Hand blown glass – 12cm x 5cm x 5 cm
The history of glass perfume bottles is as old as the history of glass itself. Four thousand years ago or more, the Egyptians used unguents and potions for various religious and earthly purposes. The earliest known containers were made from wood, stone and metal, but soon the advantages of glass became apparent. Not only is it impervious to most fluids, this material is easily shaped when hot and it can be brightly coloured as decoration.
The retail packaging of perfumes today is intricate and attractive, as befits a high-value product that is consumed over time and usually kept handy in full view. But commercial bottles are mostly machine-made in mass production of thousands of identical items. We are interested instead in hand-made examples of the decorative arts where the practical purpose may be largely lost. (How many people would have bought a vase from Gallé or Tiffany, intending to fill it with flowers and water?)