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Paperweight

A work made of glass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass.

Date:

c. 1845/60

Artist:

Clichy Glassworks (Cristalleries de Clichy)
Billancourt, 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

Artist

Clichy Glasshouse

Title

Paperweight

Origin

France

Date

1840–1865

Medium

Glass

Dimensions

Diam. 9.5 cm (3 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Arthur Rubloff

Reference Number

1988.541.304

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.

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