Roman glass and the process of ageing

Linda’s latest discoveries in our stores:

One of the boxes of objects we photographed recently contained Roman period glass which had been found in Cyprus – two tall thin jars, and three short round ones. These were my absolute favourites: 

Glass flask

Glass flask

Originally this was a clear flask, but it now has an opaque appearance due to ageing and decay.  Kirstie, our Conservator, says this is caused by salts seeping out from the glass. It greatly changes the appearance from when it was originally made, but it is still beautiful.

Blue-green glass bottle

Blue-green glass bottle

This glass vessel is a beautiful duck-egg blue colour. Ageing has, in my opinion, made it more beautiful as it had developed an opalescence, rather like mother of pearl. It is interesting to see how the process of ageing and decay changes these ancient vessels, and I like to try to image how they looked when the craftsman first made it.

Ruby glass bottle

Ruby glass bottle

For me, the star object today was this glass jar. It is an amazing plum colour, again with an opalescence which gives the appearance of coloured marble. It is reminiscent of the rather gory statue of the flayed Marsyas (in Istanbul Archaeology Museum) –  however nothing gory here, just beautiful colours.

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