Brown glass jug

Roman, about AD 40-75
Perhaps made in north Italy or Syria; found on an Aegean island

Made in an eastern glasshouse?

The jug is decorated with embedded white blobs. Most vessels with this type of decoration come from northern Italy, Switzerland or other sites in the western Roman Empire. Glass factories in Italy, at Rome and in Campania, are mentioned in literature of the first century AD. Others, established in northern Italy, in the Po valley and at Aquileia, are suggested by numerous finds of glass from sites in the area, as well as from nearby in Switzerland, at Locarno and Vindonissa. These early Roman-Italian factories favoured coloured glass. In the first century AD they produced attractive blown vessels that imitated the colours and decoration of their non-blown counterparts. The blobbing effect was achieved by rolling soft glass on a blowpipe over scattered chips of coloured glass. These would become embedded in the surface and rapidly fused with it. After reheating, the vessel would be blown and finished.

Another smaller jug, also in the British Museum, has opaque blue and yellow blobs alongside the white and is said to come from near Naples. However, small flasks of clear blue glass with opaque white, yellow and red blobs come from Syria and the Lebanon, suggesting an eastern factory as well. This fine jug was found on an Aegean island by M. Péretrié, French Vice-Consul in Syria, and is more likely to have been made in an eastern glasshouse.

Find in the collection online

More information


H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass-1, 2nd paperback edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

D.B. Harden and others, The British Museum: masterpiec (London, 1968)


Height: 23.800 cm
Diameter: 5.500 cm (rim)
Diameter: 5.500 cm (rim)

Museum number

GR 1868.5-1.85


Slade Collection


Find in the collection online

Related objects

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore