Composition of Facon de Venise glass from early 17th century London in comparison with luxury glass of the same age
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF HISTORICAL GLASS - IAS12
Conference on Integrated Approaches to the Study of Historical Glass, (IASHG), APR 16-17, 2012, Brussels, BELGIUM
, p. 1-12
University of Antwerp
SEM-EDX and LA-ICP-MS analyses were performed on a set of early 17th century London glass fragments. The samples originate from two archaeological sites (Aldgate and Old Broad Street) where glass workshops were active in this period. The great majority of the samples are made of soda glass. Two distinct compositional groups are observed, each typical of one site of provenance. The samples originating from the Old Broad Street excavation feature a silica-soda-lime composition, with a moderate amount of potash. The samples from Aldgate are richer in potassium and feature higher amounts of trace elements such as Rb, Zr and Cu. The distinction between the two groups stems from different flux and silica sources used for glassmaking. A comparison with different European glass compositions of that time reveals no resemblance with genuine Venetian production, yet the composition of the Old Broad Street glass shows a close similarity to that of fragments produced 'a la facon de Venise' in Antwerp at the end of the 16th century. This coincides with historical sources attesting the arrival of glassworkers from the Low Countries in England and suggests that a transfer of technology took place near the turn of the century.