Classicism in Carder Design

Jun 6, 2024
Issue 3712

Many of Frederick Carder’s designs have been described as “classical.” But what does that mean?

Classicism is a term used to describe art that replicates the style of classical antiquity found in Roman/Greek paintings, writings, sculptures, plays, architectural designs, and other forms.  In his book “Frederick Carder and Steuben Glass” Tom Dimitroff describes Carder’s sketchbook designs during his time at Stevens & Williams. “Carder’s artistic training and his knowledge of historical precedents — gained through visits to museums and galleries — played a vital part in the creation of original designs and techniques…”  

We are lucky to have received some of Carder’s design sketches from Tom that illustrate Carder’s intensive study of ancient forms and shapes.  As these sketches do not have a date, we do not know when they were drawn.

Carder uses the words “Proportion” and “Breadth or Consistency” in the headings of the drawings of moldings, capitals and columns.  On one vase, he wrote “Good prop” [proportion].  These sketches provide insight into how his artistic eye translated architectural structures into the shapes of vases.  Below are some examples of Steuben vases that exhibit similar proportions to the sketches of ancient works.  


Save the date for our next CSGA member gathering!  We’ll be meeting virtually via Zoom on June 23, 2024 from 4:00-6:00pm EDT.  Our topic for this meeting will be “Is It or Isn’t It?” — a discussion of glass pieces that may or may not be made by Steuben.  This is a chance to share your knowledge and to learn from others about the forms, glass combinations, hallmarks, and other details that can help you better identify a piece of Steuben glass.  And, as always, this is a chance to catch up with other CSGA members and enjoy talking about glass together.

Meeting details will be emailed to all CSGA members the week before the event.  We hope to see you there!

Symposium 2024
Carder Steuben Glass Association
20-21 September 2024
© Carder Steuben Glass Association Inc.