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American Decorative Arts
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Manufacturer: Pittsburgh Flint Glass Works
Proprietor: Bakewell, Page and Bakewell, 1813–1827

Vase

1824–25

Blown and cut lead glass

12 1/8 × 7 3/4 in. (30.8 × 19.69 cm)
Gift of Miss Susan Lewis Shaffer
1946.31
Imposing in scale and embellished with elaborate prism and pillar cutting, this vase is the product of the Pittsburgh Flint Glass Works (more commonly referred to as Bakewell, Page & Bakewell), one of the most ambitious glasshouses in nineteenth-century America. Benjamin Bakewell, the proprietor, understood showmanship; when the Marquis de Lafayette visited Pittsburgh during his celebrated tour of the United States in 1824–25, Bakewell presented a grand ceremonial gift to the French dignitary and hero of the Revolutionary War. This vase descended in the Bakewell family and, according to tradition, was part of an initial pair made for Lafayette that was put aside due to flaws. More likely, this vase was the sample on which the skilled glass cutters practiced cutting the intricate pattern of facets. The glass used by Bakewell between 1825 and 1832 had an unstable composition that over time resulted in a hazy corrosion termed “crizzling.” Even with its now-clouded appearance, this vase shows Bakewell’s ambition to make glass that rivaled that of Europe.
Geography: 
Made in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Containers - Glass
Provenance: 

Bakewell, Page and Bakewell, Pittsburgh

Bibliography: 

John Stuart Gordon, “Time in a Bottle,” Antiques 185, no. 5 (September/October 2018): 91, ill.

Lowell Inness, Pittsburgh Glass, 1797–1891: A History and Guide for Collectors (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976), 114, fig. 63.

Arlene M. Palmer, Artistry and Innovation in Pittsburgh Glass, 1808–1882: From Bakewell and Ensell to Bakewell, Pears and Co. (Pittsburgh: Frick Art and Historical Center, 2004), 63, ill.

Jane Shadel Spillman, “A Lafayette Vase,” Glass Club Bulletin no. 218 (2010): 9, fig. 3.

Lisa R. Brody et al., “Techniques for Treating Glass and Ceramics,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2010): 86, fig. 3.

John Stuart Gordon, American Glass: The Collections at Yale (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2018), 92–93, no. 47.

John Stuart Gordon, “American Glass: The Collections at Yale,” Antiques and the Arts Weekly (November 2, 2018): 30–31, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.