The techniques of coloration, shaping and decoration combine in complex associations which engender the visual and tactile miracle…

Carlo Moretti


Clear glass and coloured squares, different coloured blocks of Venetian crystal, hot assembly, some with internal streaks, shaped by cutting, engraved signature ‘Carlo Moretti 1999’ ‘Prova d’artista’.

Italy, 1999

Inv. 3712

Photo: Paul Louis


‘Murrine’ cup and saucer

Mosaic clear glass, elements heat-sealed, inner bottom frosted, blue-green glass patterns. Black strip applied while hot to form the handle. ‘Venini Italia’ engraved on the pontil.

Venini & Co.

Murano, Italy, 1953

Inv. 3857

Photo: Paul Louis


Powders with gloomy, dull hues…

These are the colouring oxides, ready for their baptism of fire. The role of glass is to make them sing: the yellows from sulphur, uranium and silver…, greens from iron and chrome…, reds from gold, copper and selenium…, blues from cobalt and copper…, violet colours from nickel and manganese, etc.

Most of them have been known since the most ancient times.

 Is it being useful that makes a thing beautiful, or is it being beautiful that makes it useful?

Over its long life, glass has managed to combine the two aspects without conflict, imbuing everyday accessories with beauty and grace.

‘Oignons de Jemeppe’ bulbous vases

Moulded blown glass. One of a slightly bluish white opal, with blue enamel powders scattered on the base and blue threads rising on the high neck, tooled while hot, neck opened while hot. The other is moulded blown blue opal with decorations applied using blue and burgundy enamel powders, tooled while hot. Blue threads rising towards the neck, opened while hot.

Blue stencilled enamel mark to the bases, ‘VSL’.

Cristalleries du Val Saint-Lambert, Division de Jemeppe.

Jemeppe-sur-Meuse, Belgium, circa 1920.

Inv. 3858-3859

Photo: Paul Louis


 ‘Louis-Ida’ wedding glass (Metternich service water glass)

Semi-crystal glass or blown moulded clear lined old gold glass, etched and wheel-engraved: ‘Louis-Ida 1859’ in a cartouche, bubble inclusion in the stem, hexagonal foot.

Cristalleries du Val Saint-Lambert

Seraing, Belgium, 1859.

Inv. 3853

Photo: Paul Louis


Is light not glass’s best friend?

A solid material which becomes extraordinarily malleable when heated, and with a molecular structure reminiscent of liquids…

A magical material in amulets and crystal balls, and yet one which is so ordinary and taken for granted in our everyday lives…

A diabolical material which the mediaeval Church prohibited from tombs while at the same time exalting it in stained-glass windows to the greater glory of God…

A material which bends to our every whim, making vases, windows, mosaics, threads, lenses and sculptures, but which nevertheless shatters if you mistreat it…

Jan Zoritchak


Clear glass crystal ball with bubble inclusions, having a frosted crack.

Czech Republic, 1978

Inv. 2449

Photo: Paul Louis


‘Vines and snails’ vase

Blown glass, multi-layer vitrification, snails applied while hot, acid-etched.

Signed: ‘DAUM ‡ NANCY’

Cristalleries Daum

Nancy, France, 1904

Inv. 838

Photo: Paul Louis


Glass is like a chameleon which shows off its different appearances…

Some people believe that nothing befits glass better than transparency, especially when relief comes into play…

Chantal Delporte

‘Détachement’ sculpture

Colourless pâte de verre with crystal frits.

Belgium, 2011

Inv. 4308

Photo: Kikirpa

Jean-Claude Novaro


Thick greenish and amethyst glass in the form of a flattened bowl opened while hot; engraved signature on pontil ‘NOVARO J6’.

France, 1978

Inv. 2460

Photo: Paul Louis

Perhaps a cold material… but one which is shot through with intense life!

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