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Out-of-print and Hard-to-find books and information for Glass Artists and Collectors

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Glass History

books about glass history in our studio library

Here are our books about the history of glass. We've got ancient glass, glass from the middle ages, Venetian Glass and even some contemporary stuff. As always, if we missed anything, you can find it by using the search box at the bottom of the page.

This page is constantly under construction, so you may find some unlinked titles. If any of those titles catch your interest, feel free to use the search box to locate a copy for your own library.

European Glass from 1500-1800: The Ernesto Wolf Collection

Early Glass of the Ancient World: 1600 B.C.-A. D. 50

This massive book presents 155 glass vessels and objects from the Ernesto Wolf Collection, most of which have never been seen by the general public before.

The oldest of these pieces date back to the early phase of the glass making art in the Tigris-Euphrates region around 1600 BC. The most recent are products from the first century AD, when the "new" technique of glass-blowing had begun to spread throughout the Roman Empire.

The book is divided into six sections:

  • The Late Bronze 1600-1200 B.C
  • The Iron Age 900-400 B.C
  • Mediterranean Core-Formed Vessels 550 B.C.-A.D. 10
  • The Hellenistic Age 550-50 B.C
  • The Early Roman Empire 50 B.C.- A.D. 70
  • Hellenistic and Early Imperial Roman Glass Objects Ca. 550 B.C.- A.D. 50

Besides its obvious value to the student or collector of ancient glass, this book is also a wonderful resource for the modern glass artist.

In conjunction with the ancient examples pictured and discussed, the book describes and pictures modern experiments showing just how the ancients might have created the original works; with photos and diagrams.

Includes a bibliography and index.

Bohemian Glass: 1400-1989

Glass in Early America: Selections from the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum by Arlene Palmer

This oversized book includes glass used or made in America from the middle of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century. Picturing 423 objects as close to actual size as the page height allows, it includes drinking vessels, plates and bowls, bottles and flasks, vases, lighting devices, and everything from windowpanes to bird fountains. Each photo is accompanied by a description of the piece, including dimensions, comments on its construction or decoration, and its provenance.

British GlassBritish Glass 1800-1914

A Short History of Glass - by Chloe Zerwick

As the title says, "a short history of glass" from its beginnings over 3,000 years ago in the Middle East, to the present time (circa 1980). A nice, compact overview. Illustrated with lots of examples from the Corning Museum collections.

A Short History of Glass (Revised and updated) - by Chloe Zerwick

Originally published by the Corning Museum of Glass in 1980, this is the "redesigned and updated second edition" published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1990.

"A Short History of Glass takes the reader on a fascinating journey around the world to the places where glass originated more than 3,000 years ago, where artistry was later perfected, and where fine objects in this lustrous and fragile medium are still made and appreciated - from the ancient Middle East, through the Roman Empire, the Far East, Islam, Europe, and America. A pictorial survey of more than 100 color images guides the way.

Here we learn about ...glassmaking techniques, some thousands of years old; ...a wide variety of objects and styles; ...regional distinctions in glass ...the superb artistry of glassmakers in Murano ...innovations of Scandinavian craftsmen ...leading glass manufactories.

There are pieces here by the many great masters of glass, among them George Ravenscroft in England, Emile Gallé and René Lalique in France, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Frederick Carder in America, and contemporary glass artists such as Eric Hilton, Dominick Labino, Erwin Eisch, Stanislav Libensky, and Jaroslava Brychtova.

Clear As Crystal, Red As Flame: Later Chinese Glass

A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections

Early Chinese Glass

Qing Dynasty Chinese GlassTreasures of Chinese Glass Work Shops (Selection of Chinese Qing Dynasty Glass in the Ina and Sandford Gadient Collection)

Art Nouveau GlassArt Nouveau Glass: The Gerda Koepff Collection

Art Glass Nouveau - by Ray and Lee Grover

Carved and Decorated European Art Glass - by Ray Grover

French Cameo Glass - by Berniece Blount & Henry Blount

A beautiful, rare, maybe expensive (but worth it) book with lots of photos. Includes a brief description of each piece with the size noted. this book also has several pages picturing nearly 200 signatures found on French Cameo Glass.

English Cameo Glass - Grover

With over 400 color plates, 150 black & white photos, 78 pages from Thomas Webb & Sons pricebook, and more than 800 line drawings from George Woodall's sketchbook, this is the one book you must have if you're interested in cameo glass. A huge, priceless resource.

A History Of Glassmaking In England

Old glass paperweights: Their Construction, and Distinguishing Features - by Evangeline Bergstrom

Written by paperweight collecting pioneer, Evangeline Bergstrom, this vintage volume is illustrated with many color and black and white photos of weights from her vast collection. Includes notes on various antique paperweight makers and paperweight construction methods.

