Name: China Export Victorian (1837–1901) Claude Glass Bracelet - Enamel Filigree Silver Cuff Bracelet with motif of
Fu, Lu, Shou 福禄寿 with hallmark: Silver China and Forgotten 18th/19th C. Claude Glass Mirror
Material: Sterling silver and enamel
Condition: in excellent condition, silver with patina, Museum Quality
This is an unique superb handcrafted Chinese antique enamel filigree sterling silver bracelet with 18th/19th Century Claude Glass
Mirror. I acquired this piece from an antique mall. The dealer provided me the provenance that she got this piece from St. Joseph Antique
Show as a dealer. It was just unbelievable. When I saw it, I was not hesitated to buy it at no cost as I know it is absolutely gorgeous.
Probably it is the only one survived in the world. I will continue to do research through Nelson Museum resources, international auction
books and Internet. Hopefully you can do more research and get to explore more incredible value.
This bracelet is made of silver, filigree and is enameled with a traditional auspicious motif "Bat/Fu: happiness, Coins/Lu: successful
career to make good money, Ancient Chinese Character Shou : Longevity", which are colored dark cobalt blue, the bat eyes are
enameled coral red. It is an excellent condition with patina as it is about 100-200 years old. The clasp fits tight. Everything is original.
There is no repair, no damage, no repair except minor scratches on the surface of the Claude glass mirror, but can hardly be visible as
you can see it has a very clear reflection of actual color of the objects in the first two pictures. I did research. The built-in blackened glass
mirror is Claude glass, which is almost forgotten art. Claude glass was manufactured in 17th century, prominent in 18th century, and end
in 19th century. Please read more info about Claude glass mirror highlighted in red below.
It is absolutely priceless treasure. There is one compact with Claude glass mirror in British gallery.
Before Opium War 1840, many China export silver jewelry was custom made with gemstone brought in by western merchants in
Guangzhou. I believe the Claude glass mirror was manufactured in Britain and brought in 18th/19th century, but request for stamping
Silver China. That's why there are two marks, one silver label stamped "Silver China", the other one stamped "Silver China" near the
clasp. It seems it was not worn much. It is hallmarked: Silver China at both ends of the inner bracelet. Measurements: 6 3/4" (when it is
clasped), 3 1/2" opening/security chain. 1 3/4" widest (glass mirror: 1 1/2"L x 1"W), band width: 1 1/8". Weight:40.1 grams
The jewelry box is not for sale, just for better display.
I tried my best to take the pictures as close as the actual bracelet color. Resolution may vary, but the pictures are not enhanced in any
way. The first three pictures show the magic black glass mirror which reflects actual color of black camera and colorful buttons on mini
remote control. The Claude glass mirror is not covered with mercury at back, but convex only. It is really interesting to look yourself into the
magic glass mirror and it brings you lots of fun by viewing passing scenery while you are on an excursion on the ancient wagon. Even if
nowadays you can apply your lipsticks by looking yourself into such a mirror while it is decorated and mounted in the bracelet. Look at the
facet of glass which was made at earnest and carefully set into the bracelet. The glass with facets all around look like black crystal
sparking at different angle. The enamel filigree sterling silver bracelet is so delicate and makes the bracelet very feminine looking. I really
don't know how to describe it. It is really beyond description. It is speechless! It is priceless for its rarity, culture, science and exquisite
About Claude glass
Claude Lorrain (1600-82) was a leading 17th-century landscape painter who worked in Rome and became famous for drawings and
paintings displaying a subtle gradation of tones. His work became immensely popular in England in the 18th century. A Claude glass is a
slightly convex tinted mirror, which was supposed to help artists produce works of art similar to those of Claude.
The Reverend William Gilpin, an amateur artist, advocated the use of a Claude glass saying, 'they give the object of nature a soft, mellow
tinge like the coloring of that Master'. The convex nature of the mirror shaped a large scene into a neat view, and the tinting (which was
often sepia or brown) helped artists to see the relative tonal values of the view.
Many 18th-century artists and landscape theorists were interested in the effects of Claude glasses. They were widely used by tourists
and amateur artists.
