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[Claude glass].
Additional Title(s):
[Claude mirror]
[Great Britain?], [ca. 1780?]
Physical Description:
1 Claude glass : dark-tinted mirror, in a hinged paper-covered wooden case ; 15 x 15.5 x 1.5 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
ND1505 .C88 1780 Flat
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
A Claude glass (or Claude Lorrain glass) is a small dark-tinted mirror, slightly convex in shape, usually mounted in a velvet-lined carrying case. "Its effect [is] to convey a relatively wide-angled view on to a small-scale surface ... Its tonal effect is to reduce glare at the top end of the scale ... and thus to allow the subtlety of the middle tones to emerge" (Kemp). "It has the effect of abstracting the subject reflected in it from its surroundings, reducing and simplifying the colour and tonal range of scenes and scenery to give them a painterly quality, similar in appearance to the work of Claude Lorrain, hence its name" (Harvey). The device was popular with 17th and 18th century artists, travelers, and amateurs of landscape painting.
Arnaud Maillet (in The Claude glass, 2004) argues that the device is more aptly termed a Claude mirror, to differentiate it from the tinted translucent glass filters (of the same period) that might more rightly be called Claude glasses.
The present Claude glass is placed behind a circular mat of black paper. The remaining surfaces of the case are covered in red marbled paper. There is no indication of manufacturer.
Restricted fragile material. Use requires permission of the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Kemp, M. Science of art, p. 199
Harvey, J.C. "Claude glass." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online.
Maillet, A. Claude glass.
Subject Terms:
Artists' tools.
Landscape painting -- Technique.
Painting -- Technique.
Reflection (Optics)
Claude glasses.
Claude mirrors.

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