I've been doing quite a bit of research on this vase and debating whether or not to return to the thread, as I'm slightly wary of being shot down in flames
As usual however, I've decided that's ok
\I think this is actually in interesting piece of glass and perhaps I might get a definite id one day.
I’ll start by saying I think this is possibly important regarding the technique and the date it was made.
The size I originally put on was a typo – it is actually 7” tall (originally would have been I think c.10” tall) and about 3 ½” wide at the body, so not a small piece.
From what I’ve found, my thoughts so far are:
- Made 1860
- Three layer hand carved cameo glass
- Blank blown at Harrachov
- Carved at Kamenicky Senov possibly
- Possibly by Karl Pfohl (or close contemporary but cannot find any evidence as to who else it might be)
Firstly, I have to say I'm a little curious as to why I've not been able to find any maker on it. Or indeed any further information about it written anywhere, or precious little information on mid Century Bohemian cameo glass or the techniques used by Franz Zach and Karl Pfohl for example. I’ve read literally masses of books and articles on cameo glass now, and see much written about English cameo glass (acid etched and hand carved) and how it was important in the third quarter of the 19thcentury and on French Art Nouveau cameo glass (acid etched and hand carved), and I absolutely understand the importance of those pieces … but this vase and similar pieces were made c.1860 or even possibly in the 1850s. Casing glass only started in the 1830’s. Northwood’s Portland vase was not made until 1873.
Admittedly I don't have any books specifically on Biedermeier glass, but from the three other pieces I have found and from what I have read so far, I have reason to believe my vase and the others, have not been investigated or identified anywhere else. (Happy to be proved wrong )
I'm open to correction and more information so if anyone has any please do correct me, or add to the thread - I would be very appreciative.
I sent some pictures to the V&A. They had no information to offer me and suggested I contact one of the German museums. I've not done so only because I've not found any definitive info on it, or on the only other two I’ve found that are the same and one that is remarkably similar. In addition to which, I have in the past sent the odd question to museums and have received no reply.
With regards the V&A they agree my date of c.1860.
I inquired loosely about Franz Zach as the cameo effect is similar, although I did not think it was by Franz Zach. They have said it is not. I think I agree with this based on the few other items I’ve found that are his. These appear to be figural on one layer over clear, with the depth of the cameo cutting allowing more or less light through in much the same way as a porcelain lithophane does. His pieces sometimes have decorated stylised borders.
See Judith Miller, Page 117 of Decorative Arts: Style and Design from Classical to Contemporaryhttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=X1cXb-wzy74C&pg=PA120&dq=overlay+glass+19th+century&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xJYsUemDBuLW0QXd_oD4Bg&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBjgU#v=onepage&q=overlay%20glass%2019th%20century&f=false
however I also found this (see link to a piece sold through Fischer) so it does make me wonderhttp://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/4984949
their reference is Ref: G. Höltl (Hrsg.): Das böhmische Glas, Band III, Passau 1995, 180ff.
so if anyone owns these references and would be willing to look up to see if there are any others like mine I'd be eternally grateful as it's one I don't have.
An additional comment they made was :
‘The techniques used are not that of Franz Paul Zach, indeed this blue cut casing combined with different designs of engraved and etched scenes was popular in Bohemia at that time with a number of factories producing examples
Firstly regarding the ‘popularity’:
I have searched extensively, but although I can find a number of pieces in a similar ‘ ish’ vein, I can only find two (possibly three) the same and one that is very similar (in the Corning) to mine.
I just don’t think they were that prolific and I think that the pieces the V&A refer to are mostly two layer and cameo engraved pieces i.e one colour over clear (see links I’ve given below to pieces similar to mine but only two layers).
Even without the cameo design in the middle of the body of the vase, I can’t think there were that many of the three (i.e. transparent or opaline base with two more coloured overlays on) layer pieces produced at this time, given the difficulty of producing overlay glass -
a) I watched a recording of Reine Liefkes describing a piece in the V&A that they bought at the Great Exhibition and which dates to 1855. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/g/glass-goblet-by-franz-paul-zach/
It’s a Franz Zach blue over clear cameo cut and overlay cut footed bowl dating to the same period. Admittedly it’s a massive piece of glass they are discussing. But if you listen to the description of how difficult it was to make, they talk about the difficulty of the compatibility of the layers of glass and then also the difficulties in ensuring it annealed without cracking. And then discuss that there one only one or two factories capable of producing this glass at that time and this was probably made at Neuwelt
b) Also I’ve read much about the failure rate of the white over colour cameo glass produced in England and how difficult it was to produce - see Klein/Ward page 187 where they comment on the making of the Northwood blank in 1873:
‘Although cased glass had been made since the 1830’s, the manufacture of a cameo blank presented particular problems. Not only did the white outer layer have to be of uniform thickness, but the white glass and the dark blue undercolour had to have the same coefficient of expansion and contraction to prevent the glass from cracking during the annealing process.’
