- Special Types of Paperweights
Crown weight: In these hollow blown paperweights colored ribbons and white filigree twists radiate from a central cane at the top of the weight and run down the sides to the bottom of the piece. Sometimes as many as thirty strands make up the crown in these weights.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis developed the crown weight design and is the only French factory to have produced these pieces. Most often white filigree twists are alternated with colored ribbon twists, although three, four, and five different colored ribbons may be used. Usually, the rarer the w eight, the more colors it will have.
Bohemian. Bohemian crowns are formed of alternating colors of smooth tubes and are surmounted by several canes (5—7) rather than the one used by Saint Louis and NEGC.
NEGC. The New England Glass Company produced weights fashioned after the Saint Louis crown weight design. The American pieces, whose crowns are made up of fewer strands, are not as delicate as their Saint Louis counterparts. More glass is usually used in the domes of the NEGC weights.
Sandwich. These pieces are similar to NEGC weights, buttheyhave the typical Sandwich profile.
Engraved weight: In these pieces the base is flashed and then engraved. Although primarily a Bohemian technique, engraved weights were also made by Baccarat. In Baccarat pieces the lead content of the glass is higher than in the Bohemian weights, and the quality of the engraving is finer.
Marbrie w eight: The marbrie or marbled paperweight is a clear hollow blown glass hemisphere that is first coated in opaque white and then decorated with loopings of brightly colored glass lying very close to the surface of the piece. Generally a cane or small floret is placed at the top of the dome.
Saint Louis. Marbrie paperweights were produced almost exclusively by Saint Louis. Some of these rare and unusual pieces feature a molded lizard coiled on top of the dome.
Swirl weight: In swirl weights, opaque colored
rods in two or three colors radiate in pinwheel fashion from a central millefiori floret.
Clichy. 1’he swirl weight is a design that was produced in many colors and with a great variety of central canes by Clichy. The most sought after swirls include a Clichy rose in the center.
NEGC. At least one swirl weight has been attributed to NEGC; it differs from the Clichy in being blown much like a crown.
Molded lizard weight: Saint Louis made these distinctive pieces featuring a molded glass lizard set on top of a marbrie or a double overlay weight.
Lampwork is a delicate process of forming and manipulating small hits of colored glass and assembling them into representational flowers, fruit, vegetables, animals, insects, and other non- millefiori design elements. This technique is done with a small hand or blowtorch. (See Chapter Two for a full discussion.)
Individual lampwork elements are often difficult to attribute to particular factories. Fortunately, lampwork weights usually include one or more millefiori canes, which simplifies the task of identification.
4.116 Molded lizard weight—Saint Louis
Painted weight: Little is known about the few painted weights that exist. The images have been painted onto the bases, which were often made of porcelain or alabaster. These pieces were rarely faceted. One exquisite painted weight, probably made during the 1840s in France, shows an elegant lady in early eighteenth-century costume painted on a porcelain base. Her blue lace-edged dress is highlighted with delicate shades of yellow, green, and rose. A clear crystal dome magnifies the image in this super magnum weight, which rests on a gilt metal foot ring.
Distinguishing Antique from Modem Date cane: Date and signature canes are never present in classic period lampwork flower paperweights. This is a helpful way of distinguishing some of the early twentieth-century Baccarat pansy weights from classic period Baccarat pansies. Sometimes referred to as Dupont weights, these early twentieth-century pansy weights by Baccarat may include canes with false dates from 1815 to the 1850s. Many of these pansy weights contain a spurious date cane in the center of the motif or near the base of the pansy.
Color and construction: The color and structure of lampwork motifs can help in distinguishing inexpensive modern weights from genuine antique pieces. Modern Chinese lampwork weights, which were made from the 1930s on, are characterized by the frequent use of orange, bright yellow, and bright green. Modern Murano flower weights can he identified by thick petals and coarse latticinio grounds.
Individual Lampwork Flowers
All the great paperweight manufacturers produced lampwork flowers. Some of these blooms accurately imitate flowers in nature, while others are stylized creations. Whether realistic or imaginary, lampwork flowers are sometimes difficult to categorize. Factories often created several different variations on a single floral motif. Some flowers are one-of-a-kind and do not fit into any category.
Clichy, for example, produced several of these unique pieces, which often have strange and fanciful names like “hears ear” or “auricula,” which is a flower with an outer row of small rounded petals surrounding a row of matchhead dots and a central inner cane.
Matchhead dots, small dabs of colored glass, are often used as centers for Saint Louis flowers and are particularly characteristic of that factor)’. A few other glass factories, notably Sandwich, also produced flowers with matchhead centers.
The following list includes most of the lampwork flowers that w ere produced by classic period paperweight makers. It is not a definitive listing because new lampwork flowers are still being discovered and known flowers are sometimes recategorized or reattributed as more research is completed. Flowers that are known by several different names are cross-indexed and defined under the most commonly used name or under the name that best describes its characteristics.
Anemone: These flowers, made by Baccarat, are identified by their cupped anil pointed petals, which have slightly raised ribs or corrugations. They usually have six white petals edged in blue or red. The anemone is sometimes confused with a primrose because of its pointed leaves.
Bellflower: In this motif, made exclusively bv Baccarat, three white or light blue bell-shaped flowers hang from stems. A bud and many leaves are also part of the arrangement.
Bluebell: See fringed gentian
Buttercup: These small bowl-shaped single blossoms occur in yellow as w ell as several other colors.
Baccarat. Most buttercups were made by Baccarat. These flowers usually have six round lower petals that surround five small inner petals.
American. Sandwich and NE(iC also produced buttercups, often on jasper grounds.
Camellia: This flower, attributed to Clichy, resembles the Saint Louis dahlia in its large size and shape. The petals of the camellia are rounded and arranged in many overlapping layers.
Camomile: See pompon
Carnation: See convolvulus
Clematis: Flowers made up of one or two layers of pointed veined petals are considered together in the “clematis” group. A flower with one layer of petals is called a “single clematis,” and a bloom with two layers of petals is called a “double clematis.” Clematis-type flowers with large center canes anil elongated petals are sometimes referred to as “marguerites” or “daisies.”
Baccarat. For the most part, Baccarat produced a double clematis with six petals in each lat er. The factory also made a single clematis that is most often found in bouquets.
One type of Baccarat clematis shows two buds
in addition to the main flower. These buds are supported by steins that twist around the central stalk below the flower. In another ty pe of Baccarat clematis the petals of the flower are veined with alternating thin stripes of clear and colored glass. The Baccarat “wheatflower” is another variation on the clematis theme (sec wheatflower).
Baccarat clematis and buds occur in several colors including white, aqua, pink, red, and yellow, with yellow being the rarest. Sometimes different colored buds are used in a single weight. The center of the clematis is usually made up of a honeycomb or stardust cane. Clear grounds and star-cut bases are most common.Clichy. Clichy also produced a clematis-type flower. Like all Clichy flowers, these are extremely rare.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis made several types of clematis flowers. These blooms often have a red, white, or yellow matchhead or dot center. The characteristic Saint Louis fourteen-cog millefiori cane was also frequently used to represent stamens. The petals are usually blue, pink, white, purple, or in some rare instances striped. Clear, jasper, or latticinio grounds are most common. Rare examples are set on colored or aventurine backgrounds.
Pantin. One weight with a white clematis-type “daisy” is attributed to Pantin.
American. See poinsettia
Clematis bud: This design, made by Baccarat, usually contains four or six unopened clematis buds on a long stalk with green leaves. Like the weights with clematis flowers in full bloom, these bud weights were made in a variety of colors including white, aqua, pink, red, and yellow. The buds within a single piece are usually the same color; however, there are some instances where different colored buds are used.
Convolvulus: Also called a “morning glory,” this flat trumpetlike flower is one of the rarest of all single-blossom weights. It was made exclusively by Clichy’. The flower, usually on a long stem with tw o long leaves, is generally’ colored in combinations of white, yellow, pink, and blue; pink or blue examples made up of several flattened ruffled canes resemble carnations. Clear and latticinio grounds sometimes occur. There are also some extremely rare examples with a double convolvulus.
Cross flower: Sandwich produced this unusual flower, which has stems in the shape of a cross with florets or matchhead dots at the end of each stem. Two leaves are positioned at the bottom of the main stalk. This flower is found on clear, jasper, and latticinio grounds.NEGC. A rare variation on the cross flower design is NEGC’s “cross of leaves.” In this motif, petal-like leaves are arranged to form a large cross with a flower or cane center and a ground of swirling latticinio.
Crown imperial: This Baccarat design is as rare and beautiful as the flower it represents. A cluster of three orange, three-petaled, bell-shaped flowers hangs from a stem with several leaves.
Dahlia: Dahlias are made up of many overlapping layers of pointed petals.
