Imágenes de páginas

be sustained in case it should happen to break by

the way.

These great difficulties, which have excited the astonishment of every one who has seen the process, and that of finding sale for so expensive and magnificent wares, have obliged artists to return to the old method of blowing; and many have been so fortunate in improving this branch of manufacture, that plates are formed now by blowing, sixty-four Flemish inches in height, and twenty-three in breadth, which it was impossible to make before but by casting.

The mass of matter necessary for this purpose, weighing more than a hundred pounds, is by the workman blown into the shape of a large bag; it is then reduced to the form of a cylinder, and being cut up, is, by stretching, rolling it with a smooth iron, and other means not yet known but to those employed in the art, transformed into an even plane.



I Do not here mean to enter into the history of engraving on stone, as that subject has been already sufficiently illustrated by several men of learning well acquainted with antiquities. I shall only observe, that the ancient Greek artists form

ed upon glass, both raised and engraved figures; as may be seen by articles still preserved in collections, though it is probable that many pieces of glass may have been moulded like paste; for that art also is of very great antiquity.* It appears likewise that they cut upon plates of glass and hollow glass vessels all kinds of figures and ornaments, in the same manner as names, coats of arms, flowers, landscapes, &c. are cut upon drinking-glasses at present. † If we can believe that learned engraver in stone, the celebrated Natter, the ancients employed the same kind of instruments for this purpose as those used by the moderns. They undoubtedly had in like manner a wheel which moved round in a horizontal direction above the work-table, or that machine which by writers is called a lapidary's wheel. §

If this conjecture be true, what Pliny says respecting the various ways of preparing glass is

* Traité des pierres gravées, par Mariette. Paris 1750, fol. i. p. 92, 210.

+ If I am not mistaken, the two ancient glasses found at Nismes, and described in Caylus' Recueil d'antiquités, ii. p. 363, were both of this sort.

↑ Traité de la méthode antique de graver en pierres fines, comparé avec le methode moderne; par Laur. Natter. Londres 1754, fol.

§ I say by writers, because I never heard that word used by workmen; and the same is the case with the word fritte, which, though common in books, is in most glass-houses not known.

|| Aliud flatu figuratur, aliud torno teritur, aliud argenti modo cælatur. Lib. xxxvi. 26. p. 758.

perfectly intelligible. It is turned, says he, by the wheel, and engraven like silver. In my opinion we are to understand by the first part of this sentence, that the glass was cut by the wheel, like stone, both hollow and in relief, though it is possible that drinking-cups or vessels may have been formed from the glass metal by means of the wheel also.* In the latter part of the sentence, we must not imagine that Pliny alludes to gravers like those used by silver-smiths, for the comparison will not apply to instruments, or to the manner of working, which in silver and glass must be totally different; but to the figures delineated on the former, which were only cut out on the surface in a shallow manner; and such figures were formed on glass by the ancient artists, as they are by our glass-cutters, by means of a wheel.

Many, however, affirm, that the art of glasscutting, together with the necessary instruments, was first invented in the beginning of the 17th century. The inventor is said to have been Caspar Lehmann, who originally was a cutter of steel and iron; and who made an attempt, which succeeded, of cutting crystal, and afterwards glass, in the like manner. He was in the service of the emperor Rodolphus II, who, in the year 1609,

* Of this kind were the calices audaces of Martial, xiv. 94, and those cups which often broke when the artist wished to give them the finishing touch.

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besides presents, conferred on him the title of lapidary and glass-cutter to the court, and gave him a patent by which every one except himself was forbidden to exercise this new art. He worked at Prague, where he had an assistant named Zacharias Belzer; but George Schwanhard the elder, one of his scholars, carried on the same business to a far greater extent. The latter, who was a son of Hans Schwanhard, a joiner at Rothenburg, was born in 1601; and in 1618 went to Prague to learn the art of glass-cutting from Lehmann. By his good behaviour he so much gained the esteem of his master, who died a bachelor in 1622, that he was left his heir; and obtained from the emperor Rodolphus a continuation of Lehmann's patent. Schwanhard, however, removed to Nuremberg, where he worked for many of the principal nobility; and by these means procured to that city the honour of being accounted the birthplace of this new art. In the year 1652 he worked at Prague and Ratisbon by command of the emperor Ferdinand III, and died in 1667, leaving behind him two sons, who both followed the occupation of the father. The elder, who had the same Christian name as the father, died so early as 1676; but the other, Henry, survived him several years. After that period Nuremberg produced in this art more expert masters, who, by improving the tools, and devising cheaper methods

of employing them, brought it to a much higher degree of perfection.*

That the art is of so modern date, seems to be confirmed by Zahn, who speaks of it as of a new employment carried on, at that time, particularly at Nuremberg. He describes the work-table, as well as the other instruments; and gives a figure of the whole, which he appears to have considered as the first. It may be seen, however, from what I have already quoted, that this invention does not belong entirely to the moderns; and, to deny that the ancients were altogether unacquaint

* This account may be found in Sandrart's Teutsche akademie, vol. i. part 2, p. 345, where the express words of the Imperial patent are given; but in the new edition by Dr. Volkman very little of it has been retained. Besides many other faults of this edition, much valuable information respecting the German artists has been omitted. Those who may be desirous of writing on the present subject must have the first edition. Compare also Doppelmayr, Nachricht von Nürnberg künstlern, p. 231, 232, 237.

+ Non ita pridem innotuit pulcerrimum artificium quascunque imagines etiam contrafacturas, quascunque figuras, notas et scripturas curiosissime in vitra incidendi; præcipue autem vitra potiora illo solent ornari. Norimbergæ modo fuit artifex, qui imagines contrafacturas artificiosissime iisdem incidendo exhibuit. Vidi tale vitrum potorium ab eo elaboratum non adeo magnum, cujusdam principis Germaniæ effigiem nitidissime ac perfectissime præsentans, pretio quadraginta imperialium ab eodem coemptum; multo autem majoris adhuc pretii alia ab eodem artifice confecta audivi arte singularissima, qua incidendo ac interendo ita effigiat imagines, ut non intritæ ac impressæ compareant, velut in iis vitris quæ communiter distrahuntur ac venduntur, sed emineant et extent elatiores, perfectissimeque sint expolitæ. Oculus artificial. iii. p. 79. In the last part of this quotation Zahn alludes to images which were affixed to glass-ware intended for common use.

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