Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

Roman Glass Aquamarine lentoid flask

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 29, 2022

Aquamarine lentoid flask


The Windmill Collection of Ancient Glass

Date: 3rd -4th Century AD │ Eastern Mediterranean Size: ↑ 11.2 cm  │  Ø 7.0 cm  │ weight 45 g.

Description: Optically blown, partly molded, transparent aquamarine bottle with faint vertical rib pattern. The spherical body is flattened on the sides. Halfway through the long cylindrical neck (with a flared and finished edge), two small ears are raised with posts of glass in the same color, which are then attached to the edge. The slightly curved bottom has a pontil mark.

Condition: Completely intact.

Provenance: 2007 Private collection New York.

Exhibited‘Fascinating Luxury’ ,  Museum Honig Breethuis, Zaandijk (Netherlands), from 12-11- 2011 through 30-1-2012 , expo nr. 33.

Remarks: This type of bottle with or without ears occurs from the late 2nd – 3rd century AD and is popular up to the 5th century. They are also referred to as ‘Pilgrim’ flask.

References: Collection N.F. Bijnsdorp (NL), NFB 170 (different ears), idem NFB 217, no pattern;


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 24, 2022

The Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne

Blue colored glass has been made since the very beginning of glass making.  Most blue glass is given its color either from cobalt oxide or from copper oxide finely ground and added to the molten glass. Copper is a more delicate colorant than cobalt. It only requires a small amount of cobalt oxide to produce a deep rich blue. In Cologne Germany between the 3rd and 4th centuries exceptionally beautiful blue glass pitchers were made. This pictorial post accents these pitchers.

Click on the active link more of their collection THE ROMAN-GERMANIC MUSEUM IN COLOGNE

The Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne
The Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne
The Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne
The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 20, 2022

A tazza (Italian, “cup”, plural tazze) is a wide but shallow saucer-like dish either mounted on a stem and foot or on a foot alone.

Below are the description for these two types of Tasse


4th century AD. Egypt, Karanis.

H= 7.0 cm. D max= 19.2 cm. D rim= 19.2 cm. D base= 7.1 cm. Weight 276 gr.

Classification: Harden 1936: Class IV.A.

Condition: Excellent condition. Some light weathering. Technique: Free blown. Tooled.

Description: Transparent viridian-green colored glass. Tubular rim, folded out and down to form a hollow flange. Gently flaring walls,at base of which a second hollow flange was formed by pushing in the flat floor. Center of floor slightly concave, pushed up a bit by the stem. Solid twisted stem flaring into a shallow conical foot. Tooling marks and a surrounding vine tendril on foot. Pontil mark.

Remarks: An extremely uncommon form for which it is hard to find a close parallel, but clearly related to deeper stemmed bowls such as Corning No. 111 and 112 and Kisa drawings G 422 and G 426. Also a bowl ex Dr. Carl Kempe Collection may be related (Bonhams 29 April 2004, No. 168)

Published: Charles Ede January 2001, Ancient Glass, No. 37.

Exhibited: Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, Antiek Glas, de kunst van het vuur, 17 May –16 September 2001, No. 80. Thermenmuseum Heerlen (NL), Romeins Glas uit Particulier Bezit, 29 April -28 August 2011, No. 032b.

111E English Facon De Venise Glass Tazza of Allaire Collection Date: 1670 H: 3cm D: 13cm

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.

Date: 1670 H: 3cm D: 13cm


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 14, 2022

A Roman glass ornament in the form of a fish of Elisabeth & Theo Zandbergen

An ornament in the form of a fish, blown from almost clear glass with some silvery iridescence

Origin: Western Empire probably Köln, late 3rd early 4th century AC. Dimensions: H = ~ 2,5 cm.; length ~ 6,5 cm.; weight 6,3 grams. Condition: intact.

