Mark Taylor and David Hill : Roman Glassmakers

Mark Taylor and David Hill are glassmakers, who specialise in reproducing a wide range of extremely high quality reproductions of Ancient Roman glass vessels entirely by hand.

Their work is run as a business, but as part of their constant efforts to gain insights into the techniques of glass production during the Roman period, research and experimentation feature strongly.

Mark and David's reproductions have attracted much praise and co-operation from archaeologists, academics and glass specialists from museums and galleries around the world, all of whom recognise their important contributions to the study of ancient glassmaking.

Mark is a former archaeologist who later trained as a glass blower:
"Roman glass fascinates me as it represents the beginning of glassblowing, so fuelling my interests in both glass and archaeology. Within the space of a generation the Roman glassblowers mastered a wide variety of techniques. To make their glass they had to work quickly and accurately, using the tools and technology of their day. Reproducing their vessels is both interesting and exasperating, and the methods that work best often prove, with hindsight, to be simple and obvious! To gain an insight into their glass blowing is ultimately satisfying and rewarding. Although I make free use of modern technology in some aspects of my work, nearly all of my free-blown reproductions are made using the most basic of tools such as wooden sticks, pincers and U -shaped shears, as the original vessels would have been."

David is a graphic artist and sculptor:
"My work includes the research of vessel designs as well as the sculpting of the archetypes and the creation of bronze moulds for our ever-growing range of mould-blown items. This includes vessels such as 'circus beakers' (palm-sized drinking cups decorated with raised friezes depicting scenes of chariot racing, gladiatorial combat and athletic contests), 'grape flasks', 'almond-knobbed beakers' and numerous other shapes. I have recently devoted much time to the study and execution of Roman point engraved vessels, which are now in demand by collectors. Attempting to ascertain (with all the frustrations of 'trial and error'), many of the methods which the early craftsmen and artists must have used is both a fascinating and frequently humbling experience. As part of this process of rediscovery, I frequently find myself completely 'at one' with the minds of artists of two millennia ago, and my regard for their achievements grows continually stronger. "    

For more information about Mark and David, please visit their website: www.romanglassmakers.co.uk