In the British Museum are many of these
interesting curiosities of Glass Mosaic work, some of perfectly white
clear Glass in the form of leaves or flowers, interwoven in the midst
of a dark green ground; the refraction of the latter upon the white
edges of the flower pattern, producing an intermediate, blended effect.
Most of the pieces are small, and some of the patterns are very minute; but
great study of effect, and much taste as well as skill, are apparent in
their execution. There are also numbers of fragments of white enamel upon
blue, and white upon amethyst grounds, of well executed designs in relief;
probably, executed by eminent Roman or Grecian artists resident in Rome.
(See PLATE 3
, fig. 10.)
On precious stones becoming
rare or expensive, artists had recourse to artificial gems; some of them
are prepared with two or three layers of colours in opaque Glass welded
to each other, of oval or round forms, to imitate real stones; and these
crude pieces, when worked and ornamented by the lathe, enabled the gem
engravers to meet the public demand at a comparatively small cost.
Artists having thus become accustomed to work Glass in the manner of
cameos, the execution of larger objects of taste—viz., vases like
the Naples, and Portland—was comparatively easy.* (See
.) A great