From the Publisher of the book "The Claude Glass":
In this first full-length study of a largely forgotten optical device from the eighteenth century, Arnaud Maillet reconfigures our historical
understanding of visual experience and meaning in relation to notions of opacity, transparency, and imagination. Many are familiar with
the Claude glass as a small black convex mirror used by artists and spectators of landscape to reflect a view and make tonal values and
areas of light and shade visible. In a groundbreaking account, Maillet goes well beyond this particular function of the glass and situates it
within a richer archaeology of Western thought, exploring the uncertainties and anxieties about mirrors, reflections, and their potential
distortions. He takes us from the magical and occult background of the "black mirror," through a full evaluation of its importance in the
age of the picturesque, to its persistence in a range of technological and representational practices, including photography, film, and
contemporary art. The Claude Glass is a lasting contribution to the history of Western visual culture.
A small tinted mirror, with a slightly convex surface, used for reflecting landscapes in miniature so as to show their broad tonal values,
without distracting detail or color. The device is named after Claude, who is said to have used one, and was particularly popular in the
18th century, when it was much employed by cultural travelers as well as by artists (the poet Thomas Gray is known to have had one). Its
use continued into the 19th century, a notable devotee being Corot, who regarded tonal unity in painting as supremely important. http:
· Date: 1775-1780 (made)
· Artist/Maker: Unknown
· Materials and Techniques: Blackened mirror glass
· Credit Line: Given by the Rev. R. Lewis
· Museum number: P.18-1972
· Gallery location: British Galleries, room 120, case 10
A Claude Glass - essentially a small, treated mirror contained in a box - is a portable drawing and painting aid that was widely used in the
later 18th century by amateur artists on sketching tours. The reflections in it of surrounding scenery were supposed to resemble some of
the characteristics of Italian landscapes by the famous 17th-century painter and sketcher Claude Lorrain, hence the name.
Materials & Use
The `glass' consists of a slightly convex blackened mirror, which was carried in the hand and held up to the eye. The image thus seen
was the scenery behind - rather than in front of - the user. The mirror's convexity reduced extensive views to the dimensions of a small
drawing. The use of a blackened rather than an ordinary silvered mirror resulted in a somewhat weakened reflection, which stressed the
prominent features in the landscape at the expense of detail. It also lowered the color key. A larger version of this device is said on
occasion to have been fixed to the windows of horse-drawn carriages in order to reflect the passing scenery.
A 'Claude Glass' is a slightly convex blackened mirror. It was named after the late 17th century French painter, Claude Lorraine, whose
landscapes were widely admired in 18th century Britain. Such glasses were used in the late 18th century by British amateur artists on
sketching tours. The reflections of the landscape in the glass helped the user to choose a 'picturesque' view for sketching. The convexity
reduced extensive views to the dimension of a small drawing. The use of a blackened rather than an ordinary silvered mirror gave a weak
reflection which allowed the prominent features of the landscape to stand out, rather than the detail, and also lowered the color key. All
this helped the amateur artist to concentrate on the key elements of the landscape. This 'Claude Glass' is currently on display in the
The Claude Glass / Polarities of dark and light http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1572_bowen/?p=12
‘Polarities of dark and light. Eye of the ocean, the light we see….’ – These words were written to introduce a series of my works shown at
Inverleith House, Edinburgh in 1995 - works that explored the ethereal qualities of salt and clear water pools lying along the Coromandel
Coast of Southern India.
Over ten years later I find myself looking again and again into another kind of pool – not the white encrusted surface of an indentation in
the sands, but rather the handheld pool of a black concave mirror.
The Claude glass. I first came across a reference to it on a typed record card in the Prints and Drawings Room. ‘A black concave mirror
often used by painters of the Picturesque. Larger versions were sometimes attached to the interiors of carriages in order to gain reflected
glimpses of the landscape.’
I was intrigued and set about looking for the Claude glass in the museum. From the moment that I encountered it I was struck by an
unsettling sense of depth to its reflective surface. The surface did not seem really to be black but strangely tinted – just like looking into an
inkpot or a meadow pond that gives no clue as to how deep or shallow it might be.
It was just about possible to detect that the reflected image in the mirror was not only condensed but also of closely toned hues. It lay with
its hinged lid open. Handheld size, waiting to be picked up but frustratingly encased in the museum cabinet.
