OPAQUE BLUE ROMAN GLASS BUD VASE
OPAQUE BLUE GLASS BUD VASE of David Giles
Culture: Roman, Date: 1st century about 25-75 AD, Height:10.8cm
Place of manufacture: Probably Italy. Considered to be from the same workshop as the example in the British Museum.
Decoration: Two horizontal ground raised bands on the upper body and two on the top outer rim
Technique: Historically described as cast and cut but the modern school of thought suggests that these were blown and then ground and polished when cold. The example in the British Museum is described as blown. I am inclined to go with the blown theory. The same shapes are made in transparent glass which are obviously blown but the glass in those cases is thinner. This vessel would have required thicker glass to allow for cutting and so the glass maker may have started with a thick rectangular sheet of glass and picked it up and folded it round on the iron before blowing. This process in itself would explain the need for subsequent grinding and polishing to remove any irregularities or rough exterior from when the sheet was formed, regardless of the cut band decoration. This is the technique used to make the mosaic gold band glass bottles. Whilst the idea of casting this particular form of vessel would seem to be unlikely, nevertheless it would have been a more complicated technique than simple blowing and the skill and work involved would have put these vessels into the luxury category.
Rarity: This is a rare form in cut opaque glass. Only about 8 extant examples are known of in private and public collections Worldwide. They are found in three opaque colors: red, blue and white. Obviously luxury items.
Provenance: Ex collection of Dr. Alexander Gonik, Switzerland 1960’/1970’s.
Reference: Benzian collection Sotheby’s 7 July 1994, two examples in white and red. ,Constable Maxwell collection Sotheby’s June 1979, two example in red., British Rail collection Sotheby’s 24 November 1997 example in red (from the Constable Maxwell collection).
Parallel: British Museum example probably from Italy as pictured below: