonder what I should "properly" call those?  :)
KevinH


Offline Leni

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Counting sides as an aid to attribution
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2005, 05:29:33 PM »
Quote from: "KevH"
Leni mentioned "prunties". For the record, this should be "printies". But, as with many terms, there can be confusion through everyday usage.

 :oops:  :oops:  :oops: That was a genuine spelling mistake, honest, Kevin!   :oops:  :oops:  :oops: I did know it was printies, really I did   :shock:  :oops:  :roll:

Leni
Leni


Offline KevinH

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Counting sides as an aid to attribution
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2005, 10:21:42 PM »
Yes, Leni, I realised it was "typo", but it gave me a good segue (I learned how to misuse that word by watching too much daytime TV !) into a pontification about terms.  :D
KevinH


 

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