Paperweights made during the golden era of paperweights (c. 1840-55) are hugely popular with collectors particularly those from the three important French factories: Baccarat, St Louis and Clichy.
The patterns in paperweights are made by arranging tiny sections cut from individually coloured and crafted rods or canes into a mould and then setting in clear molten glass. The more intricate the design the more skill required to execute it. This technique called is ‘millefiori’ and was used by all three factories to produce some remarkable paperweights. Paperweights were also made containing motifs such as animals or flowers and this was done by sculpting the glass over a small flame before setting. Clichy’s ribbon-bound bouquets are considered some of the finest examples ever made.
The Verrerie de Clichy at Clichy-la-Garenne, France, was founded in 1837. Clichy paperweights were never dated and few are actually signed. Baccarat and St Louis would sign their canes but Clichy only occasionally marked theirs with a ‘C’. The signature or trademark of a Clichy paperweight was the use of the ‘Clichy rose’ generally in white, pink or sometimes pale yellow or the ‘C’ scroll millefiori included in some designs, both of which were unique to Clichy.
Clichy regularly used concentric rings of millefiori in their designs as well as garland patterns sometimes encircling motifs or sulphides and they generally used more soft colours than the other French factories. Finally, Clichy paperweights can easily be identified by their weight; they were made from boracic glass rather than lead crystal making them much lighter but still retaining the clear, fine finish.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
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