Online course
Glass: Mysteries and Masterpieces

Tuesday 20 April 2021 - Tuesday 25 May 2021

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
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Glass: one of the oldest and most extraordinary of man-made materials. This course explores the rise of glass art from the nineteenth century to today, through the techniques and achievements of its greatest masters.

The seductive glamour of glass has entranced humankind for millennia, but the nineteenth century raised that appeal to new heights. From the middle of the century to the present day, glass has moved beyond its industrial beginnings to take its place at the cutting edge of contemporary art. Names such as Gallé, Tiffany, Lalique, Marinot are familiar far beyond the narrow circles of collecting and curating; glass art is all around us, mysterious and alluring. This course follows the rise of glass-working from craft to art, exploring the mysteries, tracing the evolution of techniques and technology, and celebrating the spectacular masterpieces.

Scroll down to find out more information about this course.

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Justine Hopkins

Course Director Justine Hopkins

Justine Hopkins lectures widely in art history and design and is a registered lecturer for the Arts Society. She has published a biography of the c20 painter and sculptor, Michael Ayrton, c and is currently working on a book, website and two exhibitions celebrating Michael Ayrton’s centenary this year.

I was amazed by how well the online system worked. It was great having the materials, being able to re-watch the recorded talks and have a bit of less formal "chat" on the website. Autumn 2020 Online Course Participant

Course Overview

The 19th century began a great age for glass-working. Outstanding masters - Émile Gallé, Louis Comfort Tiffany - pushed boundaries, making science serve art: chemistry and biology uniting with expert craftsmanship and unique vision in extraordinary creations. Stained glass, too, in the hands of William Morris and his associates, underwent a spectacular revival. Later, glass art was the glory of Art Deco: in France René Lalique brought glass to almost every home while Maurice Marinot pioneered the concept of the individual glassworker producing virtuoso pieces unaided. Beyond Europe Iitala in Finland and Orrefors in Sweden developed a distinctively Northern aesthetic with stunning technical virtuosity. By mid-twentieth century the Studio Glass Movement had freed glassworkers from their ties to industry, presenting glass art as the equal to painting or sculpture and the revival of the ancient skill of glass casting opened new possibilities at the cutting edge of contemporary design. Glass is now considered among the most innovative and creative artistic materials. This course explores the methods, mysteries and masterpieces that have made it so.


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V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

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Online course: Glass: Mysteries and Masterpieces

20 April 2021 - 25 May 2021


Sold out

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)