Antique Paperweights

Now on display is a collection of antique glass paperweights. The blown glass antiques are from the collection of Judi Sheridan of North Bloomfield. She has been collecting them for over 40 years. 

The Christie’s website provides the following information:
Glass paperweights first gained popularity in the mid-19th century after being displayed at various expositions, most notably the Great Exhibition of 1851 at London’s Crystal Palace. Marvels of artistic skill and also affordable, paperweights soon became the ultimate desk accessory, bringing flowers and other natural subjects that perished in the winter into the home — there may not have been flowers in the garden, but they could still surround you as you wrote your letters. Collectors during this period included Colette, Oscar Wilde and Empress Eugenie of France. 

Incredibly, everything inside the weight is also glass: the flowers, the salamanders, the insects — everything. Most of the weights in the Neustadter collection are made either using millefiori canes or lampwork. Millefiori or ‘thousand flowers’ canes are produced by layering molten glass into a pattern in a fat cylindrical shape, then pulling the cylinder to create an elongated pencil-thin rod. When the rod is sliced, the pattern can be seen in the cross section. Millefiori weights consist of many patterned canes, either packed closely together or in various other arrangements.

Lampwork weights are made by melting small coloured glass rods over a torch or flame and using tools to manipulate the softened glass. Examples of lampwork include butterfly and flower weights and snake weights.