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Paperweight

A work made of glass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass.

Date:

19th century

Artist:

Baccarat Glassworks (Cristalleries de Baccarat)
Alsace, France, founded 1764

About this artwork

Technological improvements to optical scientific instruments in the mid-nineteenth century spurred a veritable obsession across Europe with identifying and classifying the natural world. Amateur botanists were eager to collect and preserve floral specimens, which they intently researched and catalogued. In response to this broad appeal, French glassmakers made paperweights that portrayed the very botanical subjects that were so enthusiastically sought. Many weights represented specimens with horticultural correctness, but others were entirely fanciful creations. Paperweights like this example speak to the period’s fascination with taxonomic systems.

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

Baccarat Glassworks

Title

Paperweight

Origin

Lunéville

Date

1801–1900

Medium

Glass

Dimensions

7.6 cm (3 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Arthur Rubloff

Reference Number

1979.886

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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