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    Glossary of Sculpture and Art Glass

    Acid Cut ~ the process where layers of different colours of glass are layered and the acid is used to skilfully cut through the layers as desired to leave a beautiful decorative floral or landscape design.

    Atelier ~ The artists own workshop/foundry

    Autumnal Colour ~ the highly desirable patina on bronze sculpture that combines a set of autumn colours including orange, brown, black and green.

    Ballet Russes ~ was a ballet company established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev and performed until his death in 1929. It created a sensation in Western Europe because the great vitality of Russian ballet compared to French dance and penetrated every facet of entertainment.

    Bronze ~is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures. An alloy of copper and tin, sometimes containing small amounts of other elements in varying proportions such as zinc and phosphorus. Harder and more durable than brass and used extensively since antiquity for casting sculpture. Bronze has the unusual and desirable property of expanding slightly just before it is set, thus filling the finest details of a mould. Its strength and ductility (lack of brittleness) is an advantage when figures in action are to be created, especially when compared to various ceramic or stone materials.

    Cameo Glass ~ a luxury form of art glass produced by etching and carving through fused layers of differently coloured glass to produce designs

    Circa ~ a term used to estimate the date of a particular object to within ten years of its original manufacture

    Cold Painted ~  the naturalistic surface colour finish created by painting the raw bronze with special and secretive enamel colours, As the process was often applied when the cast was still warm, the natural shrinkage on cooling added to the permanency of the colour as it annealed the paint firmly into the metal.

    Chryselephantine ~ the term used for the combination of both bronze and ivory in sculpture

    Cross of Lorraine ~ often an addition to the signature used on Daum Freres glassworks, this double cross symbol embodies the patriotism the city of Nancy has felt towards its original position as the historical capital of the Duchy of Lorraine.

    Crystal Glass ~ fine glass melted from specially prepared, purified raw materials, thus particularly clear and characterised by a high refraction factor.

    Enamelled ~ a decorative layer designed by the artist, baked onto either glass or bronze to create a glossy creative hand finished surface.

    Etched ~ To cut into the surface of glass by the action of acid.

    Foundry ~ the place where bronze sculpture is produced and cast. The metal is melted into liquid form and poured into a mould. After cooling the mould is removed from the solid bronze and the sculpture is then finished either by the artist or the foundry workers. 

    Gilt ~ The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to the surface of glass or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as “gilt” or “ormolu”. Methods of gilding include hand application and gluing, chemical gilding, and electroplating, the last also called gold plating

    Geschutzt ~ the German word stamped or inscribed onto a bronze meaning ‘registered’ or ‘copyright’

    Gold Seal ~ used by the Barbedienne foundry on sculptures by the most famous Animalier artist, Antoine Louis Barye, to symbolise the quality of the cast as deluxe editions.

    Hand Chased ~ the final working on the bronze, to create individual detail and often highly realistic and tactile surfaces. The detail surpasses the mechanical simplification that a machine would produce in sculpture.

    Ivory ~ the natural material that originates from elephant tusk. CITES ~ The Endangered Species Act ~ allows the use of ivory in sculpture made before June 1947. Ivory may not be used for modern sculpture.

    Iridescent Glass ~ glass that contains a rainbow-like colouring on its surface, similar to the effect of oil on water; created either when a layer of metallic oxide is bonded to hot glass or with a special coating of metal oxides.

    Lost Wax process – a method of casting metal sculpture requiring a wax version of the original model. The wax form is encased in heat resistant moulding material. baking the mould causes the wax to melt and run out, leaving a cavity in its place. The cavity is filled with molten metal which solidifies to become the sculpture when the mould has been broken open.

    Marble ~is one of the hardest stones to carve; in fact a hard type of limestone (a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallised carbonate minerals), often with streaks. Takes a high polish if desired.

    Mould ~ a mould is a reversed impression of an original sculpture that is used to cast an edition of bronze sculptures. The material used to construct the mould needs to accurately reproduce the surface detail of the original sculpture, while also being strong enough to keep its shape during casting and resilient enough to retain detail after multiple castings.

    Moulded ~ an article that has been shaped in or made in a mould.

    Onyx ~ is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. The colours range from white to almost every colour.  Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of colours of white, tan and brown.

    Ormolu ~ see Gilt

    Parcel-gilt objects are only gilded over part of their surfaces. This may mean certain areas of a sculpture that an artist or foundry wishes to highlight or that patterns or images are made up by using a combination of gilt and un-gilt areas.

    Pate de Verre ~ Pate de verre involves making a paste of glass that is applied to the surface of the mould, then fired. In traditional French pate de verre, the artist mixed crushed glass with enamels or paint to form a paste that was carefully placed in a mould and then fired. Many of the pieces that were made using this technique were relatively small, elaborately decorated, and required more than one firing before they were complete.

    Patina – the surface of metal sculpture that results from natural oxidation or careful application of heat, chemicals and polishing agents.

    Sand Cast ~ is the process characterised by using sand as the mould material. A suitable bonding agent (usually clay) is mixed or occurs with the sand. The mixture is moistened with water to develop strength and plasticity of the clay and to make the aggregate suitable for moulding.

    Salon des Beaux Arts – was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Between 1748–1890 it was the greatest annual or biannual art event in the Western world. From 1881 onward, it was been organised by the Société des Artistes Français. The Salon’s original focus was the display of the work of recent graduates of the École des Beaux-Arts. Exhibition at the Salon de Paris was essential for any artist to achieve success in France for at least the next 200 years. Exhibition in the Salon marked a sign of royal favour. The Salon was held in the Palace of the Louvre, when it became known as Salon or Salon de Paris. In 1737, the exhibitions became public and were held, at first, annually, and then biannually in odd number years. They would start on the feast day of St. Louis (25 August) and run for some weeks. Once made regular and public, the Salon’s status was “never seriously in doubt”

    Silvered ~ The term silvered covers a number of decorative techniques for applying a fine layer to the surface of glass or metal to give a thin coating of silver. Methods of silvering include hand application and gluing, chemical silvering, and electroplating, the last also called silver plating.

    Solifleur ~ translating as “single flower” the term refers to a thin necked vase that would be suitable to display a single stemmed flower

    Souffle Glass ~ the process of heat applying a raised layer of coloured glass onto the surface of a vase  to produce a highly desirable detailed decoration with translucent colour

    Spelter ~ usually a compound metal mainly formed from Zinc. Used as a cheap alternative to bronze.

    Titania ~ The Titania range of Loetz Witwe glass was introduced circa 1905, produced by casing a coloured ground in clear translucent glass divided by metallic feathering. Some pieces were mounted by the International Silver Co. of Meriden, Conneticut and marked £ Sterling.