Roman Glassmakers

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Television work

York furnace York furnace

Over the September Bank Holiday 1999, we were asked by Channel 4's Time Team to take part in their ambitious live programme from York. The task was to blow a reproduction of a typical Roman glass jug, using a replica of a Roman wood-fired furnace. The furnace was built using modern materials for the sake of convenience and speed, under the supervision of Beryl Hines, a potter specialising in ancient kilns, and reached a temperature of over 1100C, which was maintained day and night throughout the weekend.

By Sunday afternoon the glass was in a fit state to be blown, and Mark successfully blew several vessels for the cameras. These six live programmes were edited down into one hour-long documentary, (featuring the glassblowing sequence), which was broadcast at the end of the 2000 series of Time Team. The experiment provided fascinating insights into the way a Roman glassmaking team would have worked, and the co-operation necessary for making glass this way.

Late Roman glass vessel from Spitalfields, London Late Roman glass vessel from Spitalfields, London

We were also seen in BBC2's Meet the Ancestors ('The Princess in the City'), where Mark was filmed attempting reproductions of the two glass vessels (originals shown here) found with the Roman burial at Spitalfields, London, shown as part of the 2000 series. The glassblowing sequences were re-edited as an expanded version of this programme for the Discovery Channel.


Reproduction of a Roman 'cast' glass window pane We were filmed making early Roman 'cast' window glass as well as the later 'cylinder' window glass as part of Adam Hart-Davis' BBC series What the Romans did for us, broadcast in November 2000. This was the first time that any glassmaker has successfully made a 'cast' window pane for at least 1700 years! One of the successful panes was installed in the Museum of London exhibition "High Street Londinium", which also included many of our blown glass vessels.

Click on the picture of the window pane to link to our article on Roman window glass.

Other television filming in 1999 included a costumed re-enactment of glassmaking for a new video installation at the new National Glass Centre in Sunderland, and a special feature for the 2000 series of Countryways.

In a slight departure from Roman glassmaking, Mark can also be seen in a sequence recorded for an Open University programme about champagne, making 17th and 18th century wine bottles!

In September 2003, we were again filmed making Roman window glass, this time as part of the Butser Roman Villa Project. The work in preparation for this allowed us to refine our 'cast' glass window pane-making technique, and this is summarised at the end of our 'No Pane, No Gain' article.

In June 2004, we once again worked for an Adam Hart Davis series: Ancient Civilisations, due to be screened in February 2005. We were filmed making Eighteenth Dynasty core formed glass for the programme on Egypt, and mould blown circus beakers for the Roman programme.

Using a mould for making a vessel The mould blown vessel

In 2010, we were filmed for Neil Oliver's History Of Ancient Britain' - Series 2: Age Of Romans. Once again, window glass was requested, this time along with mould-blowing a small vessel.









Film work

Gladiator (2000) King Arthur (2004) Kingdom Of Heaven (2005) Robin Hood (2010) The Libertine (2004) Snow White And The Huntsman (2012) Conan The Barbarian (2011)


Almond knob beaker (062a) used in 'Gladiator'

We have made glass for use in several films, beginning with Ridley Scott's Gladiator in 1998. The almond knob beaker (left) is our Gladiator Beaker !

Early in 2003, we supplied a film company with glass for a film set in the time of Christ, and later on in the same year, we produced vessels for the film King Arthur.

In 2004 and early 2005, we were commissioned to make glass vessels for Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, a few of which are pictured below, and many of which can be seen in the final film. Even more can be seen in the 4 DVD Special Edition set! (Note - we did not make the large, anachronistic Roman jug which appears in the film!)

In 2009 we followed this with glasss for Robin Hood, again directed by Ridley Scott.

More recently, we have made glass for Snow White And The Huntsman, The Hobbit, the second Thor movie: Thor - The Dark World and Maleficent, a film re-telling the Sleeping Beauty story.

In addition, our glass may be seen in The Libertine, Conan The Barbarian and in the television series Hornblower.




Home   Roman Glass   Glass From Other Periods   Business Topics   Other Topics

Calendar   Contact Us     Details of our reproductions can be found in our Gallery