As the days of summer begin to sizzle in the Ancient City, you’re invited to experience a unique and dazzling collection at the Lightner Museum. Soon to sparkle in its new gallery space, the American Brilliant cut glass collection explores the shining history of this stunning artform. The new display highlights the museum’s extensive collection of cut and engraved glass from the “Brilliant” period of the late 19th and early 20th century.
The new gallery space was created specifically with the American Brilliant Cut Glass Collection in mind. From the tall display enclosures to the fabulous cobalt blue background, the cut glass contained in these displays sparkle brilliantly.
For centuries, this substance forged of fire and sand has been a symbol of luxury and elegance. From the prized possessions of the pharaohs to the artworks in the castles and cathedrals of Europe, glass has attracted the fascination and desire of some of the most sophisticated lovers of art. This collection on display at the Lightner tells the story of the prosperous glass industry during the Gilded Age. Cut glass was a symbol of elegance and leisure, and a demand for beautiful glass products created intense competition and creativity within the industry. American glass manufacturers became well known around the world for their inventive designs and exceptionally fine cutting skills.
Extremely popular among the wealthy at the time, cut glass was very expensive and showed the social status of its owners. There is no shortage of different forms of cut glass included in the collection – including decanters, bowls, figured flasks, lamps, and objects for the table such as drinking glasses and salt cellars. In the Lightner’s collection, you will find over 30 manufacturers that have been identified including pieces by Pitkin & Brooks, T. G. Hawkes & Co., C. Dorflinger & Sons, Libby Glass Manufacturing Co., and L. Straus & Sons. A few of these names, like Libby and Heisey, will be better known to a wider audience, mainly because they survived into the 20th-century by manufacturing and selling pressed, mass-produced household glassware for the middle-class market.
You’ve explored the Lightner Museum and seen the artifacts and exhibits that lay bare the life of the leisure class in the Gilded Age. But this summer, see that time in a new way and in a gorgeous new setting with a gallery that is more than worthy of its sparkling inhabitants.
The exhibit will open this summer on the second floor. Viewing the exhibit is included in general admission to the museum.
Visit www.LightnerMuseum.org for more information about the collections, events, and visitor hours.