Exquisite glass sea creatures… “an artistic marvel in the field of science and a scientific marvel in the field of art”
The Glass Sea Anemones
Glass models of sea-anemones were made from about 1860 by Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf, skilled glassworkers from southern Germany. They were based on coloured illustrations of sea-anemones published in a book by the English zoologist, the Reverend Philip Gosse. They were created by shaping glass tubes and fragments heated by an oil-burning lamp, then glued together and finally painted.
The Blaschkas supplied amateur and professional zoologists worldwide with models of sea-anemones. Real life specimens are impossible to keep for very long in aquariums, far from the sea or to preserve when dead. Their curious colours and shapes meant that they were also bought as fashionable ornaments, although because of the water-soluble glue and colours used to make them, they could not actually be immersed in water.
With grateful thanks to the Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne
Photo: © Tyne & Wear Archive and Museums