Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5


A work made of glass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of glass.


c. 1845/60


Clichy Glassworks (Cristalleries de Clichy)
Clichy, France, 1837-1885

About this artwork

The colorful geometric clusters embedded in this paperweight reflect the nineteenth-century European fascination with optical effects. Sir David Brewster invented the kaleidoscope in 1815, and its colorful and changing patterns brought great visual entertainment. Paperweights such as this example reformed this childlike pastime for a sophisticated adult audience. Depicted in glass were tiny glittering flowers, small black and blue cameos of figures, and even miniature bottlecaps. These were delicately arranged within the orb for the observant eye to discover.

From the late 1840s to early 1860s, French manufacturers of fine glass and crystal—such as Baccarat (Alsace), Clichy (Paris), and Saint-Louis (Lorraine)—catered to the vast public enthusiasm for beautiful yet functional desk accessories. Paperweights, which were designed to secure loose papers against drafts, were among their most popular products.


Currently Off View


Applied Arts of Europe


Clichy Glasshouse




Clichy (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





Diam.: 8.1 cm (3 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Arthur Rubloff

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions