Illustrated with 120 superb pieces, Glass: A Short History brings to life a centuries-old craft that has served many purposes, styles, and cultures. Until the first century BC, glass was made only in Western Asia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean regions; its manufacture then spread to China and other areas. The peoples of the Roman Empire included the most versatile glassmakers in the ancient world, leading to both widely available low-cost glassware and stunning luxury glass. During the Middle Ages, Islamic glassworkers decorated their fine cut glass with gilding and brilliant enamel. In the 15th century, the focus of luxury glassmaking shifted to Venice. Glassmaking in Europe was transformed again in the 17th century, when thick-walled objects with cut and engraved ornament were in great demand.
By the nineteenth century, glassmaking was well established in America, where, as in Europe, industrial processes were developed to supply the rapidly expanding population with glassware for daily use. Within the past 50 years glass has gained acceptance as a medium for artistic expression, and the Studio Glass Movement, born in the United States, has inspired artists all over the world to explore its unique properties. Glass tells this sweeping story from ancient times to the present in an accessible text with gorgeous examples.