New Light on Old Glass: Byzantine Glass and Mosaics
A 3-day conference on Byzantine glass was held at the British
Museum in London
27-29 May 2010.
The conference was organised by Chris Entwistle, Curator of the
Late Roman and Byzantine Collections, and Liz James, Director of
the Leverhulme International Network for the Composition of Byzantine
Glass Mosaic Tesserae (University of Sussex).
The three days covered topics such as glass and mosaics, gold glass,
the Lycurgus Cup, techniques of manufacture and new discoveries
in Byzantine glass.
Were you aware that the earliest known use of gold tesserae was
in 55 AD, in the Gardens of Lucullus by the Spanish Steps in Rome?
Or that you can make mosaic gold glass in 5 minutes using an all-in-one
recipe? Or that when you come across black tesserae streaked with
red it's because the mosaicists were trying to make red and it went
wrong? Or that sand from Haifa in Palestine was popular because
it was pale and and had a high calcium carbonate content which made
for stable glass?
Don't worry if you missed the conference: the proceedings will be
published in due course. On the other hand you missed the chance
to buttonhole top people in the business about any aspect of Byzantine
mosaics that might puzzle you....
The talks comprised:
Cristina Boschetti: Glass tesserae across the ages -
the origin and development of glass and vitreous materials in ancient
Marco Verità: Has scientific analysis made any difference
in the study of mosaics?
Hanna Witte: Studies in Middle Byzantine glass mosaics from
Anastassios Antonaras: Production and uses of glass in Byzantine
Judith McKenzie: The mosaics in the Great Mosque in Damascus:
who made them?
Claudia Bolgia: The use of gold and the idea of light in
Cosmati mosaics: the case
of the Ara Coeli church in Rome
Ann Terry: Sixth-century mosaic artistry: a study of the
Porec church mosaics
Irina Andreescu-Treadgold: The Christ head at the Metropolitan
Museum and other mosaic fakes in museums
Ian Freestone: The composition, production and trade of glass
in Late Antiquity
Marianne Stern: Glass production in Byzantine texts
Rosemarie Lierke: The fragment of a figurative diatretum in
Mainz, and other cage cups -
Jas Elsner: The Lycurgus Cup
Irina Andreescu-Treadgold and Julian Henderson: An interdisciplinary
study of glass mosaic tesserae from the Basilica Ursiana, Ravenna,
Mark Wypyski: Glass from Nishapur
Fatma Marii: Glass tesserae from the Petra Church
Nadine Schibille: Chemical analyses of Byzantine and Islamic
glass from Pergamon
Maria Vassilaki: No glass please: the mosaics at Porta Panaghia
Francesca Dell’Aqua: Borders of experimentalism: glass
in the frame of the Genoa Mandylion
Daniel Keller: Liturgical glass vessels in the early Byzantine
Daniel Howells: Making Late Antique gold glass
Andrew Meek: Gold glass in Late Antiquity: scientific analysis
of the British Museum collection
Yael Gorin-Rosen: Byzantine gold-glass from excavations in the
David Whitehouse: Early Islamic silver stain (stained glass)
Lisa Pilosi: Middle Byzantine silver stain
Further information at:
Or contact: B.K.Bjornholt@sussex.ac.uk,
Art History, Unversity of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QQ, UK.
See also our earlier News Item - "Byzantine Mosaic