Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

English Facon de Venise Glass Tazza

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 30, 2019

(111E) Allaire Collection

A small tazza made of clear soda glass with a shallow tray gently curving up at the edge. The spreading conical base has a folded foot.  This is a product of one of the Duke of Buckingham’s glass factories in England which were active around the 1670’s. The tazza illustrates the influence of Venetian style of glassmaking and use of soda glass prior to the introduction of leaded glass later in the British market of the 18th Century.

D: 1670

H: 3cm

D: 13cm


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 29, 2019

(80R) Two Handled Roman Bottle of Allaire Collection

Date: 3rd -4th C.AD Probably from the Eastern Mediterranean Size: Height 16 cm, Weight 230 g

Description: A tall neck bottle with funnel mouth is decorated with two coils and a third placed where the neck meets the body.  Faint diagonal ribs are present on the bulbous body which is angled in at the bottom and finished with a coil ring. It has a pontil mark.  The transparent yellow glass of the vessel is also used for the two applied handles laid on the shoulder and pulled up with a fold over just above the center coil.

Condition: Minor stress cracks, silvery iridescence on the inside and faint iridescence on the body.

Ref: Ancient Glass: The Bomford Collection, 1976, #123, Glaser der Antike, Sammlung Oppenlander, 1976 A. von Saldern, # 665, Roman and Early Byzantine Glass, Hans van Rossum, 2011, P. 172 #HVR141, Histoire du Verre L’Antiquite, Slitine, 2005 P. 85, Fire and Sand, Antonaras, 2012, P.142

This vessel has been cleaned using the method out lined in CLEANING ANCIENT AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL GLASS. Below is the before picture.


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 27, 2019



Date: Late 3rd – 4th century AD. Northwest Empire, Gaul or Rhineland.

Size: H: 18.5 cm. Dmax: 8.6 cm. Drim: 5.4 cm. Dbase: 7.1 cm. Weight: 219 gr.

Classification: Isings 1957: Form 128., Morin-Jean 1913: Form 132., Sennequier 2013: Form HN 15.2., Goethert-Polaschek 1977: Form 142.

Condition: Intact. Some weathering and iridescence.

Technique: Body blown in three-part mold with two vertical sections and one section for the base. Mouth and neck free blown. Handles applied.

Description:Transparent pale yellowish green tinted glass. Cylindrical body divided in three horizontal bands of roughly equal height. Top band has five, bottom band six continuous horizontal ribs, imitating hoops binding wooden staves. The central band is plain and slightly convex. Horizontal shoulder with rounded edge. Cylindrical neck slightly tapering upwards to horizontal rim. Rim folded out, up and in to form a narrow flange with rounded edge. Slightly concave base with concentric circle around pontil mark. Two opposite broad strap handles with ribs on either edge drawn up from edge of shoulder, bent at straight angle and attached with a fold to the neck and underside of rim. Prominent vertical mold seams under right side of handles from shoulder down to base.


(1) Three different mold-types for barrel-shaped bottles have been identified. This bottle was blown in a three-part mold: one part for each vertical half and one for the base. The second mold-type had two vertical sections, each of them extending to the underside of the base where the mold seams formed a horseshoe-shaped pattern (see NFB 373). The third mold-type consisted of two identical halves, resulting in two vertical mold-seams and a straight seam across the middle of the base.

(2) Barrel-shaped bottles imitate the larger wooden barrels that were used for storage of liquids (wine, beer, oil). They were exclusively made in the Western Empire, mainly in the northwest of Gaul and the Rhineland. The earliest ones have one handle (NFB 373), later examples have two handles (NFB 372). The bottles were standardized in size to contain a certain quantity of liquid.

Provenance: Sheikh Saud Bin Mohamed Ali Althani Collection, Doha, Qatar. Louis-Gabriel Bellon Collection, Saint-Nicolas, France (1819-1899).

Published: Jack-Philippe Ruellan, 4 April 2009, No. 192.


