Claude Glass thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries

Claude Glass

1775-1780 (made)
Artist/Maker

Object Type
A Claude Glass - essentially a small, treated mirror contained in a box - is a portable drawing and painting aid that was widely used in the later 18th century by amateur artists on sketching tours. The reflections in it of surrounding scenery were supposed to resemble some of the characteristics of Italian landscapes by the famous 17th-century painter and sketcher Claude Lorrain, hence the name.

Materials & Use
The `glass' consists of a slightly convex blackened mirror, which was carried in the hand and held up to the eye. The image thus seen was the scenery behind - rather than in front of - the user. The mirror's convexity reduced extensive views to the dimensions of a small drawing. The use of a blackened rather than an ordinary silvered mirror resulted in a somewhat weakened reflection, which stressed the prominent features in the landscape at the expense of detail. It also lowered the colour key. A larger version of this device is said on occasion to have been fixed to the windows of horse-drawn carriages in order to reflect the passing scenery.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Blackened mirror glass
Brief Description
A slightly convex, blackened mirror, known as Claude glass. 1775-1780.
Dimensions
  • Open, approx. height: 21cm
  • Approx. width: 14cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Claude glasses reflected and concentrated the image, so helping the artist to compose a picturesque view of landscape. They were named after the 17th-century French artist, Claude Lorrain (1604 - 1682). His landscapes were particularly admired in Britain and such glasses were widely used in the late 18th century by amateur artists.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by the Rev. R. Lewis
Summary
Object Type
A Claude Glass - essentially a small, treated mirror contained in a box - is a portable drawing and painting aid that was widely used in the later 18th century by amateur artists on sketching tours. The reflections in it of surrounding scenery were supposed to resemble some of the characteristics of Italian landscapes by the famous 17th-century painter and sketcher Claude Lorrain, hence the name.

Materials & Use
The `glass' consists of a slightly convex blackened mirror, which was carried in the hand and held up to the eye. The image thus seen was the scenery behind - rather than in front of - the user. The mirror's convexity reduced extensive views to the dimensions of a small drawing. The use of a blackened rather than an ordinary silvered mirror resulted in a somewhat weakened reflection, which stressed the prominent features in the landscape at the expense of detail. It also lowered the colour key. A larger version of this device is said on occasion to have been fixed to the windows of horse-drawn carriages in order to reflect the passing scenery.
Collection
Accession Number
P.18-1972

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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