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Preserving the Blaschka glass models

23 June 2005

A pilot conservation project has begun on the Natural History Museum’s striking collection of Blaschka glass models.

Blaschka Glass Model - radiolarian © The Natural History Museum, London 2005

Blaschka Glass Model - radiolarian © The Natural History Museum, London 2005

There are between 160-170 stunning glass models at the Museum each more than 100 years old. This delicate and beautiful collection is vulnerable to deterioration and is in great need of being restored.

Inspired by nature

The glass models are inspired by nature, and include radiolarians (small single-celled plankton) and sea anemones. They were created by father and son partnership Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the 1800s, originally from Bohemia but who later moved to Dresden, Germany.

Unfortunately, the secret glass-working method of production the Blaschkas' used to make the models, was not passed on and died with them.

Conserving the Blaschka Glass Models

Conserving the Blaschka Glass Models

The models are extremely delicate and have become more fragile over the years from pollution, metal corrosion, salt migration and poor storage. Added to this, the solubility of the original glues and lacquers has made the pollutants very difficult to remove.

A huge conservation and re-storage project has now begun, made possible by a generous gift from Museum Patrons George and Angela Loudon.

The project could take up to four years to complete, and once preservation is finished, it is hoped that the educational and aesthetic appeal of the models can be highlighted in a major showcase exhibition.

If you would like to donate to the conservation project, please contact Henrietta Beane on +44 (0)20 7924 5953.

If you would like to find out more please select the link below or you can email the Blaschka group.