A Brief History into Cameo Glass

Here’s a brief look at the history of Cameo and how it might benefit anyone who is studying it. It’s basically a more luxury formation of glass art. All one has to do is take fused layers of different colored glass and do some etchings. The artist carves and etches his or her way into a design. The parts which should not be removed are protected by a layer of wax or other material which is not be affected by acid.

There are only two kinds of glass motifs being used here. It’s either a white opaque glass figure, in front of a dark-colored piece of art. One can use other colors, but it won’t look as good. It’s meant for either the white or dark. The created forms in modern times are flowers, animals and meander scrolling.

It first began during the Roman Period.

The Roman Technique

This is where it all began. There is one other main benefactor to this time. It’s also extremely rare. Most products, such as big vessels, wall plaques and other fragments, put out during their initiation period are not very rare. Two of the most famous pieces of gemstones here are the Gemma Augustea and Gonzaga Cameo. There were much more to come from this period, but these two, by far, are the best examples. Cameo glass fragments are in contrast very seldom.

Most of the Roman cameo glass was produced from 27 B.C. to 68 A.D. and from 300 – 400 A.D. The idea of cameo glass was derived from the gems and other products fabricated as positive reliefs out of minerals like onyx. These stones which were used consisted of different colored layers which were removed carefully so that the background set a contrast to the engraved picture. This method was called Cameo. The small gems usually pictured a portrait of a person.

Here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Only 200 glass fragments from production have survived. Only 15 complete glass artefacts are available today. This is actually a rarity when one thinks of the thousands of pieces that were created in the past. One of the most well-known objects is the Portland Vase with pictures of the Greek mythology, exhibited at the British Museum in London, dated from the first century A.D.

The Later Periods

This was more from the Islamic periods. It was well-known there during the 8th and 9th centuries. Once they were over, the designs and production templates were all but lost in Europe. It was until around the end of the 18th century that some of them started to resurface, but not as they once were. By the time the 19th century began, things were starting to come back.

Some of the key people who brought this renaissance back were Thomas Webb and Sons and George Bacchus and Sons.

According to many reports, this began some of the most artistic productions to date. This sort of artistry, attention to detail, and value on the core principles had not been seen since the Art Nouveau Period. This is the one that was helmed by Émile Gallé and the Daum brothers.