The museum is open Fridays through Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free timed-entry passes are required. Review our latest visitor safety guidelines.

Baccarat Paperweight

Baccarat Paperweight

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description (Brief)
In the 1700s, paperweights made from textured stone or bronze were part of the writer’s tool kit, which also included a quill pen and stand, inkpot, and blotter. By the mid-1800s, decorative paperweights produced by glassmakers in Europe and the United States became highly desired collectibles.
Decorative glass paperweights reflected the 19th-century taste for intricate, over-the-top designs. Until the spread of textiles colorized with synthetic dyes, ceramics and glass were among the few objects that added brilliant color to a 19th-century Victorian interior. The popularity of these paperweights in the 1800s testifies to the sustained cultural interest in hand craftsmanship during an age of rapid industrialization.
The French firm, Baccarat, was originally founded as the Verrerie Renaut in 1764, by request of the Bishop of Metz to the King of France, Louis XV. After the French Revolution, the company was re-named Verrerie de Baccarat. Peak production of Baccarat paperweights was between 1846 and1855.
Closely packed millefiori, “Gridel” silhouettes (said to be named after a young boy whose cut paper silhouettes inspired Baccarat’s glass workers), and blue and white torsade decorate this Baccarat paperweight. Millefiore paperweights, first manufactured in Venice, consist of sections from rods of colored glass encased in a clear, colorless sphere. By the mid-nineteenth century, glass factories elsewhere in Europe were emulating the millefiore style.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
paperweight
date made
1847-1850
maker
Baccarat
place made
France: Grand Est, Baccarat
Physical Description
glass, transparent (overall material)
cut (joint piece production method/technique)
millifiori (joint piece production method/technique)
Measurements
overall: 1 15/16 in x 3 in; 4.92125 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
CE.67.240
catalog number
67.240
accession number
213138
Credit Line
Mrs. Florence E. Bushee
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Paperweights
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object