Saint l.oais. Most dahlias were made by Saint Louis. These flowers are quite large, nearly filling the entire weight. Generally five overlapping rings of pointed, often ribbed petals radiate from a single cog cane. A few green leaves and a stem are barely visible at the edge of the flower.
Mount Washington. There are only a few known examples of Mount Washington dahlias. These magnum-size weights have very large flowers with many close packed petals.
Daisy: See clematis
Dog rose: Made by Baccarat, this flower strongly resembles the Baccarat primrose. However, its petals are made in two layers: the under layer of five or six ogee-shaped petals; the top layer of heart-shaped petals.
Fuchsia: Saint Louis is the only glass factory that made fuchsia weights during the classic period. This rare scarlet and blue flower is found on an orange-colored stem with one or more buds and four leaves. Sometimes two flowers are present. This realistic fuchsia is set on a clear or Iatticinio ground.
Fringed gentian: Made by Baccarat, these ribbed, bell-shaped pink flowers have a white fringe on the bottom. If a flower of the same type is blue it is considered a bluebell.
Geranium: See pelargonium
Lily-of-the-valley: This extremely rare design, formerly attributed to Clichy, features a spray of white flowers and buds with three green leaves on a single stem, set on a transparent red ground. A valuable and much sought after piece, a lily-of- the-vallev weight sold at auction in the early 1970s for $22,000—at that time the highest price ever paid for a paperweight.
In Paperweights: “Flowers which clothe the mead- ows, ” Paul Hollister and Dwight Lanmon say of the lily-of-the-valley weight: “Although generally considered ‘Clichy,’ the fluorescence of this weight is characteristic of Saint Louis weights; the construction of the weight is similar to a Saint Louis white pompon.”Pantiii. A lily-of-the-valley with naturalistic white blossoms, turquoise and green leaves, and a translucent red-cased green stem has been attributed by some experts to Pantin.
Marguerite: See clematis
Morning glory: See convolvulus
Pansy: The most numerous of all antique paperweight flowers is the pansy. The vast majority were made by Baccarat, although most of the other factories produced some version of this favorite Victorian bloom.
Baccarat. Approximately one quarter of the floral weights produced by Baccarat were pansies. The basic pansy consists of two large upper petals and three lower petals, a green stem and leaves, and sometimes a two-colored bud. The velvety color of the top petals was achieved by using transparent purple glass over opaque white glass. The construction of the lower petals divides the Baccarat pansies into three types.
The most common and most realistic Baccarat pansy has three lower petals made up of shallow opaque white cups filled w ith translucent yellow glass. Each of these petals has dark stripes and a large purple dot near its outer edge. A millefiori cane, usually a red or green w horl surrounded by’ a honeycomb cane or a white star cane, rests above the juncture of the petals. When found on a clear ground with a star-cut base, this ty pe of Baccarat pansy is one of the most obtainable and least expensive of the antique flower w eights.
The second type of Baccarat pansy is similar to the first except that there are no veins or dots on the bottom yellow petals. Instead, each petal is outlined in deep purple. Some of these weights have a long curved stem with one bud.In the third type of Baccarat pansy, three large arrow or cog canes make up the lower petals. This style is thought to he the earliest of the Baccarat pansies.All three types of Baccarat pansies are found on clear or lace grounds. Some include a circle of millefiori around the flower. One rare design includes a butterfly.
In the Sotheby’s auction catalogue, “Paperweights and English and Continental Glass,” July 1 and 2, 1985, auctioneer and paperweight expert T. H. Clarke writes:
It is worth noting that according to the Baccarat price list of 1st March, 1850, pansies were more expensive than other single flowers, the 8 cm. size priced at 3 francs 75 centimes. The addition of a garland or “couronne millefiori” added 50 centimes to the price of this size weight. Pansies were made in seven sizes, from 4.5 to 10 cm.
Pansies made by Baccarat during the early twentieth ceil tun’ can be distinguished from antique pieces by the yellow used in the flower. These later pansies, which are sometimes referred to as Dupont pansies, are more amber in color than the hutter-yellow used in the early Baccarat pieces. Also some of these later pieces included spurious
date canes. As mentioned at the beginning of this section, date canes never occur in classic period lampwork flower weights.
Clicby. Clichy pansies look more like “johnny- jump-ups.” Although sometimes found alone, these flowers are usually found in bouquets set on either clear or swirling latticinio grounds.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis made very few pansies. The centers of these flowers are usually match- head centers or opaque-looking dots. Saint Louis pansies, which were perhaps done as experimental pieces, range in quality from good to poor.