The ‘Fire Fly Basket’ and the Claude glass. Polarities of dark and light. I talked at length with Neil Brown, a Senior Curator at the Science
Museum as to how a replica of the V&A’s black mirror might be made - after some weeks it arrived swathed in white tissue. He also
agreed to the idea of loaning an 18th Century Claude glass for the duration of the residency. For several months now I have been using
these two black mirrors to explore the collections in a number of ways. Recently I have concentrated on the reflected images of tiny
objects – miniature stage sets and folding books. A new series of drawings has evolved and this will form the basis of the forthcoming
installation of my residency works, (Gallery 102, 14th Feb. – 27th May).
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8 Responses to “The Claude Glass / Polarities of dark and light”
1. Julian Says:
February 16th, 2007 at 12:10 pm
Who would have thought that Claude Lorraine painting in the 17th century would have inspired later artists in the picturesque aesthetic to
use the Claude glass? Along with the camera obscura, interest in such optical devices ultimately paved the way for photography. Every
user of a digital camera today owes something to this exploration of landscape and optics.
2. Bert Says:
January 3rd, 2008 at 6:59 am
I just heard about the “Claude Mirror” today on C.B.C. radio Canada.
1. Can U tell me WHO actually invented it? No one seems to know; I don’t think that Claude himself invented it as he lived and painted in
the 1600-1700’s, and the glass seems to have become prominent in the 1800’s.
2.When is the earliest mirror dated from?
3.Where can we get a concave mirror today? Do glass and mirror shops sell them? I have seen convex wall mirrors but never a concave
4. What is this “V&A” replica U mention and where can I get one?
5. Are they still being used today by artists/students? Do Art supply shops sell them?
6. Why did they fall away?
Thanx 4 any help.
Claude (Claude Gellée) Biography
(b Chamagne, Lorraine, ?1604/5; d Rome, 23 Nov. 1682)
French painter, draughtsman, and occasional etcher, active for almost all his career in Rome; he is often called Le Lorrain (in France), or
Claude Lorrain(e) (in the English-speaking world), after his place of birth, but he is usually referred to simply as Claude, a familiarity
reflecting his enormous fame as the most celebrated of all exponents of ideal landscape. At an early age (probably shortly before 1620)
he moved to Rome, where he is said to have initially worked as a pastry cook (a favourite trade of Lorrainers). He then entered the
household of Agostino Tassi, progressing from domestic servant to studio assistant, and he also spent two years studying in Naples
with the obscure German-born landscapist Goffredo Wals (c.1595–c.1640); he was deeply impressed by the beauty of the Gulf of Naples,
memories of which recur in his paintings throughout his career. The chronology of this early period of Claude's life is vague, and it is not
certain whether his association with Tassi began before or after his time with Wals; he is first firmly documented in Rome in 1623. In
1625 he returned to Lorraine, and collaborated with the court painter Claude Deruet (1588–1660) on church frescos (destroyed) in Nancy,
but by 1627 he was back in Rome, where except for local journeys he remained for the rest of his life. His earliest surviving dated painting
is of 1629 (Pastoral Landscape, Philadelphia Mus. of Art), although one or two undated pictures may precede it. In 1633 he became a
member of the Accademia di S. Luca, and by this time he was already establishing himself as one of the leading landscape painters in
Rome. Indeed his work soon attracted imitators, and according to his biographer Baldinucci, it was to guard against forgeries that he
began keeping a record of his paintings in his Liber Veritatis (Book of Truth). Claude began this album of drawings (which is now in the
British Museum) in about 1635; it contains 195 sheets detailing virtually every picture he painted from that time until his death (he seems
to have valued it increasingly as a work of art in itself and it is uncertain how adequately it fulfilled its purpose as a protection against
fraud). Each sheet has a drawn copy of the painting on the front and information about the patron on the back, and because of this,
Claude's output is exceptionally well documented. By the end of the 1630s his clients included Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini) and
Philip IV of Spain (see Habsburg), and he was unrivalled as the foremost landscape painter in Italy. He charged high prices for his
paintings, but he was a dedicated craftsman who worked at his own pace, so he generally produced only a few pictures a year and he
became comfortably prosperous rather than wealthy. He lived very modestly, holding various minor offices in the Accademia di S. Luca
but taking no part in public affairs: his friend Sandrart describes him as a ‘good-hearted and pious’ man who ‘searched for no other
pleasure beside his profession’. The effects of age and illness (he suffered from gout or arthritis) caused his output to decrease (the
Liber Veritatis indicates that he completed only one picture in 1671, for example), but the quality of his work did not decline at all; indeed
he produced some of his greatest paintings in the final decade of his life.