Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut to Clear Vases

Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut to Clear Vases.

Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut to Clear Vases.

Bohemia, a part of the Czech Republic (formerly part of Czechoslovakia, formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, originally part of Czech Kingdom or Kingdom of Bohemia), became famous for its beautiful and colourful glass during the Renaissance. The history of Bohemian glass started with the abundant natural resources found in the countryside.

Bohemian glass-workers discovered potash combined with chalk created a clear colourless glass that was more stable than glass from Italy. In the 16th century the term Bohemian crystal emerged for the first time in history to distinguish its qualities from the glass coming from other places. This glass contained no lead as is commonly suspected. This Czech glass could be cut with a wheel. In addition, resources such as wood for firing the kilns and for burning down to ashes were used to create potash. There were also copious amounts of limestone and silica. In the 17th century, Caspar Lehmann, gem cutter to Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, adapted to glass the technique of gem engraving with copper and bronze wheels. During the era, the Czech lands became the dominant producer of decorative glassware and the local manufacture of glass earned international reputation in high Baroque style from 1685 to 1750.

Czech glassware became as prestigious as jewellery and was sought-after by the wealthy and the aristocracy of the time. Czech crystal chandeliers could be found in the palaces of the French king Louis XV, Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, and Elizabeth of Russia.

Bohemia turned out expert craftsmen who artfully worked with crystal. Bohemian crystal became famous for its excellent cut and engraving. They became skilled teachers of glass-making in neighbouring and distant countries. By the middle of the 19th century, a technical glass-making school system was created that encouraged traditional and innovative techniques as well as thorough technical preparation.

In the second half of the 19th century, Bohemia looked to the export trade and mass-produced coloured glass that was exported all over the world. Pairs of vases were produced either in a single colour of opaque glass or in two-colour cased glass. These were decorated in thickly enamelled flower subjects that were painted with great speed. Others were decorated with coloured lithographic prints copying famous paintings. These glass objects were made in huge quantities in large factories and were available by mail order throughout Europe and America. Many of them were not fine art but provided inexpensive decorative objects to brighten up ordinary homes. Reverse glass painting was also a Czech specialty. The image is carefully painted by hand on the back of a pane of glass, using a variety of techniques and materials, after which the painting is mounted in a bevelled wooden frame.

Glass artisanship remained at a high level even under the Communists because it was considered ideologically innocuous and it helped promote the good name of the country. Czech glass designers and manufacturers enjoyed international recognition and Czech glassware including art works such as sculptures was displayed and awarded in many international exhibitions, most notably in Expo 58 world fair in Brussels and in Expo 67 in Montréal.

Today, Czech crystal chandeliers hang, for example, in Milan’s La Scala, in Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera, in Versailles, in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg or in the royal palace in Riyadh. Various sorts of glassware, art glass, ornaments, figurines, costume jewellery, beads and others also remain internationally valued.

One of the glass items for which the Czech nation is still well known is the production of “druk” beads. Druks are small (3mm-18mm) round glass beads with small threading holes produced in a wide variety of colors and finishes and used mainly as spacers among beaded jewellery makers.


Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut to Clear Vases.

Provenance: Bought Privately in the US

Dimensions: 6.25″ High x 3.5″ wide

Condition: Mint.

Price Now: $240 (Pair)

Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut Vases (2)

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Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut Vases (3)

Pair of Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Cut Vases

Czech Bohemian Ruby Glass Lamp & Vases (Pair)

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