Sandwich. See weedflower
Sandwich. Sandwich produced many poinsettia weights in a variety of colors including red, white, cobalt blue, and pale blue. The center of the flower is generally a millefiori cane or a Clichy-style rose, thought to be designed by Sandwich craftsman Nicholas Lutz. These flowers, which can he found on clear, jasper, or, rarely, latticinio grounds, are set in weights having a much flatter profile than their NEGC counterparts.
Mount Washington. Some examples show green leaves and red petals with similar veining.
Pompon: The pompon or camomile has numerous close-set petals, resembling tiny pockets or Pelargonium: Also called “geraniums,” these Saint Louis flowers are similar to Baccarat’s primrose- type blooms. Usually pink, red, or blue in color, pelargoniums are made up of five heart-shaped petals, each with two short black stripes. These flowers are sometimes set on latticinio.
Poinsettia: The poinsettia, a clematis-type flower with two rows of long, pointed unstriped petals, was made by American glass factories.
New England Glass Company. NEGC poinsettias are much less common than those made by Sandwich. The flower, usually in pink or mauve, is commonly set on a latticinio ground. NEGC poinsettia weights are generally distinguished by their high domes and deep concave bases.cells that surround a central cane. These full three- dimensional flowers are set on green stems and surrounded by several leaves.
Baccarat. These rare flowers, which have very sharp and distinct crescent-shaped petals, appear flatter on top than the Saint Louis version. Typically, the flower is set on a stem with two leaves. Four or more leaves and occasionally a hud appear behind the bloom. The Baccarat pompon was made in many colors: white, yellow, red, a two- color version in blue and white, and a rare copper and white. Usually set on a clear ground, the flower is sometimes surrounded by a millefiori garland.
Saint Louis. The Saint Louis pompon petals are feathery and noticeably softer looking than the Baccarat version. There are almost always two leaves set behind the flower head. A stem with a bud and green leaves is also usually present. The blossoms, which usually occur in white or pink, are set on white or pink swirling lattieinio. In rare cases, tomato-red lattieinio alternates with white. 1 his is one ot Saint Louis’s finest flowers.
NEGC. The New F.ngland Glass Company also created a pompon weight. A few exist in both white and pink, with but one known example in yellow; all are on white lattieinio grounds.
Posy: See nosegay
Primrose: Primrose-type flowers have five or six rounded or heart-shaped petals. Sometimes accompanied by one or more buds, rarer versions are found surrounded by a garland of millefiori canes. Sometimes primroses are confused with anemones, which are distinguished by the ribbed design or corrugations on their petals.
Baccarat. Iwo types ot petals are found in Baccarat primroses. In the first type, which is sometimes called a dog rose, the petals are heart-shaped and cupped. One variation has cupped petals filled with contrasting colored glass so that only the ruffled edge of the cup, usually white, is visible. Green leaves can be seen behind the flower, and occasionally a hud is included. Usually a stardustcane forms the stamens. Another variation of this type of primrose features a single heart-shaped petal in one color.
In the second type of Baccarat primrose a white petal-shaped stripe decorates the middle of each petal. This flower is flatter in appearance and has five or six red or blue petals.
A rare Baccarat primrose-type flower, called a wallflower, has five cupped, colored petals that are half to almost completely filled with white. An arrow or honeycomb cane is generally found in the center of the flower.
Saint Louis. The Saint Louis pelargonium is similar to Baccarat’s primrose-type flowers.Rose: Each factory that produced rose weights created its own particular interpretation of the flower.
Baccarat. Baccarat produced a multi-petaled or “thousand-petaled” rose in colors ranging from pink to ruby. Several leaves frame the blossom and are also attached to the stem. These flowers generally appear on clear star-cut bases.
Clichy. In this rare weight, the Clichy rose cane appears slightly larger than usual, supported on a stem with leaves and a bud.
Pantin. A few weights with rose motifs have been attributed to Pantin. These include a spectacular
large yellow rose and hud on a brilliant blue ground; a white rose and two buds on a pink ground; and a pink rose and bud with stem and leaves on a white ground.
Mount Washington. Less than a dozen Mount W ashington rose weights are known to exist. The flower is quite large and is made up of ruffled petals. It is set on a stalk that sometimes bears one or two buds. Occasionally a hand is holding the flower, or a butterfly is included in the piece. In one exceptional piece the rose is encircled by a strand of small blue flowers.