Glass Paperweights of The Bergstrom Art Center - by Evelyn Cloak

A fabulous reference, this book pictures, in color, 700 glass paperweights collected by Evangeline Bergstrom and now housed at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Neenah, Wisconsin. Each illustration is accompanied by a detailed description with dimensions and historical notes. If you make or collect paperweights, you want this book.

Glass Paperweights in the Bergstrom-Mahler Collection Glass Paperweights of the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum - by Geraldine J. Casper

This may well be the mother of all paperweight reference books! Picturing in color and describing the 1200 glass paperweights in the collection of the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, it includes detailed descriptions (with measurements) of each weight. This massive collection, started by Evangeline Bergstrom, and continued with donations and purchases, may represent the largest single collection in the world of antique glass paperweights.

Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights - by Paul Hollister, Jr.

"Until this book, there has been no comprehensive study of glass paperweights. Encyclopedic in scope and copiously illustrated, it surveys the entire history of the subject, from an exploration of the origins of millefiori techniques in 18th Dynasty Egypt to the latest paperweight developments the world over (circa 1969)."

With 140 weights in full color and 250 in black and white

"Within sections devoted to paperweight-making by country are histories of all major and most minor glassworks, with detailed studies of every type and variation of paperweight they made... Other chapters deal with sulphides, modern paperweights, and the scientific examination of paperweight glass.

(Also includes) a complete glossary of terms, an exhaustive bibliography of pertinent glass literature, and a list of museums with paperweight collections..."

Pilchuck a Glass SchoolPilchuck : A Glass School - by Tina Oldknow

"Dale Chihuly's Hippie Commune begets Studio Glass Movement."

Pilchuck Glass School is the place where every artist who works in glass comes to take or teach a summer class (2 1/2 weeks). It's the glass art world's seat of power where craft process is shared, artists go to refresh themselves (located on 40 acres of land amidst thousands of acres of tree farm overlooking the most spectacular vista including the waterway from Seattle to Alaska it's hard not to get in touch with your soul), and it's the place where artists return each summer just to be with each other. This is a very special place.

Dale Chihuly started Pilchuck one summer more than 25 years ago when he was teaching at RISD. He thought it would be fun to go west and blow glass...there was no Studio Glass Movement and, as you will read when you buy this fabulous book, there wasn't much of anything but the extrodinary spirit of a group of very special people.

Pilchuck has grown to be one of the world's most important arts institutions with a Board of Trustees that "gets it".

Tina Oldknow has written an easy to read "page turner" that's a scholarly work (she conducted more than 150 interviews in two years of thorough research for this book) while its picture filled format (gorgeous color photographs of art made from glass as well as historic photos of the artists and their art) makes it easy to understand for those who don't really like to read art books. This is a don't miss read for anyone interested in art or in the social history of the 70's, 80's and early 90's.

Clearly Inspired Contemporary Glass and its OriginsClearly Inspired, Contemporary Glass and Its Origins - By Karen S. Chambers and Tina Oldknow

Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, curated by Karen S. Chambers for the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa FL.

"Clearly Inspired focuses on contemporary artists who use the glassworking techniques of antiquity - in some cases, after having rediscovered or reinvented lost processes...

... contrasts the work of contemporary artists working in glass with examples of earlier glass that have inspired them to replicate forgotten techniques and to explore the formal or conceptual concerns that fascinated their artistic antecedents.

Historical works illustrating the sources of inspiration are drawn from museum collections such as those of the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; and the Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY.

Contemporary Studio Glass - National Museum of Modern Art

Murano Glass a History of Glass Murano Glass: A History of Glass - by Gianfranco Toso

Glass Mosaics

English Cameo Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass

Soviet Glass - by N. Voronov

Russian Glass of the 17th-20th Centuries - by Nina Asharina, Liudmila Kazakova

Another great one from the Corning Museum of Glass. Is there any type of glass their collections DON'T include?

200 Years of American Blown Glass  - by Helen and George S. Mckearin

Glass in Canada: the First One Hundred Years - by Gerald Stevens

Australian Studio Glass : The Movement, Its Makers and Their Art by Noris Ioannou

Art glass from "down under".

Stiegel Glass - by Frederick William Hunter

The first major work about this important Early American Glass producer. Controversial, but still a mainstay in most antique glass libraries.

Henry William Stiegel: The Life Story of a Famous American Glass Maker - by George L. Heiges

Glass of the Caesars - Corning Museum of Glass

Illustrated with many, many examples from the collections of the Corning Museum.

GLASS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE - by David Whitehouse

"This book is in two parts. The first part traces the history of Roman glassmaking between about 100 B. C. and A.D 500 - from before the Romans completed their conquest of the Mediterranean until after their empire began to collapse.

