View mosaic glass art designs by Belcher Mosaic Glass Co., a New York glass company, as they appeared in a catalog dated 1886. In the forward of the catalog, Caryl Coleman praises Henry F. Belcher’s new technique and provides the following insight into American decorative glass works. See more designs on page 2 and page 3.
“Of all materials used in this country by the decorator in his art, glass had received the most attention, and its development as a decorative medium has been in proportion to that attention. With this development of its artistic usefulness has come wonderful increase in skill in its manufacture, the glass-maker of today being able to produce every color and tint called for by the artist, many of them as marvelous as they are beautiful.
Almost from the first the American artist abandoned the usage and traditions of the European schools, and aimed at brilliant effect rather than design, striving for artistic and harmonious arrangement of diverse color rather than merely transparent pictures. So far has the American artist carried this feeling that he can no longer be called a painter on glass, but is really a wonder in glass mosaic. That this is a healthy and artistic movement cannot be doubted, for the further the decorator gets from the once fashionable English and German pictorial stained glass, and follows a mosaic motive, the nearer he approaches the best medieval glass-workers, whose magnificent windows are lasting memorials of their ingenuity and good taste.
It is true the medieval glass-worker was compelled to make a mosaic of his window, as glass in his day could be had only in small pieces. The modern worker, however, does so from the artistic sense, his art knowledge teaching him that effect in light and shade, combination of color and prismatic play of light, — attributes which alone give value to glass as a decorative material, — can be best and most surely obtained by the juxtaposition of small and irregular pieces. In the means to obtain these effects, the artist of today has the advantage over his medieval brothers in two most important particulars:– a larger field of color from which to choose, and the invention at last of a superior mechanical contrivance for fastening the pieces of glass together.”