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Roman Cameo Glass in the British Museum

Cameo glass represents the ultimate achievement in Roman luxury glass, and the British Museum has the world's largest and finest collection. This comprises over seventy pieces, including two of only a dozen surviving complete cameo glass vessels: the celebrated Portland Vase, the greatest surviving example of Roman cameo glass, and the Auldjo Jug, each with its complex and intriguing history. The catalogue, begun by Veronica Tatton-Brown and William Gudenrath of the Corning Museum of Glass, has been revisited and enhanced by Paul Roberts of the British Museum and David Whitehouse and William Gudenrath of the Corning Museum of Glass. This publication presents the collection in its entirety for the first time. Each piece is illustrated in colour and line drawing, with full description and discussion. The book also presents the results of ground-breaking new research. The authors construct a comprehensive context, using archaeological, technological, iconographic and typological evidence to look at the origins of cameo glass and its place in contemporary Roman art and craftsmanship. They also propose a relative and absolute chronology for cameo glass, and suggest possible models for the organisation of the workshop(s) that produced it.
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About the Author

Paul Roberts is a curator of Roman antiquities at the British Museum. He is the author of a number of books and has contributed to volumes about the mummy portraits of Roman Egypt. He also lectures on the subject. He helped to research and organise the 1997 Ancient Faces exhibition at the British Museum.


With such a short life, the worlds stock of Roman cameo glass is not large; most of it consists of fragments, and most is held in a small number of collections in Europe and North America. The British Museum has one of the best collections - seventy pieces in all, including what is arguable the finest piece of all, the Portland Vase, an exquisite object whose complex ownership history and multiple influences on European culture (on Wedgwood pottery, for a start) deserves an entire book in its own right. As it is, this book does justice to the vase in the context of the wider theme, summing up all we currently know about cameo glass production and cataloguing the examples that survive in the BM.' -- SALON - The Society of Antiquaries Online Newslett SALON - The Society of Antiquaries Online Newslett

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