The Art of The Paperweight” by Lawrence H. Selman

the-art-of-the-paperweight-by-lawrence-h-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

“In October 1951, a magnificent millefiori paperweight was found in the cornerstone of the old parish church at Baccarat, which had been severely damaged during World War II. The weight, which included an 1853 date cane, contained 233 millefiori canes. The piece was made by Baccarat’s master craftsman at that time, Martin Kayser. The discovery of the “Church Weight,” as it has come to be called, helped rekindle interest in paperweight making at Baccarat.

The first contemporary weight made by the factory was not, interestingly enough, a millefiori design. Because Baccarat had no records of the millefiori technique, it took several years of research and experimentation before its craftsmen finally succeeded in producing some millefiori pieces in 1957. By that time the company had already rediscovered, mastered, and begun production of another style of paperweight—the sulphide.

Baccarat began making sulphide paperweights in 1953, again at the urging of collector and connoisseur Paul Jokelson. The first attempt, which was a piece based on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s campaign medal, was unsuccessful. But the experiment proved to the craftsmen that encasing cameos in glass could be done. Later that year the factory produced its first successful contemporary sulphide to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This paperweight, which portrayed the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in double profile, was extremely popular and led Baccarat to the production of a long series of sulphides.”

from Chapter 5 of “The Art of The Paperweight” by L.H. Selman

excerpted and reposted with the permission of The Glass Gallery / L.H. Selman LTD