Coloured Clarity  
Unknown maker

Much ancient glass was not clear and colourless. Often it was opaque and deeply pigmented to simulate coloured stones such as lapis lazuli and turquoise. From the Renaissance onwards, a distinctive kind of glass was made which resembled variegated stones such as agate or chalcedony.

While the history of glassmaking is, in part, a quest to produce a clear and colourless material that could serve, initially at least, as a substitute for natural rock crystal, it is also true that glassmakers took pains to devise recipes for clear glass of a striking hue. In the mid-eighteenth century, 'Bristol' blue glass was widely produced and popular. The development of the somewhat more rare ruby-red glass was associated closely, for a time, with the secretive and mysterious exploits of alchemists.

Colour in glass is achieved by adding metallic oxides to the main batch of ingredients that traditionally would include silica (in the form of sand or crushed pebbles), soda and lime.

In this exhibition, the palette of Stephen Rolfe-Powell's large vessel Orange Cleavage Smith radiates a vibrant, festive hue as light shines hrough it. In contrast, the muted bronze green of Richard Whiteley's 0 X 3 (Lens series) seems rather to absorb and diffuse light.






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Vase,  HOFFMANN, Josef; WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, ; 1915, Purchased from Gallery Restaurant Funds 1984
Amber folded form,  LITTLETON, Harvey; 1973, Crafts Board of the Australia Council Collection 1980
Terraqueous,  REA, Kirstie; 2001, Purchased with the assistance of the Thomas Foundation 2001
Orange Cleavage-Smith,  ROLFE-POWELL, Stephen; 1997, Purchased with the assistance of the Art Gallery Board of Trustees
Vase,  Unknown maker, ; 3rd quarter, 4th century AD
Fazzoletto corroso (Handkerchief) vase,  VENINI & C, ; BIANCONI, ; design 1948, manufacture c.1950
Ø X 3 (Lens Series),  WHITELEY, Richard; 1998
Crystal Clarity | Coloured Clarity | Inner Worlds | Translucency | Opaque Counterpoint |
Fazzoletto corroso (Handkerchief) vase,  VENINI & C, ; BIANCONI, ; design 1948, manufacture c.1950