Download a free ebook The Art of the Paperweight

download-a-free-ebook-the-art-of-the-paperweight lh selmanThe Glass Gallery of Chicago is one of the world’s premier sellers of fine art glass paperweights. The company recently began to make available, for the first time ever, their unique and extensive library of specialty art glass books. Ben Clark, the Director of The Glass Gallery, said, “We are delighted to start making these important books available online, as a free service to the paperweight community, and for all the newcomers who we hope will begin to share our passion for fine glass art paperweights.”

The following is excerpted from “The Art of The Paperweight” by Lawrence H. Selman. The book was originally published by Santa Cruz Press in 1988. The entire book is now available for free, and online for the first time ever, at

“I admire glass paperweights primarily because they are the culmination of some 2,000 years of glassmaking artistry and experimentation. When one looks at paperweights in terms of the history of glassmaking, one realizes that there is little that makes them unique. The workmanship in a millefiori paperweight, for example, is no better than that perfected for the production of inlay plaques in ancient Alexandria in the first century B.C. During the Renaissance, Italian glassmakers also created millefiori canes that are nearly as complex as those made in mid­nineteenth century France, and they even encased them in decorative solid globes. The lampworked flowers found in paperweights are no more elaborate or delicate than the minute human figures created in Nevers, France, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There is, then, nothing new about paperweights.

Nevertheless, they are unique and important. The dome of colorless crystal provides the magic. One cannot easily see how the glassmaker formed and enclosed the tiny figures in the glass, or even even compre­hend how small they really are because the solid dome magnifies every­thing within and forms a barrier to our touch. Cut facets, which appear to increase the number and reduce the size of the decorations, also add to the mystery. Visitors to our Museum stand in front of our paperweight display and ask, how were they made?”

from the Forward to “The Art of The Paperweight” by L.H. Selman

excerpted and reposted with the permission of The Glass Gallery / LH Selman LTD

Forward by Dwight P. Lanmon, Director of The Corning Museum of Glass