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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Unknown Maker
Covered Urn
c. 1800

16 3/4 x 8 3/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Rienzi Collection, museum purchase
with funds provided by the Rienzi Holiday Party

Arts of Europe

This elegant Covered Urn demonstrates the unrivaled production of glass wares by Britain at the end of the 18th century. It is not only of monumental size and significant weight but, with its diamond-cut surface and bands of cut flutes, has a shimmering presence.

Luxury glass represented the top of the British market and was judged by its weight and brilliance. Brilliance was achieved primarily through the cutting of decorations into the glass surface. Diamond patterns were especially popular and could be readily cut either free-hand or, more commonly at the time, with the help of a wheel. Cut decoration was usually paired with shapes that reflected the influence of the popular Neoclassical style.