Crystal Creatures: Context for the Dublin Blaschka Congress

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The ‘Dublin Blaschka Congress’ was conceived as a gathering to bring together the diverse scholarly disciplines that are uniquely, if eccentrically, joined in the study of scientific glass models. Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka are best known for the ‘Glass Flowers’ of Harvard but in the nineteenth century they also invented techniques to sculpt anatomically accurate marine invertebrates in glass. In the course of preparing the Congress and a coordinated temporary exhibition, much new information was uncovered about the collections of Blaschka objects in Ireland, including a total of nearly 800 surviving models. The history of the artists shows a clever business model that was designed to tap a niche market in the contemporary fascination with natural history, and improved through the course of several decades with input from clients and their own passion for understanding their biological subjects. From a modern perspective, a single Blaschka glass model of a marine invertebrate can embody biology, the history of science, craftsmanship, glass chemistry, aesthetics and art. This ability to cross interdisciplinary bridges is a singular strength of the Blaschka works, and is evident in the published proceedings of the Congress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalHistorical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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