c) There is a book online written by David Whitehouse called English Cameo Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass and in it on page 7 under Preface he writes:‘The first cameo glass vessels were made by the Romans between about 25 B.C. and A.D. 50. A handful of vessels were produced by Roman glassworkers in the fourth century A.D., rather
more were made by Islamic craftsmen between the ninth and 11th centuries, and Chinese glass cutters in and after the 18th century made more cameo glasses than all their predecessors combined. Nevertheless, cameo glass was comparatively rare until the late 19th century, when glassmakers in the Stourbridge area of central England produced tens of thousands of objects for consumption at home and abroad.’
I believe that my piece was a technically difficult piece to make especially at the time it was made and given it is three layers and given the decoration on it. So whilst they have said they were ‘popular’, I can’t think there were masses of them floating around. If there were, I have not been able to find them having searched quite extensively.
With regards the seeming paucity of information on mid 19thcentury Cameo glass from Bohemia, it’s interesting that in that recording Liefkes says that the Franz Zach piece was ‘forgotten’ for a long time, being sent to reside at another of their museums ( the one that is now the museum of Childhood) until 1970, when it was ‘re-found’ and brought back to reside again as an important piece at the V&A. Another indication I think, of how little these mid 19thcentury Bohemian carved and overlay pieces were discussed, by comparison to English Cameo glass of the third quarter 19th century and into the 20th century and Art Nouveau French cameo glass for example.
Secondly, the email from the V&A refers to these glass pieces as engraved and etched. I wasn’t quite sure about this description :
- Cameo carving and engraving use similar techniques, i.e. wheels to create the effect, so I guess ‘engraving’ might be a description.
- With regards the ‘etched’ I presume she is referring to the frosted effect on the body of the vase rather than that the decoration was acid etched.
- As far as I can tell from holding the vase and reading regarding similar pieces, this is cameo glass. I had thought the decoration might have been etched initially and then with the blue layer hand carved in various depths and the final lines on the leaves etc. hand carved. However, you can see the white layer of glass around the blue all the way round the edges of every leaf and scroll and of course around the border.
- So if for arguments sake we say some of the blue and white layers in between the decoration were initially acid etched to remove the colour back to clear (remembering though this was 1860 and Liefkes actually mentions in the recording transcript regarding the Franz zach piece dated 1855 that it was hand carved as that was a little before acid etching became used - and also in Klein/Ward’s book TheHistory of Glass pge 191 for example they talk about acid polishing replacing hand polishing in the 1880’s ), then certainly the rest of it must have been hand carved including all the edges to reveal the white borders around the blue edges.
- So given the date of the piece, and the complexity of the design I can’t see how this could have been achieved, without hand carving it in the first place (open to correction if someone can explain how this might be possible to achieve via acid etching). And the background is not totally smooth or even surfaced either. By that I don’t mean it’s grainy or rough to touch but that if you feel the background it is slightly up and down in parts, not totally smooth, as though it was hand carved in the first place.
- The whole design looks as though it has been given an acid wash to make it satin after it was all finished.
So I think the vase would have been blown with three layers - clear, cased in white and then cased in blue over the white, then hand carved, and then the design hand cut (as in cameo carved) on the blue, where it is most definitely raised in relief, and then acid washed to give that smooth satin finish to the design area only. Finally, the geometric borders were polished. As I say, I’m open to correction.
References of other pieces in a similar vein –
- These are the only two pieces I have found that I believe are the same maker as mine:
The V&A agree the becher or beaker, is the same maker. I didn’t send them a pic of the pink Stein, but I’m certain it’s also the same maker. There is one other stein on there that appears to be the same blue version as mine but the picture is bad so I can’t see the detail so I’ve not included it).
