Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 18, 2018

Venetian Plate or Platter of David Giles

Remarks: Venetian plate or platter with gilded decoration. The most interesting feature of this piece is that the decoration or design on the roundel is of Islamic form and was obviously made in Venice for the Islamic market. I hadn’t appreciated this when I bought it but one day an Islamic expert, Carlo Suriano, saw it and spotted this immediately. I also sent images to the Islamic expert Stefano Carboni who confirmed the same opinion.  Dated: early 1500  Diameter: 36cm  See close up of roundel below.



Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 16, 2018

Venetian Footed Bowl of David Giles


Remarks: This footed bowl with gilded and enameled decoration was made in Venice in the early 1500. Diameter is 28 cm. It is a beautiful, classic and important Venetian glass bowl.



Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 14, 2018

Roman BOTTLEof Hans van Rossum

End 1st – 2nd century AD, Eastern Mediterranean, found in Jerusalem

Size↑9.5 cm | ø 9.5 cm (body) |Weight 120 g

Technique: Free blown, handle applied

Classification:  Vessberg Type Pl. V no. 8

Description: Green glass, globular body; cylindrical neck, slightly sunken into the body; rim folded outward, downward, upward and inward forming a collar. Three-ribbed strap handle applied to the shoulder, drawn up  and  attached  to the edge of the rim, in a fold and at right angles. Flat base with pontil rest. The small size is rare.

Condition: In a perfect condition with areas of iridescence

Provenance: Sa’di Barakat & Sons, David Street, Old City, Jerusalem. Legally Authorised Dealers, Authorisation No. 195

Reference: Fine Antiquities, Christies auction 3 July 1996 lot no. 293, Vetri antichi del Museo Civico Archeologico di Padova, G. Zampieri nos. 244, 247-249

Roman Honey-Colored Trailed Jar

Posted in 2. Ancient Glass, Roman Glass by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 13, 2018

37R Roman Honey-Colored Trailed Jar H: 8.5 cm Fourth Century


Remarks: This symmetrical honey-colored jar was used for storage.  It has a thin self trailing wound around the body with a folded collar-like rim.

Ref: Field Museum (Chicago) #87


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 11, 2018



Dimensions: Overall H: 19.6 cm, W (head): 7.7 cm; Rim Diam: 5.7 cm; Foot Diam: 6.8 cm;

Date: 300-499 made probably Eastern Mediterranean

Definition: A Roman glass head flask (1st to 4th centuries) is a type of flask having a bowl in the form of a human head and a tall thin neck rising above the center of the head sometimes with a handle extending from the rear of the head to the middle of the neck. They are made by blowing the hot glass into a two-part mold.

Remarks: After the mid-fourth century, glassmaking declined in the Roman Empire. In the east, where the decline was less pronounced, a group of deep blue flasks, pitchers, and lamps with coiled bases was produced. They seem to have been made in a single workshop, but examples have been found as far afield as the Sudan and South Korea. One member of the group is this head flask, which was blown in a two-part mold. The handle was applied to the neck, drawn out and down, and attached to the head. The remaining glass was dragged down to the neck and notched. The thumb-rest at the apex of the handle was made by pinching the hot glass with pincers.

Comment: Only four head flasks are known to exist made from this mold.  Two are at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu (both shown) and the forth is at the Antikenmuseum in Berlin.  The Corning flask (shown) once belonged to the celebrated operatic tenor Enrico Caruso. The example below from the Boston Museum of Fine Art is a similar flask although not a head flask.  It features a theatrical mask medallion.  The styling of this vessel however suggest it may have been made in the same work shop as the head flasks.


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 9, 2018

Roman glass amphora (amphoriskos)


The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass

Date: 1st half 3rd century AD Size: ↑ 10.7 cm  │   Ø 6.3 cm

Description: Free blown dark yellowish amphora (amphoriskos), fairly thick glass, with somewhat stocky body. The long neck (↑ 6 cm) is slightly constricted at the base and flows into a shaped edge. The bulging bottom has a clearly perceptible pontil mark. The two dolphin handles are light green and attached against the neck with an ornate bow.

Remarks: According to a note (sticker on the bottom) by the previous owner this amphora was found in Israel (as well as no. 169 in the Royal Ontario Museum (Hayes). The relatively long neck is characteristic of a bottle from the 1st half of the 3rd century.