Stern 2001, The Ernesto Wolf Collection, No. 76.*

Follmann-Schulz 1992, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn, No. 22.*

Dilly & Mahéo 1997, Musée de Picardie, No. 73.

Welker 1987, Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Frankfurt am Main, Nos. 14-15.

Arveiller-Dulong 1985, Musée Archeologique de Strasbourg, Nos. 373-375.

Val-d’Oise 1993, Musée Archeologique Departemental du Val-d’Oise, No. 176.

Metropolitan Museum New York, accession number 17.194.190.


* Same mold-construction as NFB 373.



Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 25, 2019



Date: 2nd – 3rd century AD. Northwest Empire, Gaul, Normandy.

Dimensions:  H: 17.8 cm. Dmax: 8.6 cm. Drim: 4.2 cm. Dbase: 8.3 cm. Weight: 200 gr.

Classification: Isings 1957: Form 89. Morin-Jean 1913: Form 132. Sennequier 1993: Form HN.15.1. Goethert-Polaschek 1977: Form 121.

Condition: Intact. Some weathering and iridescence.

Technique: Body blown in mold with two vertical sections, each of them including a part of the base section, with a mold-seam in the form of a horse-shoe on the bottom. Mouth and neck free blown. Handle applied.

Description: Transparent bluish green glass. Cylindrical body divided in three horizontal bands of roughly equal height. Top and bottom bands have six continuous horizontal ribs each, the central band is plain and slightly convex. Near horizontal shoulder with rounded edge. Cylindrical neck slightly tapering upwards to horizontal rim. Rim folded out, up and in to form a narrow flange with rounded edge. Infolded part of rim descends into the neck. Flat base with pontil mark and mold-seam in the form of a horse-shoe. Broad handle with two faint side-ribs drawn up from edge of shoulder, bent slightly downwards and attached with a fold to neck and underside of rim. Vertical mold-seams (one adjacent to handle) from lower neck, down the body to underside of bottom.


(1) This bottle was unearthed in 1875 by Louis-Gabriel Bellon (1819-1899), a French archaeologist and collector, who carried out regular excavations in Northwest France. Mr. Bellon marked many of the unearthed objects with find-place and –year and other information. The underside of this bottle carries a sticker with his handwritten text “Amiens 1875”.

(2) According to Stern the horse-shoe formed pattern on the underside of the bottom is characteristic for barrel-shaped bottles made in Normandy (Stern 2001, No. 76). Examination by Gaitzsch and Fullmann-Scholz (Bonner Jahrbücher 2000) of 28 published barrel-shaped bottles with the trademark ECVA on the base shows, that all of them have the horse-shoe mold-seam. Since these bottles were produced in workshops around Cologne (Hambacher Forest), it is reasonable to conclude, that this mold-type was not (only) characteristic for the production in Normandy but (also) for Rhenish products.


Sheikh Saud Bin Mohamed Ali Althani Collection, Doha, Qatar.

Louis-Gabriel Bellon Collection, Saint-Nicolas, France (1819-1899).


Jack-Philippe Ruellan Enchères 4 April 2009, No. 194., Corinne Helin, August 2016, Louis-Gabriel Bellon (1819-1899) et sa collection d’antiques.


Whitehouse 2001, Corning Museum, No. 589.

Heinemeyer 1966, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf/Hentrich, Nos. 53-54.

Simon-Hernand 2000, Musees de Poitiers, No. 68.

Arveiller-Dulong 1985, Musée Archéologique de Srasbourg, Nos.170-171.

Sennequier 1985, Musée des Antiquités de Rouen, No. 275.

Dilly & Maheo 1997, Musee de Picardie, Nos. 42-45, 48-51, 54-61.

Metropolitan Museum New York, accession number 81.10.73 (also from Amiens).


