Scratching Around: The Glories of Engraved & Etched Glass

Engraved-goblet-c1750 Artists and craftsmen have scratched and scored patterns onto glassware for almost as long as the material has existed: around 5,000 years. The practice flowered under the Roman Empire but achieved a new dawn in Prague from around 1600 when skills that had been traditionally used to decorate mineral rock crystal were transferred onto glass.

Engraving became the decorative focus on the finest glass produced across Europe during the vogue for façon de Bohème [Bohemian style] glassware, becoming almost universally regarded as the epitome of good taste between c1650-1775, when it was supplanted by façon d'Angleterre cut crystal. Engraving enjoyed another major vogue during the mid-to-late-19th century, when it was rivalled by acid-etching, a fundamentally different but apparently similar technique. Engraving is currently enjoying a new renaissance, with its leading British practitioners, Peter Drieser and Katherine Coleman, the proud recipients of MBEs in recognition of their artistic skills.

This new talk, specifically composed for NHDFAS, examines the evolution of engraving and associated techniques through its various methods and manifestations, various created with diamond tips, lathes and acids, from the days of ancient Rome to the present.