There is one other piece, a goblet – it is not exactly the same in that the picture is figural rather than the grapes and vine, but close up I can see it is done in the same way and has the polished geometric borders etc. It is in the Corning and the link shows the techniques they have said the piece is made with.
a)becher originally in the JJ Ludwig Regensburg collection , a collection of a major antiques dealer and collector, and sold firstly in 2008 through Nagel and then again through Fischer. This is described only as North Bohemian, 1860. I would have thought, given the collection it has come from and the two Auction Houses who have sold it, that if there was any evidence of maker or decorator available in literature one of those parties would have known about it.http://www.auctions-fischer.de/catalogues/online-catalogues/210-european-glass-studio-glass.html?L=1&kategorie=102&artikel=26481&cHash=0e79a907d3
b) History of Beer Stein Glass - third set of pictures down, left hand Stein, pink over white over clear with vines and grapes. This site have the Josephinenhutte book and have identified other pieces on the site as either by, or probably by, Josephinenhutte. The pink stein that is the same as mine has not been identified, which leads me to believe there is nothing in the book to link them to Josephinenhutte. I have also not been able to find another piece that is in any way similar enough to link Josephinenhutte to being the possible maker.http://www.beerstein.net/articles/bsb-6.htm
c) Covered goblet in the Corning museum identified as Karl Pfohl, North Bohemia – I presume they mean Karl Pfohl was the decorator rather than also the blank maker and that they refer to North Bohemia as the place it was made.http://www.cmog.org/artwork/covered-goblet-5#.US0fyzCeN_V
- The pieces below are a similar style to mine but not the same
1) Three colour blue on white on clear with carved figural picture and geometric borders. In close up you can see the carving is done in the same way as my vase although the picture is figural:
This first has no id for maker or decorator and is dated c.1850. It is described as acid-etched cameo. Given other descriptions I’ve read from the Corning, I think it was probably engraved or cut and then frosted rather than the picture being created by acid etching.http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2011/property-from-the-collection-of-carl-desantis/lot.208.lotnum.html
The techniques described by the Corning as used on this next piece, are engraved, pressed, frosted, cut. I’m not entirely sure where ‘pressed’ comes in as it is a blown piece, but nowhere is it described as acid etched. They have it identified as by Karl Pfohl and made in Northern Bohemiahttp://www.cmog.org/artwork/covered-goblet-5#.US0uuTCeN_V
2) Two colour only - white overlay on transparent colour body with matt Cameo cut design and polished geometric white overlay cut borders:http://www.glaskilian.de/Biedermeier-Lithophanieschnitt.640+B6YmFja1BJRD02NDAmcHJvZHVjdElEPTIzMzAwJnBpZF9wcm9kdWN0PTY0MCZkZXRhaWw9.0.htmlhttp://www.rubylane.com/item/518922-1998-17/Antique-Bohemian-Harrach-Cameo-Art
3) Engraved in a similar way to mine but only two colours, not three:
Karl Pfohl glass red overlay on clear glass body cameo engraved (same as mine) http://www.papilio.cz/en/archiv.php?aukce=a28&pol=9795&PHPSESSID=b845bfad3169855d341788addbeb3227
Figural Chalice made at Harrachov and decorated by Karl Pfohl Kamenicky Senov where if you click on it, you can see the cameo carving is done in the same way as that on the blue layer on my vase (scroll down to second picture)http://www.prazskagalerie.cz/en/news/from-editorial/crisis-and-boom-in-glass-and-jewellery-industry-1
Two colour blue overlay on clear with polished geometric borders and satin finish engraved cameo picture, a
Karl Pfohl goblet sold at Sotheby’s – blue overlay on clear with polished blue overlay on clear geometric borders and satin finish ‘acid cameo’ (their description – the Corning (see below) do not use this description) blue picture on the clear background http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2011/property-from-the-collection-of-carl-desantis/lot.205.lotnum.html
Karl Pfohl goblet in the Corning where the description is ‘blown, overlaid, cut, engraved’ and nowhere it is described as acid-etched. Id’d as by Karl Pfohl - North Bohemia, Kamenicky Senovhttp://www.cmog.org/artwork/goblet-896?sm_actor_name=Pfohl%252C%2520Karl&sort=bs_has_image%20desc%2Cscore%20desc%2Cbs_on_display%20desc&goto=node/51200&filter=%22bundle%3Aartwork%22&object=1#.US0rQTCeN_V
I’m interested to hear of any leads or information if anyone has seen anything similar to my piece and am open to correction on any of the above
Thanks for taking the time to read if you got this far – I hope some of it was interesting.