Classification:  Isings (1957), form 129 (variant)  Condition: Intact

Provenance: Daniel M. Friedenberg NY (former curator of the Jewish Museum New York)

Reference: Musée du Louvre (Arveiller-Dulong/part II,no.1037; Bonhams auction 5-10-2011 lot no. 215 (with zig-zag decoration);  Royal Ontario Museum (Hayes 1974, no. 169).



Roman Glass Candlestick Balsamarium

Posted in 2. Ancient Glass, Roman Glass by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 8, 2018

Candlestick Balsamarium 36R

This is a utilitarian bottle from the second century with beautiful iridescence over the entire piece of glass. This vessel, used for perfume, was designed with a long neck inhibiting evaporation of the precious liquid within.

H: 14 cm

Second to Third Century

Ref: Cf. Yale #169

Roman Trefoil-Mouth Pitcher with Blue Handle

Posted in 2. Ancient Glass, Roman Glass by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 7, 2018

The thinly-blown glass of this small vessel demonstrates the skill of a First Century craftsman.  The spherical body rests on a pad foot and the graceful neck is accented by a trefoil-shaped mouth.  A trailed-on handle of opaque blue glass emphasizes the overall delicacy of this piece.

H: 11.5 cm

First Century

35R Trefoil-mouth Pitcher


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 5, 2018


The iridescence on ancient glass was unintentional unlike what is found on modern Tiffany, Loetz, and Steuben glass. Caused by weathering on the surface, the iridescence, and the interplay of lustrous, changing colors, is due to the refraction of light by thin layers of weathered glass. How much a glass object weathers depends mainly on burial conditions and to a lesser extent the chemistry of it. These conditions are humidity, heat and type of soil the glass was buried in. The chemistry of ancient glass though basically the same as our soda glass differed in the purity of raw materials and compositional ratio.  There were also differences in flux alkali used such as natron (sodium carbonate) or potash (potassium carbonate). Generally glass made in the Western Provinces with potash has less iridescence than glass from the Eastern Mediterranean areas using natron. At the same time burial conditions also were different. Natural iridescence is sometimes found on modern glass bottles from digs in the back yards of old houses or pulled out of river beds. The word iridescence comes from Iris, the Greek Goddess of rainbows and refers to rainbow-like colors seen on the glass which changes in different lighting.  It is simply caused by alkali (soluble salt) being leached from the glass by slightly acidic water and then forming fine layers that eventually separate slightly or flake off causing a prism effect on light bouncing off and passing through the surface which reflects light differently, resulting in an iridescent appearance. Modern iridescence sometimes called iris glass is made by adding metallic compounds to the glass or by spraying the surface with stannous chloride or lead chloride and reheating it in a reducing atmosphere.

Below are examples from contributing collectors of highly iridescent ancient glass

Hans van Rossum

AMBER RIBBED BOWL (zarte Rippenschale)



Elisabeth & Theo Zandbergen



Joop van der Groen


The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass


Nico F. Bijnsdorp



Nico F. Bijnsdorp collection

David Giles




The Augustinus Collection of Ancient Glass


The Allaire Collection of Roman Glass


Posted in 1. American Glass, CATEGORIES OF GLASS TYPES ON THIS SITE, Early American Glass before 1850 by Allaire Collection of Glass on July 4, 2018

On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States.  What was the most common type of glass bottle in the colonies at that time ?


American Chestnut Bottle

Free blown American chestnut bottles were made in great quantities by most of the early glass shops from about 1750 to 1850. They were mostly made of the natural color of glass which is different shades green to brown. The name chestnut is based on the bulbous and flattened shape. The bottles typically are 4 to 9 inches however some are as small as 2 inches and large as demijohns and carboys. Similar chestnut flasks were made in Germany in the 18th-19th century. Ref: Kechum p. 5,11, McKearin Plate 225, Spillman II #45

The three examples from the Allaire collections are:

05A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 7/8"

05A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 7/8″

05A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 7/8″

This is a dark olive green American chestnut bottle with pushed-up base.  Plain applied lip.

25A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 ½ inches

25A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 ½ inches

25A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 ½ inches

This free blown American chestnut bottle is olive green with pushed-up base and plain applied lip.

33A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 ½ inches

33A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 ½ inches

33A Chestnut Bottle H: 5 ½ inches

This light olive green American chestnut bottle has a high kick and plain applied lip.

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