A Pair of French Lead Glass Pedestal Paperweights c.1850-1880

Origin: French
Period: 3rd Republic
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1850-1880
Heights: 8.5”
Base Diameters: 3.5”

The fine quality French lead crystal glass paperweights, having attractive speckled multi-colour trumpet flowers with air trap stamens, polished and cut star designs, each with baluster stems on disc feet, surviving from nineteenth century France.

In very good condition, there are no chips or cracks to report. There are a couple of internal firing imperfections. The pair had been in the same family since the early twentieth century when they were brought back to England from France.

Often (and wrongly) referred to as wig stands, these weights were produced in Europe during the second half of the 19th century, (von Brackel, "Paperweights: Historicism - Art Nouveau - Art Deco - 1842 to today) identifies similar examples as probably French / Meisenthal, Alsac-Lorraine, or perhaps Val St. Lambert / Belgium). Factories in France that produced these wonderful lead glass items were Baccarat, Saint-Louis, Clichy and Pantin as well as Murano glass.

Amidst the decorative excess that typified Victorian times, paperweights provided a respite of exquisite craftsmanship and conservative artistry. They became a popular gift item to be given to family or loved ones and were sold in stationery stores, and fine glass shops throughout Europe and Great Britain, and eventually in America.  

This form of paperweight is fairly scarce, and they make a lovely pair for the mantlepiece or windowsill where they can catch and play with the suns rays.