The Cambridge Glass Fair
three hundred years of collectable glass in one day
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Though millefiori was known BC, the encasing of millefiori and also lampwork and sulphides (cameos) in a clear crystal sphere to form a paperweight is a mid-19th century artefact, principally found in France, England, America, Italy and Bohemia.
This art form almost died out after 1870 until the early 1920's, followed by a dramatic revival after World War II in Britain, mainland Europe, United States and the Far East, where new techniques and ingredients in glass manufacture enhanced the glass workers' skills and the vibrancy of colours, so much appreciated by paperweight collectors.
Some 20th century glass houses experimented with abstract designs thus increasing the range and variety of paperweights, and ensuring a greater choice for collectors whether at the cheaper or more expensive ends of the market.
The foyer exhibition celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Cambridge-based Paperweight Collectors Circle with a superb display of eighty paperweights including examples from both different eras and continents, and of many types.
The exhibition will show antique weights from France, America, Bohemia and Great Britain plus modern American, British, French, Italian and Chinese.
There will be lampwork weights; marbries; picture weights; sulphides; dumps; faceted weights; pedestal weights; miniatures and magnums. There will be examples of surface decoration; muslin and carpet-ground; scrambles; millefiori; overlays; pressed glass and many others.
For enthusiasts this gives valuable insight into the vast range produced, although many are scarce and very valuable pieces not readily available even from specialist dealers.
There is also a section on fakes and copies which again will be extremely helpful to collectors.
The scattered millefiori weight at the top of the page is by Clichy and has a central trademark ‘ Clichy rose’ in pink and green
The pansy paperweight shown here is an example of lampwork. The centre of the flower is formed from a honeycomb cane. The pansy is the most popular flower in classical weights because it denotes ‘pensée’ – a young man is thinking of his lady…
Both of the above weights were produced in the mid-nineteenth century.
The modern American weight shown at the top left is by Michael O’Keefe. It is of an internal opaque blue/grey shell design and it stands upright and has a slightly flattened shape. The colour changes in different lights or when the weight is moved.
The hand blown pear-shaped weight is antique American from New England. The pear is hollow and sits on a biscuit cushion.
Paperweights are among the most collectable and desirable objets d’art and the maker’s imagination can run riot with the unlimited design possibilities. Many well-known and highly proficient manufacturers will be represented including the British Whitefriars and Walsh factories, the famous French houses of Clichy and Baccarat and the very skilled modern American and British makers, amongst others.
This is an exhibition to truly whet the appetite and it would come as no surprise to discover that many new collections are begun after viewing this special display.
We are grateful to the Paperweight Collectors Circle for staging this rare opportunity to see such a wide variety of quality weights. The exhibition will be a reprise of the anniversary exhibition held at Olympia in 2006.
•Cape Cod concentric magnum
•Rick Ayotte lampwork magnum
•Modern St. Louis lampwork sunflower
Note: All images supplied by Cambridge Paperweight Circle