The second part illustrates 24 outstanding examples of Roman glass in The Corning Museum of Glass and describes the methods that were used to make them.

The 24 objects are arranged according to the techniques used to form or finish them: casting, lathe cutting, grinding, polishing, and blowing.

The Romans employed a variety of methods to decorate blown glass. While it was hot, they applied glass as random fragments or trails, and they blew elaborately decorated forms in molds.

When the glass was cold, they cut and engraved it. (They) also painted glass and applied designs cut out of gold foil.

The (book includes a) glossary... (which) explains the names of the glassmakers' tools and techniques.

At the end of the volume, there is a list of books and articles that discuss the Roman Empire and the achievements of the glassmakers."

The Art of French Glass 1860-1914 - by Janine Bloch-Dermant

Whitefriars Glass; The Art of James Powell and Sons by Lesley Jackson

New Glass - by Otto Rigan, photographs by Charles Frizzell

From the cover notes: "A new stained glass art is evolving on the West Coast of North America - a free-form art that is closer to painting than to our conventional ideas of stained glass as architectural embellishment. This visually exciting book is the first to document the new glass artists and their styles."

Here in text and photograph are the motivations, techniques and works of 24 brilliant exponents of this striking new form.

Artists include: Jad King, Paul Marioni, Kerry Kelly, Peter Mollica, Dan Fenton, Narcissus Quagliata, Kristin Newton, Robert Kehlmann, Elizabeth Devereaux Tallant, Kathie Stackpole Bunnell, James Hubbell, Richard Posner, Ed Carpenter, and several more.

History of GlassformingA History of Glassforming

New Glass: a Worldwide Survey - Corning Museum of Glass

Published about 1980, this book includes a veritable who's who of glass artists working at that time. Includes a brief biography of each artist and a photo of a piece of their glasswork.

A Tryal of Glasse: The story of Glassmaking at Jamestown

Reminiscenses of Glass-Making - by Deming Jarves

Fascinating book by the man who originated so-called "Flint Glass".

New England Glass and Glassmaking - by Kenneth M Wilson

Blowpipes: Northwest Ohio Glassmaking in the Gas Boom of the 1880's - by Jack K. Paquette

On Divers Arts: The Foremost Medieval Treatise on Painting, Glassmaking, and Metalwork - by Theophilus

Art in Glass: a Guide to the Glass Collections - Toledo Museum of Art

Cathedral: the Story of its Construction Cathedral - by David Macaulay 

from Amazon.com: "The Gothic cathedral is one of humanity's greatest masterpieces--an architectural feast that couldn't help but attract the attention of renowned author-illustrator David Macaulay. Once an architectural student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Macaulay glories in the intricacies and beauty of structure, as evidenced in his masterful pen-and-ink drawings in critically acclaimed children's books such as Castle, Pyramid, and Rome Antics.

He begins Cathedral in 1252, when the people of a fictitious French town named Chutreaux decide to build a cathedral after their existing church is struck by lightning. We first meet the craftspeople, then examine the tools, study their cathedral plans, and watch the laying of the foundation. Week by week we witness the construction of this glorious temple to God.

Macaulay intuitively hones in on the details about which we are the most curious: How were those enormously high ceilings built and decorated? How were those 60-foot-high windows made and installed in the 13th century? And how did people haul those huge, heavy bells up into the skyscraper-high towers?

Thanks to Macaulay's thorough, thoughtful tribute to the Gothic cathedral, not a stone, turret, or pane of stained glass is left unexamined or unexplained." (Ages 9 and older) --Gail Hudson

Glass Flowers Ware Collection Blaschka

History of Glass Klein Lloyd History of Glass - General editors: Dan Klein and Ward Lloyd
"Written by a team of experts, each of them a specialist in his or her particular field, this book tells the story of all the major developments in the history of glass from its beginnings in Pre-Roman times...

The major styles of glass and the techniques used to make it are traced from this early period through the Roman era and the Dark Ages, into medieval times, when... there was also a flowering of stained glass... resulting in the magnificent works at such cathedrals as Chartres..

The effects of different cultures on glass styles... are described, as is the rise of Venice as the pre-eminent glass-making centre during the Renaissance...

The development of the heavier lead glass in the 18th century... paved the way for new styles of decoration on glass, including cutting and engraving... The fashion for Art Nouveau at the end of the (19th) century heralded the modern era, and the 20th century was to favour functionalism and simplicity in decorative glass... while the use of glass in architecture and industry has become more and more widespread with the development of new techniques".

Masterpieces of Glass : A World History from the Corning Museum of Glass by Robert J. Charleston, Thomas S. Buechner (Designer)

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Copyright ©2011 Fledgling Studio and John R. Cumbow

updated June 2011