Paperweights

As the winter nights are starting to get just a little bit brighter and Easter, spring and summer are just around the corner my thoughts turn to holidays spent in France and then obviously to the wealth of wonderful glassware that has come from that glorious country.

The French glasshouses of Baccarat, Clichy and St Louis were responsible for some of the finest and most inventive paperweights produced between 1845 and 1860. A limited number of English paperweights were made at about the same time at George Bacchus & Sons in Birmingham and examples of these in good condition can often realise high prices.

The main types of decoration are millefiori meaning “thousand flowers” and lampworking. Millefiori requires glass rods or canes arranged concentrically, formally or randomly before being cut and imbedded within clear glass. Those that include silhouette canes featuring animals and birds are always at a premium, as are dated examples.

Lampworking involves individually sculpted flowers, butterflies, fruit and reptiles, including snakes, made in coloured glass using a direct heat source before being captured in glass. Some of the most desirable weights are then overlaid with white and or coloured glass and facet cut to reveal the design inside.

The condition of a paperweight is important. Bruises and chips will make a paperweight undesirable to collect and therefore they will limit it’s value. Size is also important, in particular magnums at 10cm and miniatures, which are less than 5cms, are the most popular with collectors.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Clichy Paperweights

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.

Clichy Paperweights
Clichy Paperweights

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

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website