Glass and Ceramics Studio
Belgian heritage also includes many items made of glass. Our glass experts devote themselves to the study, conservation and restoration of these gems. Since 2021 we have also been focusing on ceramics.
Glass and ceramics in all shapes and sizes
Heritage in glass and ceramics comes in many shapes and sizes. Our experts work on many things, including:
- glass in various degrees of decay
- enamel, both on glass and on metal
- ceramic items, such as terracotta, faience, vitrified clay and porcelain
- architectural decorations in ceramics or glass.
Some historically or aesthetically valuable objects belong to museums, private or public collections, church institutions, or come from archaeological excavations. Archaeological glass can be tarnished and porous and is sometimes still damp after excavation. Therefore, one of our specialisations is strengthening and drying these fragile gems.
Expertise and advice
Heritage items made of glass or ceramics evoke admiration and raise many questions. We are happy to help you answer them. We can provide a complete typochronological, historical and stylistic study or give a definite opinion on the authenticity of the work of art or object.
We also carry out preliminary studies for architectural decorations with the objective of restoration. These can serve as the basis for drawing up the specifications. If the client wishes, we can also follow up on the restoration.
We also advise on the optimal conditions for conservation, exhibition and treatment.
Our studies have led to several pieces being added to the list of treasures of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.
Among others, we studied a remarkable water jug from the Grand Curtius in Liège. Our colleague, Chantal Fontaine, brought this late-16th-century jug to our attention by revealing its Catalan origin and context. It is the largest and ‒ in my opinion ‒ most beautiful piece of Catalan glassware from that period.
Over 40 years of experience
What are the best materials and techniques for restoring glass and ceramics? How are they affected by time and by their environment? How do we preserve them optimally for future generations? And how did the artists and craftsmen of the past work? We try to get to the bottom of all these questions through our research.
Our task is to map out our glass and ceramic heritage and put it in the spotlight for the general public and the heritage sector professionals. Through internships, lectures and publications, we share our knowledge and train the next generation of glass and ceramics experts.
Our laboratory has more than 40 years of experience with antique glassware. We have compiled this knowledge and experience into a unique guide, the Vade-mecum of Glass, which contains practical advice and best practices for conserving glassware. The first version appeared in 2003, and we recently updated the guide and enriched it with numerous examples and illustrations. Download it here! Download it here!
An extensive network
The Glass and Ceramics Studio is part of an extensive international network of glass and ceramics experts. In addition, we work closely together with our colleagues from other disciplines:
- our stained glass specialist, Isabelle Lecocq
- the Stone Sculpture Studio, for monument sculptures in ceramics
- the Decoration of Monuments Unit, for architectural decorations in glass or ceramics
- the Glass and Metals Labs, for analysing the composition and dating of glass, enamel and ceramic glazes
- the Monuments and Monument Decoration Lab for the analysis of the composition of ceramic paste and mortars
- the Paper, Leather and Parchment Lab, for the study of organic and inorganic constituents
- the Preventive Conservation Unit.