W allflower: This primrose-type flower was made exclusively by Baccarat. These rare blooms usually have five colored, cupped petals that are half to almost completely filled with white. An arrow or honeycomb cane is generally found in the center of the flower.
Weedflower: Although a very few true pansy flowers are known, Sandwich usually produced a colorful and more stylized version of the pansy called the weedflower. Like many of the French pansies, the weedflower has two plain top petals and three striped bottom petals. However, the weedflower petals occur in many colors and a variety of complex canes are used as center stamens. These flowers are set on clear, jasper, or, rarely, latticinio grounds.Wheatflower: Baccarat made this clematis-type flower in yellow or white with two or three small spots on each petal. Sandwich. This version of the wheatflower is strikingly similar to the Baccarat in form; it contains a double row of pointed white petals decorated with dark blue dots.
Lampwork bouquets Floral bouquet: Paperweights containing more than one lampwork flower are referred to as floral bouquets. This style was produced by all the French factories as well as the Mount Washington Glass Works. These pieces can be distinguished by the individual flowers used in the bouquets. Nearly allexamples of flat floral bouquets show paperweight making at its gayest and most exuberant.
Baccarat. Baccarat produced a number of floral bouquet weights. One unusual piece includes a purple and yellow pansy and four light scarlet fringed gentians with leaves and stems.
Clichy. Clichy produced some of the most spectacular floral bouquets. One extremely rare design features a bouquet set in a rectangular “opaline” or opalescent-white plaque.
Saint Louis. This factory produced a number of bouquets, most resting on white latticinio, but some in clear crystal.
Mount Washington. Mount Washington is thought to have produced an extraordinary bouquet weight called the “floral plaque.” In these rare pieces, of which only a few are known, intricate upright flowers are set in a rectangular clear glass plaque with beveled edges. One piece contains thirteen small dahlia-like flowers and buds, with the stems tied together with a ribbon. Approximately 5″ x 3 1/2″ x 1″, the bottoms of these pieces are either diamond-cut, frosted, or clear.
One example has Cyrillic writing on the reverse. Therefore, some experts speculate that these weights might have been produced in Russia.
Nosegay: Also known as posy paperweights, nosegays are made up of from three to five millefiori canes, each of which represent one flower. These flowers are set on a stem with four or more leaves. There are a great many nosegay designs ranging from a simple bouquet set on a clear ground to a nosegay encircled with a millefiori garland on an upset muslin or amber flash ground.
Baccarat. There are no known Baccarat nosegays.
Clichy. Only a few nosegay paperweights were made by Clichy. Most are miniatures on clear grounds, hut a few full-sized weights on clear or lacy grounds are known.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis produced most of the nosegay weights. A great number of settings were used, including garlands of millefiori canes, upset
muslin, latticinio, and an amber flashed base. These particular pieces had a great influence on American paperweight making.
NEGC. Fashioned after the Saint Louis nosegay, NEGC’s posies are much staffer in appearance. Three complex canes are set on four leaves. Two of the leaves extend out from the bouquet horizontally; the other two are perched above the canes almost vertical to the stem. Nosegays are found on clear, latticinio, and sometimes colored grounds. One faceting pattern found in nosegay paperweights is the distinctive NEGC quatrefoil design, cut on top of the weight. In one unusual NEGC weight a nosegay is set in the domed top of a white mushroom.
Upright bouquet: In these weights a three-dimensional bouquet of flowers is set vertically within the weight, with the stems pulled down to the base. A filigree torsade may encircle the bottom of the pulled stems.
Baccarat. Baccarat made relatively few upright bouquets. These pieces can he identified by the individual flowers within the bouquet and especially by the direction of the spiral torsade. All Baccarat spirals lean to the left around a filigree tube.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis upright bouquets may resemble those made by Baccarat, except for the millefiori canes used as flower centers. However, one strong distinguishing characteristic is the torsade. The spiral within a Saint Louis torsade leans to the right when viewed from the side and loops around a filigree twist.Saint Louis featured upright bouquets in some of its basket paperweights, in overlays, and in a few extremely rare encased overlays. Upright bouquets are also found in Saint Louis decanter stoppers, bowl tops, and other objects.NEGC. These extremely rare and well-crafted pieces are among the most expensive American paperweights today. In some examples the upright bouquet rests on a latticinio cushion. Occasionally,fruit can be found carefully hidden under the leaves of the bouquet. Elaborately faceted single and double overlay upright bouquets were also produced by NECiC.