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 21, 2019

Glass in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Early Byzantine mold-blown glass vessels mainly can be put into two groups


Group I

Characteristics: Mostly made with blue green glass with one sub-group using Christian symbols and the second sub-group having stylized crosses, columns, palm fronds & simple geometric patterns. Below are examples of this group.




Group II

Characteristics: Mostly made with brown, sometimes bluish green glass with one sub-group using Christian, Jewish or geometric pattern symbols in four sided vessels.  The second sub-group also in brown glass in two shapes jugs and jars both squat in hexagonal vessels. Also stylized with Christian, Jewish or geometric patterns  symbols.




Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 19, 2019

Karanis was a town in the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt know today as Kom Oshim. It is located in the northeast corner of the Faiyum.  It was one of a number of towns established in the Arsinoite nome under Ptolemy II Philadelphus as part of a scheme to settle Greek mercenaries among the Egyptians and to exploit the potential fertile Fayum basin.

Karanis 1st BC to 5th C was mainly an agricultural town which expanded in prosperity after Augustus conquered Egypt in the 1st century and well into the 2nd century. This archaeological site was active from 1924 to 1935.  The glass found has a very particular style and type and is sometimes referred to as Karanis glass.  These vessels may have been made locally or imported from some other location in Egypt.

Francis W. Kelsey, a professor of Latin language and literature at the University of Michigan received grants to search for an excavation site in 1924. Starting excavations of Karanis in 1925, his goal was to “increase exact knowledge rather than the amassing of collections”, with a focus on common people. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is located at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.  KMA houses an important collection of provenanced glass fragments and vessels (ca. 1,300 items) from the archaeological site of Karanis the Greco-Roman Egyptian town, in Egypt. The glass pictured below is from this museum.

More recent excavations have been done by the Cairo University, the French Institute, and for the last few years by a combined collaboration of UCLA and the University of Groningen (RUG) in the Netherlands.


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 17, 2019

The honeycomb pattern makes one of the most beautiful types of Roman glass bowls. It is a decorative molded pattern of irregularly shaped hexagons, used as an overall pattern on these Roman glass bowls of the 4th century.  They are said to have been made in Syria or Egypt and probably widely exported to many places where they have been found.



Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 13, 2019

The chemistry behind making blue glass is complex.  The simple answer is finely powdered oxides of cobalt or copper are added to the glass batch.  Almost from the very beginnings of glass manufacture the color blue has been a chosen hue.  Beginning with a core-formed piece from 4th to 6th Century BC and ending with an example made by John Nygren from the studio glass movement of the early 1980’s.




Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden REVISITED

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 9, 2019

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (active link to their web page) is the best national archaeological museum of the Netherlands. It is located in Leiden. The Museum grew out of the collection of Leiden University and still closely co-operates with its Faculty of Archaeology. This archaeology museum has one of the finest glass collections in the Netherlands.  The collection has pre-Roman, Roman, Merovingian with other groups from the Migration Period, Middle Ages, and other periods.  (active link to slide show of collections)

 The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden is having an new exhibition of their glass May 3th to September 1st 2019

Glassmakers from antiquity were exceptionally adept at making the most beautiful shapes and colors. The Glass exhibition reflects their craftsmanship. You will see a selection of the most beautiful glass from the museum collection, which comes from Egypt, the Classic world and the Netherlands. For the gourmets among the art lovers.

In the exhibition you will see some of the earliest glass objects from ancient Egypt, such as cosmetic bottles and amulets. Also Roman glass, bracelets from the European Iron Age (the ‘La Tene period’), jewelery, gems, play stones, Greek glass, special Merovingian cups and some early Islamic glasses are among the highlights.

Below are some of our favorite glasses from this wonderful collection.




Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on January 7, 2019


From The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass


Hellenistic cast glass Kantharos


Date: Late 3rd – mid 2nd century B.C. , region around the Black Sea (the Crimea) or Italy  Size: H = 8.3 cm D = 9.7 cm (rim),  15.5  cm (incl.handles)

Provenance: Collection David Giles London (UK), ex coll. S. Antonoshkin (Germany)

Description: This drinking cup (assembled from multiple pieces) is constructed of light-opaque to transparent virtually colorless thick glass with a greenish-gray tint. The oval almost egg-shaped body is cast in a mold, simultaneously with the grips and the conically tapered foot. The integral handles have flat, concave sided thumb rests, horizontally aligned with the rim of the kantharos. On the vessel’s tooling, the orifices  in the handles, their further  details  and feet were finished by chiseling. Subsequently the cup was  ground and polished on a lathe (N.F. Bijnsdorp 2010).  The drinking cup is designed to be held with the thumb, forefinger and middle finger.

Remarks: The word ‘ kantharos ‘ is probably derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘ beetle ‘, an indication for the edited handles. This type of glass is, as with many other forms of the time, an imitation of metal i.e. gold, silver and bronze cups. Early Kantharoi from the Hellenistic period are not numerous. They distinguish themselves from the so-called Skyphoi as type that normally have a less oval body and a lower foot. Furthermore, in publications and also some descriptions in museums both terms are used interchangeably.

The period is designated as ‘ Hellenistic ‘ overall from 330 to 50 B.C. at the beginning of the Roman Empire. After the death of Alexander the Great in the year 323 emerged led by Macedonian Greek generals various Hellenistic kingdoms.

The second half of the third century B.C. (with a passage on to the second century) creates a separate Hellenistic glass-style. This first group is best represented by important and documented finds in the Hellenistic colony Canosa di Puglia, on the Adriatic coast in South East Italy. In various tombs in Canosa (Canusium) is cast monochrome glassware found, that can be considered as the first joint effort of glass makers in ancient times to almost complete dinner sets to manufacture, both before serving of food or drinking from cups. Just as before in Achaemenid Persia is here only a production of luxury items, what is underlined by the extraordinary design, elegance, quality and overall accuracy of the manufacturing process. Virtually all glasses are discolored on purpose in an effort to achieve transparency, but often this resulted in a yellowish-green tint. Only in rare cases (such as the example in The British Museum) a blue cup was made (Grose 1989).

It has long been believed that these types would be manufactured in Alexandria (Egypt). Multiple finds of colorless glass (in addition to Canosa di Puglia, Etruria, Naxos and Morgantina in Sicily and Reggio di Calabria) point out, however, that not only South Italy (Magna Graecia) can be classified as possible production location, but also the Mediterranean area and around the Black Sea (the Crimea).

This kantharos belongs to the main monochrome forms of the so-called Canosa-group.

References: An identical cup is in the British Museum in London ( 1871.0518.9), dated 200 – 225 BC.), coming from a tomb in Canosa di Puglia, Italy. Found in 1871 together with 8 other glass from the period 275 – 200 BC. Shown in Masterpieces of Glass, The British Museum (d. Harden 1968 No. 37) Antikes Glas (f. Neuberg 1962   nr. 82) and mentioned in Ancient Glass (D. Harden 1971).

Also in the collection of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is a virtually identical drinking cup (1997, Kunina. 59, height 9.6 cm, diameter 9.4 cm edge, the slim high foot less tight). This kantharos was found in 1990 in Akhtanizovskaya, in the Krasnodar region. In the same Hermitage collection are 3 more (including a light blue) kantharoi, all significantly later, from the 1st century AD.

Another example from the 2nd century B.C.(height 8.1 cm, diameter 15.7 cm) in Ancient Glass (Charles Ede Ltd London 2006, no.6), formerly in the Brailovski collection and reputedly found in the Crimea.

A special kantharos from the 1st century BC belongs to the collection of the Corning Museum NY ( 70.1.29), up to 1908 in the collection of A.Vogell (Germany). This cup measures 9.6 cm high, diameter edge 8.2 cm (14.0 cm incl. handles), the color is transparent deep-blue. → Glass of the Caesars (Harden 1987, no. 14).

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