cameo Glass

Cameo Glass: from
cameo glassthe Glass Encyclopedia

cameo glass example

above: Cameo Glass by
Val St Lambert


One of the few recent
books about cameo glass
- Kelsey Murphy and
Pilgrim Glass and their
belief in the magic of
cameo glass


cameo Glass
Cameo Glass: A short explanation

Cameo glass is multi-layered glass on which a picture has been carved through the layers so that it stands out in relief from the surface and the coloured layers form the contrasts of the picture. The simplest form of cameo glass has only two layers like the blue and clear glass vase on the left.

The word cameo actually applies to any carving in which the picture is raised above the surrounding surface; but in the glass world, it is only used for carving where there is more than one coloured layer to the glass.

The surrounding glass may be cut away using hand tools, the oldest and most skilful method; or by using a cutting wheel, or with hydrofluoric acid (which eats away glass).

The best quality cameo glass comes from four sources:

1: Roman cameo glass made two thousand years ago by artisans using hand tools. The famous Portland Vase is an example.

2: English cameo glass made from the mid 19th century by such artists as John Northwood and George Woodall (their copy of the Portland Vase is a superb example).

3: French cameo glass made in the late 19th century until the second world war by such great artists as Emile Galle, the Daums, and Muller Freres.

4: Recent US cameo glass primarily from Kelsey Murphy and her colleagues at Pilgrim Glass.

There was a small amount of cameo glass made by others, including Steuben and Tiffany in the USA and several art glass studios making high quality contemporary cameo glass. Note that Peking cameo glass from China predates the European production and was made from the 18th century.

Cameo glass is made today in several European countries and in China, in reproduction French designs. Many of these pieces are beautiful. They are sometimes marked with a signature (eg Galle) and the word "typ" in front, meaning "after the style of". Unfortunately some people have been known to remove the word "typ" and pass the piece off as original. If you want early 20th century French cameo glass, it is wise to buy from a reputable dealer who specialises in that kind of glass, many of whom do sell on the internet.

If you are looking for cameo glass, check what they have for sale on ebay - click Cameo Glass.



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References, Sources & Further Reading:

Click on the book covers or titles below to read more about these books.

Magic in the Mountains: Kelsey Roman Cameo Glass British Museum Daum glass book 1993 Woodall cameo book French cameo book 1980 Cameo Glass Masterpieces 1982 English Cameo Glass 1988 English Cameo Glass in the Corning The Portland Vase story 2005 Portland Vase (2004) Breaking and Remaking of the Portland Vase (1989)



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