Other Types of Lampwork Floral Arrangements Basket of flow ers: In these pieces made by Sandwich, roses or other flowers line the top of a flat basket made of thin glass rods manipulated to look like a woven basket.
Bouquet garland: These rare pieces by Saint Louis show a circle of blossoms sometimes surrounding a central flower. Generally the dome on
these weights is flatter than others.
Cornucopia: Clichy produced a few of these pieces, in which the flower stems are pulled down into a horn-shaped flat basket.
Lattice basket: These pieces, made by Saint Louis, include an upright bouquet or piece of fruit in a double-spiral white lattice basket with a twisted handle.
Lampwork Butterflies, Salamanders, and Other Animals
Bird: In a unique design attributed to Baccarat, one, two, or three ducks (or swans) are set in a hollow space inside a large faceted weight. I he ground color in these rare weights is usually green.Clichy. Two paperweights by Clichy include a bird perched above a simple white flower on a bed of lace.
Saint Louis. A few lampwork parrot weights are attributed to Saint Louis. .Also a weight featuring a long-legged bird perched on a branch with leaves is believed to have been made by this factor)’.
Pantin. A weight containing a pink and yellow bird perched on a green branch beside a nest with three blue eggs is attributed to Pantin. In his article, “The ‘Fourth’ French Paperweight Factors,” published in the 1965 Annual Bulletin of the PCA, Albert Christian Revi also attributes a parrot anti two other birds to Pantin.
XEGC. Two attractive NF.GC birds, one a parrot on latticinio, are in the collection ot the New York I Iistorical Society. Other examples may well exist.
Butterfly: Most butterfly paperweights were made by Baccarat. In these pieces two sets of flattened millefiori canes make up the wings and a piece of filigree tube encased in purple glass makes up the body. Usually butterflies are set on clear or muslin grounds, sometimes within a garland ot millefiori canes. Rarer pieces include one or more lampwork flowers, the most common being the white clematis. In one unusual weight a butterfly with closed wings rests on a leafy branch.
Clichy. Clichy produced an extremely rare butterfly with triangular upper wings made of pink rosecanes with yellow centers. The lower wings are fashioned from pink Clichy roses with green staves. Set on a clear ground, the butterfly has an orange body, antennae, and six little legs.
Saint Louis. The few butterflies that Saint Louis produced do not seem to be up to the standards of other Saint Louis weights. The colors seem excessively bright and the butterfly’s body, eyes, and antennae appear sloppily done. Most of these pieces are set on a latticinio ground. In one unique weight a frog is included with a butterfly. The Saint Louis butterfly body is made in two segments as opposed to the Baccarat, which is made in one.
American. Mount Washington occasionally in-
eluded small butterflies in some of its floral motifs. One weight, attributed to NEGC, shows a butterfly with red and blue cane wings resting on a branch above two yellow pears and two green leaves, set on latticinio. It is thought that this unique weight was made by craftsman Nicholas Lutz.
Salamander: This animal is also referred to as a lizard by paperweight collectors and scholars. It is not known why this mysterious creature was frequently included in paperweights, but the mythology of salamanders gives some clues.
In ancient times, salamanders were thought to be elemental, or spirits, who animated one of the four elements that made up the known universe (earth, fire, w’ater, and air). The salamander was associated with the element of fire. Theoretically, these dragonlike creatures could dart about in flames and remain unharmed. Their skins were thought to be so cold that they could actually put out fire around them. There are stories about a legendary king who had a cloak made of a thousand fireproof salamander skins.
Because of its relationship to fire, the salamander occupies an interesting position in glassmaking lore. Demingjarves wrote in his book Reminiscences of Glass-Making (1865):
Among these legends was that which ascribed to the furnace-fire the property’ of creating the monster called the Salamander. It was believed, too, that at certain times this wonderful being issued from his abode, and, as opportunity offered, carried back some victim to his fiery bed. The absence of workmen, who sometimes departed secretly for foreign lands, was always accounted for by the hypothesis that in some unguarded moment they had fallen prey to the Salamander.
Pantin. Formerly attributed to Baccarat and Saint Louis, these realistic-looking animals are now believed to have been created by Pantin. In a report describing Pantin’s glass display at the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition, Charles Colne, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Commissioners, wrote:
Paperweights of solid glass, containing glass snakes, lizards, squirrels, and flowers; air bubbles arc distributed in the mass, looking like pearl drops. … A paperweight containing a lizard of colored glass, which had been cut in several parts before being enclosed in the glass.
