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March 09, 2007

HANDLE WITH CARE!

Glass_flwrs

I don't remember where I first ran across the glass creations of Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895) and his son, Rudolf (1857-1939). Their craftsmanship in glass was, and probably still remains, unparalleled.

(and yes, those plants are made out of glass).

Nancy Marie Brown explains a bit of their history in Flowers Out of Glass...

The flowers and plants they began making out of glass were not art, in intent, though breathtaking; they were a scientific undertaking: exquisitely accurate, exact in the replication of every last detail.

Prince Rohan displayed them in his castle. They were exhibited a year later at the Royal Botanical Garden in Dresden. Soon word of the Blaschkas' new work had crossed the Atlantic to George Lincoln Goodale at Harvard's Botanical Museum. Goodale had seen the squids and octopi. He decided to commission a set of glass flowers to be used as classroom aids, for teaching botany through a New England winter was the height of frustration. Specimens weren't readily to hand, except those pressed between herbarium sheets, the faded remains of glorious summer days spent botanizing. Flowers of glass would make an excellent alternative: "precise," "timeless," and "unparalleled..."

The Glass Flowers are now among the most popular exhibits at Harvard. TV and radio programs in four countries have featured them, as did a mystery novel in the Homer Kelly series by Jane Langton. Donna Tartt and other writers use the Glass Flowers as a Boston icon. Marianne Moore wrote a poem about them. And avant-garde photographer Christopher Williams turned them into symbols of human rights issues. Yet, "It took a long time for the faculty here to go from thinking about the Glass Flowers as a teaching collection to thinking about them as art objects," said Susan Rossi-Wilcox...

Glass_flwrs5You can read more about their amazing history (which includes shipwrecks, Princes, and at least a few well-known historic figures) at the following pages...

Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka and Natural History (great)
The Glass Aquarium
Natural History Museum 
Harvard's Glass Flowers

Or you can just blissfully gaze at these delightful glass jellyfish photos. 

March 9, 2007 | Permalink

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Comments

The needles on the cactus are amazing. I can't imagine the precision and amount of time necessary to make glass look so perfect like that.

Posted by: Joelson Carl | Mar 9, 2007 7:53:36 PM

People in houses, shouldn't through glass jellyfish...

wait, no, that's not right...

Posted by: Adam Wilmer | Mar 11, 2007 6:41:28 PM

er, that was throw, not through...

Wow, well, that joke was ruined. But I imagine it was ruined shortly after I said it...

Posted by: Adam Wilmer | Mar 11, 2007 6:42:13 PM

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