Welcome
The Association for the History of Glass is an educational charity whose aims are to advance knowledge, education and interest in the study of glass of all periods of history throughout the world.
Our members' interests include archaeology, art history, conservation, museum studies, glass collection and glass science.
We publish a biannual newsletter Glass News and organise Study Days each Spring and Autumn, usually in London.


News

A Rather Fishy Fragment
Jennifer Price and Sally Cottam

Excavations at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire in 2016 produced a small polychrome blown glass fragment with a most unusual profile. It appears to come from a vessel with an elongated oval section, tapering in. The ground colour is translucent greenish blue (peacock) and the surface is decorated with four loops of opaque white and opaque yellow trails. The form is unlike any of the standard vessel types known from Roman Britain. It can however be compared with a vessel without provenance now in the Corning Museum of Glass (Whitehouse 2001, 210 no.774). This object, 16cm long and restored from many fragments, is in the shape of a fish. It was produced in opaque red glass and has looped marvered trails in opaque white yellow and green, representing scales on the body. Along the upper and lower body of the fish are unmarvered wavy trails, perhaps representing fins. When compared to the Corning fish, the Chedworth fragment would appear to come from the end of the fish's body where it tapers in towards the tail. The trace of an applied unmarvered trail is visible, suggesting that this object may also have had a wavy trail along at least one side of its body.

If this interpretation is correct, then this piece is the first fish of its kind to be recognised in Roman Britain. The Corning fish, and a further fragment in the Corning Museum (Whitehouse 2001, 211 no.775) are from unknown contexts but a better known fish in purple glass with opaque white and opaque yellow looped trails comes from a 2nd century A.D. burial at Chersonesus in the Crimea (Kunina 1997, 123-4, 294 no.200).

When complete the Chedworth fish is likely to have had an open mouth with trailed lips forming the aperture of the vessel, making it a small flask.

Bibliography

Kunina N, 1997
Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Collection. The State Hermitage ARS publishers.

Whitehouse D, 2001
Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass. Volume 2. Corning Museum of Glass. New York.