For years Colne’s report provided the only historical reference to Pantin weights. T hen in 1977, Sotheby’s auctioneer and paperweight expert, T. 11. Clarke, and Corning Museum Director Dwight Lanmon discovered a reference to a gift the Pantin factory gave to the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris in 1880. The gift included “a paperweight, flowers and salamander.” L nfortunately, the museum has to this day been unable to locate the paperweight; however, Clarke and Lanmon were able to study one of the other gifts given by Pantin: a “serpent metalise, ecailles bril- lantes (metalized serpent, brilliant [cut] scales).” Because of its style and the particular techniques used, this piece provided information used to attribute several salamanders as well as other weights to the Pantin factory.
In the article “A Pantin Discovery,” published in the 1981 Annual Bulletin of the PCA, Dwight Lanmon describes the snake that led to the identification of the salamander weights:
The snake’s production seems to have entailed making a rod of peach-colored glass overlaid with dark purple. The rod was then cut throughout its length with a series of circular and oval facets imitating scales and heated in a torch by a lampworker to soften it. T he head was probably formed first, so that the mouth and the lines extending diagonally across the head from the tip of the nose past the eyes could
he cut. T he eyes were made from dark glass melted onto the rod. Lastly, the writhing, coiled body was formed, and an iridescent coating was sprayed on the surface.
The creature is an extraordinary’ object that evidences a mastery of lampworking, hut its importance extends much further: n proves the origin of the lizard paperweights. Compare the snake with the lizard in the 1 Ioughton weight. Both have similar fluidity of form, and both were fashioned from faceted overlay rods; in the case of the lizard, however, the rod has green, yellow, and probably white overlays on a colorless core. The eye, nostrils, and tip of the nose were formed of dark glass melted onto the head; the mouth is cut and there are cut-lines extending in a V from the nose, on top of the head, above the eyes. These similarities suggest thatone lampworker made both pieces. Even though we do not know his name, it is certain that he worked at the Pantin factory and that lizard paperweights were made there. T he conclusion is obvious: undoubtedly, the I Ioughton lizard paperweight was also made at Pantin.
In addition to the four recorded paperweights with lizards formed from facet-cut overlay rods, Lanmon also attributes to Pantin the weights enclosing shimmering, black-skinned lizards, or lizards with enameled patterns on them. I Ie writes:
I he forms of the lizards, the sandy grounds on which they rest, and the lifelike flowers alongside them are clearly by the same lampworker…. To the eleven recorded lizard weights now identifiable as Pantin products, we must add the so-called ‘(iila monster’ weights. These impressive weights feature small, black, ridged-hack, reptilian creatures with the same types of flowering plants and sandy grounds.
Research on these lizard weights is still being done. In Geraldine J. Casper’s article “Pantin Paperweight Characteristics Compared” in the 1985 .Annual Bulletin of the PCA she sets forth an interesting idea about the possible inspiration for the Pantin lizard weights:
An event described byjohn Honders in The World of Reptiles and Amphibians may have inspired Pantin’s Mesozoic motifs: “. . . a remarkable collection of about thirty dinosaur skeletons were recovered in the 1870s from a subterranean deposit discovered in a coal mine in Belgium …” To immortalize these prehistoric scenes in paperweights for the 1878 Paris
Silkworm: This Pantin paperweight, which sold at auction in 1984 for a record-breaking price of Si43,000, features four mauve-colored silkworms on a partially eaten green mulberry leaf. The motif is set on white lace on a blue ground.
Paul Jokelson, who sold the weight at auction in 1984, recounts its history:
It was first bought by an antique dealer in London for about £27. Then it was purchased at auction tor King Farouk by another dealer. I Iowever, the day of the auction King Farouk abdicated his throne and the dealer was left with the piece. It was sold again, and eventually 1 purchased it.
Arthur Rubloff purchased the unique piece at the 1984 auction and presented it to the Chicago Art Institute, where it is now on display.
