The Houghton Salamander

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Object Name: 
The Houghton Salamander
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 8.8 cm, Diam (max): 11.5 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Honorable and Mrs. Amory Houghton
Web Description: 
Snakes and lizards were fashionable paperweight motifs. The Saint Louis factory produced mold-blown weights featuring lizards curled on top of rounded cushions. Large domes incorporating lifelike lizards or salamanders, made by the Pantin factory in the late 1870s, are among the most impressive paperweights ever created. Today, fewer than a dozen examples are known. One of them is this magnum (extra-large) weight enclosing a lampworked yellow-green coiled lizard. The artist who produced this weight overcame the risks involved in encasing such a delicate and detailed animal in molten crystal, and preserved the exquisite quality of the lampworking. The lizard’s body was wheel-cut to simulate scales, and the legs and other details were added. Salamanders, which were thought to be able to survive fire unharmed, were long revered by glassmakers.
Houghton, The Honorable Amory (American, 1926-2020), Source
Houghton, Laura (Mrs. Amory), Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless, yellow-green, white, and green lead glasses; lampworked; furnace-worked and cased. Domed, circular shape of colorless glass, enclosing a lifelike salamander or lizard, of lampworked overlay (or heat-sensitive) glass, cut to resemble scales, with the eyes and nose applied darker green dots; the mouth incised deeply enough to reveal the colorless core of the rod from which the body was lampworked; the lizard arranged in a counter-clockwise curl, with the tail curled back underneath the head; four applied legs, each ending in three toes; resting on a "ground" composed of a sandy tan with flocculent chips of green and opaque white glass mixed in; from underneath, the ground appears to rest on a background of chopped white glass; polished, slightly concave base.
The Fragile Art: Extraordinary Objects from The Corning Museum of Glass
Park Avenue Armory 2009-01-23 through 2009-02-01
The 55th Annual Winter Antiques Show
Corning Museum of Glass 2006-11-16 through 2007-03-18
West Bridge Exhibit
Flowers Which Clothe the Meadows
Corning Museum of Glass 1978-04-26 through 1978-10-21
Development history of ancient Chinese glass technology (2021) illustrated, p. 174;
Pantin Paperweights: What All Novice Collectors Have to Know (2018) illustrated, p. 73; BIB# 706712
Il Vetro a Lume = Lampworking (2018) illustrated, v. 1, p. 177 (fig. 118);
Zhongguo gu dai bo li ji shu fa zhan shi / 中国古代玻璃技术发展史 / 干福熹等著 (2016) illustrated, p. 086;
The Evolution of the Paperweight (2014-06) illustrated, p. 6;
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 35, bottom; BIB# 134015
Escort Guide to the Galleries [V4/2013] (2013) illustrated, p. 35, bottom; BIB# 134856
Paperweight Pals (2012) illustrated, pp. 10, 21; BIB# 130749
What I Tell My Students Part I (2008) illustrated, p.22; BIB# AI74912
Povestea Obictelor: Prespapierul din sticla (2007-01) illustrated, p. 96, top; BIB# AI98015
No Green Berries or Leaves (2007) illustrated, Plate XXIV, Glass I; BIB# 100858
Christmas at The Corning Museum of Glass (2006-12) illustrated, p. 38;
Looking at Glass: A Guide to Terms, Styles and Techniques (2005) illustrated, p. 12, half-title page; BIB# 99164
Looking at Glass: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques (2005) illustrated, p. 12, half-title page; BIB# 79754
The Top Twelve Antique Paperweights (2005) illustrated, pp. 73-74; p. 73, fig. 6;
Paperweights (1996-05) illustrated, p. 11; BIB# AI4309
Mrs. Applewhaite-Abbott (1993) illustrated, p. 12;
Treasures from The Corning Museum of Glass (1992) illustrated, p. 163, P43; BIB# 35679
A Short History of Glass (1990 edition) (1990) illustrated, p. 90-91, #81; BIB# 33211
Masterpieces of Glass: A World History From The Corning Museum of Glass (1990) illustrated, pp. 196-197, pl. 90; BIB# 33819
Glass Animals: 3,500 Years of Artistry and Design (1988) illustrated, p. 88  (bottom); BIB# 32200
Glass Animals: 3500 Years of Artistry (1988) illustrated, leaf 41 (right); BIB# 3398
Paperweights from The Corning Museum of Glass (1987) illustrated, #20; BIB# 34353
Vetri del Settecento e dell'ottocento (1985) illustrated, p. 75; BIB# 32949
Appointments 1982 (1981) illustrated, p. 24; BIB# 67110
A Museum Built on Sand (1980-10) illustrated, pp. 126-130; BIB# AI9236
A Short History of Glass (1980 edition) (1980) illustrated, p. 77, #76; BIB# 21161
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1978 (1979) illustrated, cover; BIB# AI97144
Paperweights: Flowers Which Clothe the Meadows (1978) illustrated, pp. 107, 166, #278; BIB# 20097
The Paperweight Collection of the Honorable Amory Houghton (1978) pp. 15, 16, 18, 19, fig. 12; BIB# AI68290