Paperweight, glass / millefiori, Verrerie de Clichy-la-Garenne (Clichy glassworks) , France, c 1845-60
In 1953, Sydney collector, Annie Maria Gillies, bequeathed around 100 decorative art objects to the Vaucluse Park Trust, which later became part of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. In 1998, the Trust transferred this collection to the Powerhouse Museum.
The greater part of this collection consists of around 80 examples of English porcelain dating from the mid eighteenth to the early nineteenth century.
Among other objects is this fine glass paperweight made at the Clichy glassworks, one of the three great French glasshouses - the other being Saint Louis and Baccarat. Verrerie de Clichy-la-Garenne made a spectacular range of exquisitely crafted paperweights with millefiori and lampworked designs, particularly between 1846 and 1857 when it was managed by M Rouyer and G Maës. The firm's high quality, brightly coloured glass shown at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and at the Word's Fair in New York in 1853 brought international recognition and Clichy paperweights of the period are among the most highly regarded. Known from 1884 as Verrerie de Maës et Clemendot à Clichy, the glassworks ceased producing paperweights in 1885 when it merged with the Cristallerie de Sèvres.
Paperweights produced at the Clichy glassworks used boric glass. This metal is lighter in weight than lead glass used at Baccarat and St. Louis and causes the internal image to appear sharper.
Part of the Annie Maria Gillies collection, transferred from the Historic Houses Trust in 1998.
The Clichy glasssworks was founded at Billancourt near Paris in 1837. Shortly after that it moved to Clichy-la-Garenne where it initially produced inexpensive glass for export. The most creative period was between 1846 and 1857 when the glassworks was managed by M Rouyer and G Maës. In 1884 the firm became Verrerie de Maës et Clemendot à Clichy. It ceased producing paperweights in 1885 when it merged with the Cristallerie de Sèvres.