Friday, January 3, 2014

Antique English Cameo Glass Scent Bottles

In this guide I will introduce you to the world of antique English cameo glass scent bottles. These exquisite perfume flacons were popular during the Victorian era and were no doubt very expensive in their day just as they are now. There are some very good and informative websites which can explain the process of making cameo glass, so I wont put that info here.

English cameo glass appeared around 1876.  Acid etching allowed large areas of outer glass layers to be removed relatively faster rather than painstakingly removing it by hand. The carving of the design is achieved in two ways.

First, the outer layer is roughened by acid pitting to provided a key for the acid resist. The pattern is then painted in acid resist layer of wax or some other acid-resistant material such as bituminous paint and repeatedly placed in hydrofluoric acid which removes any area not covered by the resist. Then, the remaining glass is then modeled using small steel points or wheels set into wooden holders to 'carve' the glass. This produced very fine details not seen in French cameo glass.

Nineteenth-century English producers of true cameo glass include Thomas Webb and Sons and George Bacchus & Sons,  though ceramic imitations made popular by Wedgwood's bi-colored "jasper ware", imitated by others from the late 18th century onwards, are far more common. Like Wedgwood's designers, they usually worked in a more or less neoclassical style. Some of the finest English cameo glass artisans were Philip Pargeter (1826—1906) and John Northwood (1836—1902)

 Webb Cameo scent bottles were sold in fine jewelers and will sometimes bear markings with London, Paris and New York on the inside of the presentation cases.

THOMAS WEBB & SONS CAMEO GLASS SCENT BOTTLE, c. 1890's. 6 1/2" Long. 

A Thomas Webb & Sons perfume bottle, circa 1880, a silver mounted swan's head cameo glass perfume bottle and stopper, white overlay finely carved feathers on a blue body, silver cover hallmarked and bottle signed. Length 24 cm


AN ENGLISH CAMEO GLASS SCENT BOTTLE WITH AN AMERICAN SILVER MOUNT, 
THE GLASS THOMAS WEBB, LATE 19TH/20TH CENTURY, 
the silver marked 'Sterling' 
5¾in. (14.6cm.) high (2)
photo from Christies



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