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European Virtual Training Centre
for glass arts and techniques

Czech republic Engraving


Written and translated by Tereza Jeřábková

The technique of glass engraving is really ancient one, which evolved from engraving and cutting of precious stones.

The glass engraving as we know it now was developed in Bohemian countries in the era of Baroque especially as the imitation of vogue but very expensive rock-crystal.

At the beginning of 17th century rotating wheels from metal with applied suspension of grinding material began to be used for engraving. At that time Caspar Lehman lived and worked in Prague. He began to cut glass as the first craftsman and in 1609 he got the prerogative of it from the emperor Rudolf II.

The last quarter of the 17th century became an age of success of Bohemian engravers not only because of their excellent skill but also because of large variety of shapes of so called “Bohemian crystal” which was great at brilliant shine and diffusion of light, both so important for engraved décor. We can say that Bohemian glass acquired worldwide importance for the first time at the turn of 17th and 18th century, thanks to engraved and cut glass.

At the end of 18th and the beginning of 19th century bohemian glass work was on the decline due to Prussian-Austrian and Napoleonic wars. Despite it the production of engraved glass didn’t disappear and it even developed, especially in Northern Bohemia. The most significant engraver of this era was Dominik Bímann from Nový Svět in Giant Mountains. He vas brilliant in engraving portraits and he used the technique of deep cut.
Another important personality of bohemian engraved glass was an architect from Vienna Ludvig Lobmayr, who bought a factory in Kamenický Šenov in 1855 and brought high quality into glass engraving. Stone wheel engraving appeared for the first time in this period. It was much more suitable for manufacture production of cheaper, less difficult matt engraved décors.

Bedřich Egerman, who invented red stain in thirties of 19th century and began to use pulled cuts technique to decorate it, was very important and interesting phenomenon of Czech glass work. He influenced glass cutting for many decades and even now his heritage is used to design engraved glass.
At the beginning of 20th century design of prof. Josef Drahoňovský, prof. Jaroslav Horejc Ludvika Smrčková and other artists from High School of applied arts in Prague brought a new inspiration into modern engraved glass.