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Cut and Gilded Vase

Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes Cut and Gilded Vase produced by William Leighton. This cut and gilded vase, blown from four layers of glass (colorless, red, green, and opaque white), is very Bohemian in appearance. However, it was made at the New England Glass Company. William Leighton, the son of the factory's manager, was a very skillful blower and a self-taught glass chemist. About 1848, he developed a formula for ruby glass. Before that time, ruby glass had been imported from Europe in the form of ingots and melted for use in the United States. Because this vase is elaborately decorated, it was probably made for display, possibly at the 1853 World's Fair in New York City, where this New England glassworks had an extensive display. The Museum acquired the vase from one of Leighton's descendants.