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The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 22 

Lot 22

Lot 22
Treasury 5, no. 742 (‘Solitary Peacock’)
HK$25,000

Transparent peacock-blue glass containing several prominent air bubbles of different sizes; with a flat lip and flat, octagonal foot
1710 - 1790
Height: 4.8 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.57/1.40 cm
Stopper: glass; glass collar

Provenance:
Wing Hing, Hong Kong (1985)

Published:
Treasury 5, no. 742

This snuff bottle has been blown into a faceted mould of a type that, if it were faceted primarily by the lapidary, might well date from the first half of the eighteenth century. It may represent an attempt by a private workshop to reproduce palace faceting, or indeed an attempt by the imperial glassworks to find an alternative to the more time-consuming lapidary-faceting.

The evidence of Sale 2, lot 23, suggests that many faceted forms may have been initially blown into faceted moulds, in which case this may represent only a part of the process usually resulting in crisply faceted surfaces such as those of Sale 8, lot 1160. This softer-edged option is relatively rare, and there seems to have been a marked preference at court for the sharper and more emphatic faceting of the lapidary.

It would be possible to carve such a bottle and simply leave all the edges rounded, but to do so would be out of keeping with the imperial standard. It seems strange, therefore, that anyone would go out of his way to make something appear mould-blown rather than carved. The detailing of the mouth, probably also of the foot, and the polishing have all been carried out by the lapidary, but it seems reasonable to assume that the basic shape closely reflects its mould. This is corroborated by the very light weight of the bottle. Lapidary-faceted glass tends to be heavy because a thick-walled vessel is blown, allowing for the removal of areas of glass to achieve the facets.

 

This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s

 

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