Snake: Baccarat produced snakes in red, pink, and green. Usually the animals lie coiled on sandy, rock, lacy, or Iatticinio grounds. Snakes set on sandy grounds were made exclusively by Baccarat. The motded body of the Baccarat snake is usually coiled in one and a half turns, with the head resting on a coil. The tail usually has a flip down at its end. The big problem seems to have been to place the lampwork snake on the ground and cover it with glass without creating an almost continuous bubble between the coils. Air inclusions frequently occur around the head and tail. One unique design shows
a snake made up of a green filigree tube. The filigree in this piece leans to the left, which is characteristic of Baccarat.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis snakes are usually set on lace or jasper but are not found on sandy grounds.
Squirrel: Attributed to Pantin, this one-of-a-kind weight features a squirrel with an orange and tan body and dark green tail, ears, and tips of paws. A pink and white filigree twist surrounds a grid-cut base.
Fruit and Vegetables
Mixed fruit, strawberry, and cherry weights make up the majority of lampwork fruit weights. .Although it is not definitely known that Clichy produced any fruit weights, a few pieces have been tentatively attributed to that factory.
Apricot: It is believed that Baccarat made a weight containing two realistic apricots on a green branch with ribbed green leaves.
Cherry: Most of these Saint Louis pieces include two life-size cherries on stems in clear glass. The all-over faceting on some gives the appearance of many more than two cherries.
Pantin. A weight containing four purple cherries or plums on a twig with green leaves, set on an opaque white ground, is generally attributed to Pantin.
Sandwich. A weight with two life-like cherries on stems with green serrated leaves was made by this American factor)’.
Grape: Saint Louis produced a weight with a cluster of tiny purple and blue grapes hanging from an orange stem with grape leaves. These pieces are usually found with complex faceting patterns.
Mixed fruit: A very common type of fruit weight, mixed fruit pieces were made by Saint Louis, Sandwich, and NEGC. In general, the Saint Louis fruits are more realistic and less formally arranged than those made by American factories.
Saint Louis. Although variations occur, these
weights typically include a cluster of three pears or apples and several cherries on a bed of serrated leaves. Usually the fruit is set on a delicate swirling latticinio ground that is pulled down in the center to form a basket.
American. The Sandwich and NEGC mixed fruit weights are generally more formally arranged than Saint Louis pieces. Four pears, ranging in color from yellow to red, are centered around a fifth pear and set on a bed of four leaves. Four more leaves and several cherries fill in the space. Although sometimes set on a clear ground, latticinio baskets are much more commonly found. 1 ligh-domed weights with deep concave basal cavities are usu-
ally attributed to NEGC, while those with a flatter profile are thought to he Sandwich products.
Peach: One faceted weight containing a peach on a green branch is thought be a Pantin piece.
Pear: Although most Saint Louis pears are found in mixed fruit weights, a single pear is sometimes combined with a few cherries. Saint Louis also produced a miniature pear weight.
Pantin. Formerly attributed to Clichy, it is now believed that Pantin produced this weight featuring two realistic amber-colored pears on a branch with green leaves, set on a ground of parallel lengths of filigree twists. Another probable Pantinpiece shows a single pear on a twig with leaves on a brilliant vermilion ground.
NEGC. NEGC made single blown pear and apple weights set on cookie bases as well as groups of pears appearing with a nosegay.
Sandwich. This weight by Sandwich includes two pears and four green leaves; it has a composition similar to cherry and plum weights made by this factory.
Plum: Sandwich produced a weight featuring two blue plums hanging on stems with two small and two large serrated leaves. The design of this piece is similar to its cherry’ and pear weights.
Strawberry: Rare strawberry weights by Baccarat show two or three large, realistic berries in various stages of ripeness, hanging on interconnecting stems with several green leaves. The berries were constructed from many colored canes that were fused and then rounded in shape.
Clicby. A very few wild strawberry w eights w ith a delicate white flower are attributed to Clichy.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis strawberry weights usually include two hanging berries, one fullv ripe and the other green, a white clematis-type strawberry flower, and a number of green leaves. The arrangement is found most often on a swirling latticinio ground.
Pantin. A very few strawberry w eights with berries hanging on a curved stem and nestled in green leaves in clear crystal have been attributed to Pantin. One has three bright red berries.
Mount Washington. Only a few examples of these magnum-size pieces are known to exist. In one piece four large strawberries on leafy beds are placed in a square formation with another berry of the same size in the center. Four smaller white clematis-type flowers are placed between the berries in an upright position.
Turnip: Weights with this motif, which are also called radish or vegetable weights, were made exclusively by Saint Louis. Such weights included five or six colored turnips or radishes with root tips meeting in the center, usually set on latticinio grounds.