I’ve found a description of pieces with a similar technique to mine as being cameo glass (but only single overlay and figural). Apart from a reference in a Miller's guide that appeared under the heading Cameo Glass, this is the first time I've found a reference to these items as being cameo cut and with some detail in the description.
Please bear in mind, that in the beerstein.net link that I give below, the author’s pictures are not numerically labelled plates, although he actually refers to them as fig1,fig 2 etc.
I also think the author has made an error in the caption of the middle glass in fig 2 (picture of three glasses together in one plate.) btw,this fig 2 plate appears next to the plate with a piece of blue on clear glass with a picture of a man on it he references it as fig 1 in his description. Based on his description I think the caption for fig 2 should read 'intaglio cut, cameo cut, shaded wheel cut'.
as a description of the three pieces, not ‘intaglio cut, intaglio cut, shaded wheel cut’.
Anyway, if you scroll down to the descriptions paragraphs, under the heading 'Overlays' you will see a sub heading 'Cameo cut' where these two pieces are described (fig 1 and middle piece in fig 2)http://www.beerstein.net/articles/bsj-4c.htm
The author says:'Cameo Cut
The cameo cut utilizes the color of the overlay even more than the cut to clear method does. The cameo cut involves cutting away the background to the clear layer underneath and leaving the scene to show in the overlay color. The subject is cut to different depths in the outer layer only, creating various shades of the outer layer’s color. (Figures 1 and 2, center) These various shades contrasted with the clear layer underneath to create a photo-like engraved image. '
He adds ‘Sometimes, copper wheel cutting is supplemented by polishing the cut (Figure 3). When the copper disc cuts into the surface, it leaves a frosted finish. On occasion, the artist would polish part or all of the cut design to create a shiny contrast.
I cannot comment on his authority on glass and glass techniques, but he also says'Few cutters had the ability and experience to execute this method of decoration successfully, so cameo cut pieces are rare and expensive.'
It seems to me, from what I have read in various references, that creating a piece of overlaid or cup cased glass is not particularly easy and, given the different colours of glass, is subject to the stresses of contraction rates and the annealing process. I also found this snippet about the years taken by Boston and Sandwich to perfect their overlay glass technique:‘Boston and Sandwich began experimenting with overlay techniques in the 1840’s but was not til the late 1850’s they had perfected their techniques.’
-Source ‘Notable Acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago’
I think the difficulty involved in producing the blanks is the case regardless of what era the piece has been created.
However, bearing in mind the pieces being discussed on this thread were made between 1835 and 1860 ish, where cased or overlaid glass only started being produced a few years earlier, it seems to me the blanks would be fairly ‘precious’ … even before the decoration is even begun on the piece. i.e. perhaps they would only be given to select skilled makers to decorate because there has to be an added risk to the glass once the carving starts?
I have one more name to add to the list and that is of Ernst Simon who carved a magnificent piece of blue on clear for Josephinenhutte. It is a piece in the Corning herehttp://www.cmog.org/artwork/covered-goblet-putti-hunting-wild-boar#.UTE_3jCeN_U
It is a huge piece again, but the description the Corning gives explains the technique and the difficulty of carving very well:‘Description
Colorless and cobalt blue glass; blown, tooled, applied, cased, engraved. Large goblet with a bucket shaped bowl cut blue-to-colorless with the scene of the putti hunting boar with spears in hand and surrounded by leaves and branches. the stem consists of several merese, an engraved knop, and an engraved inverted baluster atop a circular engraved foot. The lid is also blue cut-to-colorless with the leaf motif continued and a finial of merese, knop and inverted baluster shape with a raspberry prunt on top.
“Historical revival” does not necessarily content itself with the slavish copy of bygone styles. Instead, surprisingly new results can be achieved by the combination of styles from entirely different sources. This goblet is a meticulous copy of the most accomplished type of Nuremberg vessels of the 17th century. However, the decoration of the bowl and cover refer to ancient Roman cameo glass. The latter posed an enormous challenge for Biedermeier glass factories in Bohemia and Silesia: the engraving required the complete mastery of carving into the outer layer of colored glass, turning it lighter as more glass was removed. Also, the glassmakers had to solve the problem of tensions in the glass caused by incompatible expansion coefficients of different glass colors. The Josephinenhütte seems to have started its attempts in the mid-1840s, and employed in Ernst Simon (1817–1894) an exceptionally gifted glass engraver. He transformed the ornamental subject into a vivacious scene, and emphasized the contrast between the playful putti—sweet chubby children that have ancient ancestors and became popular in 16th-century arts—and their stern determination to hunt down a wild boar.’
Notwithstanding that my piece and similar are not of the size and complexity of the Exhibition pieces, they must still have been expensive when they were produced.
Therefore I presume that if they had been prolifically made there might be more available around and about. And there aren’t. The Corning seems to only have three, the V&A one. The others I’ve seen are all either in museums or private collections or being sold as high end glass for matching prices.
Therefore, at the time these Bohemian pieces were made, and bearing in mind their fragility, I’m just not sure there were that many people capable of working on them.
I think the fact that I’ve found only 20 pieces in total bears this out (only five possibly 6 of those done with double overlay like mine).
So just coming back to Frank's comment above, I am aware of the ‘glassworkers who are skilled at their work yet never become known or famous' and the danger of attributing everything to the teacher, but based on my current research, I feel it is also possible this group of 1st to 3rd quarter 19th century Bohemian cameo glass is relatively scarce - and there may only have been a select group responsible for producing it.
As I’ve said all along, I’m open to correction