Remarks: This ornament is from a so-called Konchylienbecher, hence the slightly curved form.  Konchylien from the Latin konchylion meaning shellfish. The decoration on these bowls shows a combination of fish and shellfish. The bowls are of a large diameter. A number of these bowls have shellfish – clams – as footing. (See: Trier & Naumann-Steckner, Zerbrechlicher Luxus pg. 127)

The intriguing question is; what was the purpose of these bowls or in what context were these used?   Kisa mentions in vol. 3 on pg.768: “… die Konchilienbecher von Trier der in einem altchristlichen Coemeterium(graveyard) des IV Jahrhunderts zu Pallien gefunden wurde …”.

Quite non descriptive as to the person.

A quite expensive funeral gift as these bowls were already pretty rare in those days. Haven’t found (yet) any relation of the by Kisa mentioned burial gift and the role or status of the buried person. A high ranking cleric?

As said, I really don’t know what the function of these heavily decorated bowls was. One could make the hypothesis, based on the fish elements, that these bowls were used in the Christian rites. This as the fish was and still is a token in the Christian tradition. Expanding the hypothesis into the role of these bowls in the religious councils having a communal function ie. sharing wine or the likes thereof.

(Latin: Konchylion; Latin: concilium evolving to council, having quite some affiliation, at least for me. So, a possible connection of this bowl to some “rites” in the early Christian hierarchy?)

Parallels: (no direct parallels found yet)

  • Whitehouse, Corning Museum of Glass vol.II pg. 237, nr. 824,
  • Reflections on Ancient Glass from the Borowski Collection pg.102 plate V-64,
  • Kisa, Das Glas im Altertume, vol.3 pg. 768, 769, pict. 314 pg. 776, pict. 314a pg. 777,
    315 pg.781,
  • Trier & Naumann-Steckner, Zerbrechlicher Luxus pg. 127,
  • Fremersdorf Band VI tafel 20/21,
  • Saldern, Hentrich collection nr. 105,
  • Stern, Römisches, Byzantinisches und Früh Mittelalterliches Glas, pg. 173, nr.68,
  • Arveiller-Dulong & Nenna, les verres Antiques du Musée du Louvre, pg.371 nr. 981,
  • Bijnsdorp, Fascinating Fragility (2010) pg. 229, nr. NFB 166,
  • Wight, Molten Color, pg. 100 nr. 70.


  • Ex Collector Antiques (Bron Lipkin)
  • Ex David Giles collection.


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 9, 2022

Merovingian claw beaker

Above: 5th-6th-century Merovingian claw beaker, found in Bellenberg-Vöhringen (Bavaria) Germany. This example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art is unique for this period due to the claws being in a contrasting color and the body of clear transparent glass.


Claw beaker is a name given by archaeologists to a type of drinking vessel often found as a grave good in 5th to 7th century AD in Merovingian and Anglo-Saxon burials.  Found in northern France, eastern England, Germany and the Low countries. It is plain conical beaker with small, claw-like handles or lugs protruding from the sides made from gobs of molted glass applied to the beaker’s walls. The unique shape may have been derived from the bag beaker pictured below showing similar form to the second vessel which has the beginnings of lugs on its sides.

The center of manufacturing was probably in Germany.  The glass beaker can be found in tints of brown, blue, yellow, light green and colorless.  The earliest date of these being made seems to be around 400 AD and this unusual glass form remained popular throughout the 5th, 6th and 7th Centuries. These claw beakers are the most complex of glass vessels from the early Medieval period and although their popularity survived almost into the 8th century very few complete and intact examples survive.  Below are an amazing group of these beakers which clearly demonstrate the advance glassmaking skill needed to create their features and also show how they have miraculously survived the burial conditions some even unbroken and intact. Paraphrased from Journal of Antiques and Collectables.

Click on the photographs to enlarge and for more information on the object.


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 4, 2022

A group of Roman glass vessels exhibit the glass cutting or engraving skills of Roman glass makers.

During the Roman period of the first to four centuries AD highly skilled glass cutters engraved or cut vessels of many designs and forms including cage cups and other open-work vessels. The following examples illustrate a sampling of a few designs of cast or blown glass vessels which were cut in high relief. All photos are taken from the publication, ” Glass of the Caesars” by Donald Harden 1987

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