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A work made of glass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass.


c. 1848–55


Baccarat Glassworks (Cristalleries de Baccarat)
Lorraine, 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


Baccarat Glassworks




Lunéville (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.: 6 cm (2 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Arthur Rubloff

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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