Art styles

In glass production, the Baroque style is characterized especially by thick-walled conic glasses with engraved and painted figural and floral decorations. Chalk glass melting was supplemented with some color glass types, ruby glass and opal glass. Scenes from both the Old and the New Testament appeared at the surface of glasses, but also mythological scenes or allegories of virtues, continents, times of day or seasons. Similarly to Renaissance, scenes that depicted everyday life and pleasures of aristocratic society were also commonly used. Glass walls were often decorated with hunting scenes, the popularity of which gives evidence of the last boom of hunting as a collective sport in the Baroque time. Only very little written sources were preserved from this time and so the Baroque production remains more or less anonymous, as it is very difficult to determine the specific glassworks in which the given pieces of glass were produced.     

baroko_medium-1This glass with a Harrach emblem decorated with a Order of the Golden Fleece at the front can be used as an example of the glassworks' Baroque production – it was probably produced after 1749. The glass comes from a family collection at a castle in Hrádek u Nechanic and it is most likely related to the person of Count Ferdinand Bonaventura Harrach, who received the order in 1749.

baroko_medium-2Another beautiful example of the Baroque style is this glass with the scene of The Most Beautiful Sledge Ride from Jilemnice to Rokytnice, probably from 1770-1780. The glass was made of milk glass painted with vivid email colors and gold. 

The ensuing period of Rococo has further improved the painting skills of that time, vivid colors with gold were increasingly used. The glass color changed from predominant intense colors to colors of lighter subtler hues, in which the dominant colors were pink to violet, light green, light blue and white.  

Just like Rococo, Classicism has shown in the Czech glass-making industry with a bit of delay. In many cases, it mingled with Baroque for a long time, sometimes it appeared on Baroque shapes in a form of Classicist geometric decorations and vice versa – for example on cylindrical thin-walled glasses that are decorated with bordures with the elements of late Rococo. Classicism formed from the half of the century as a reaction to Baroque and especially to its late phase – to the predominant rampant Rococo style. Intensified by the increased interest in the ancient beauty ideal caused by the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Classicism preferred objects from high-quality materials of precise cylindrical, drop-like and egg-like shapes with decorations inspired by the ancient art and architecture. 

Just like other glass manufacturers in Bohemia, the glassworks in Nový Svět concentrated on further improvement of glass quality in the first decade of the 19th century. Apart from prevailing clear glass, Czech glassworks also melted color glass, for example milk glass (bone glass), opaque light blue glass, translucent blue glass (cobalt glass), dark green glass, topaz-colored glass and – to a smaller extent – also the so-called "rotwelches Glas".

From many refining techniques that were used for glass decoration during the Empire period, glass-cutting has to be mentioned in the first place, as it became a truly style-forming decorative element. This fact was emphasized even more by the changing perception of glass (as a raw material) at that time – during the Empire period glass was supposed to evoke diamond to the maximal extent possible, which was vary popular at the French and English royal courts of that time. New glass-cutting style that was brought to Europe from Britain was following from this fact. It was the so-called stone (or brilliant) cut, which – in its basic form – was formed by small four-sided pyramids. In England, the popularity of this glass decoration style was connected to the production of lead crystal which was very suitable for glass-cutting.

empir_medium-3Part of a tea set (a small cup with a saucer and a pastry bowl) from a period of around 1820. The sea set is a great example of Empire glass-cutting, as it has been applied to all parts of the set in an unified style. The surface of the objects is decorated with cutting in three horizontal bands that are filled with triangular fields that fit in each other in a serrated fashion – this way the fields are formed by tiny four-sided prisms and very low pyramids. The Empire esthetics of those artifacts is further stressed by the gilded bronze mounting (of zoomorphous and vegetabilous forms). The gilded mounting is of French origin.

In the first quarter of the 19th century, the glassworks in Harrachov produced mostly clear glass, the characteristics of which were supposed to evoke diamond as much as possible which was very popular at that time – that is why customers preferred this to color glass. Only around 1825 – with the arrival of the new Biedermeier style – the focus changed to color glass that, in the course of time, suppressed the production of clear glass, which dominated the glass production in the central Europe since Renaissance. The Prague exhibition in 1828 represented the end of Empire style in the Nový Svět glassworks' production. There was yet another reason why the year of the exhibition marked a turning point for the glassworks – it was when the production of layered ruby glass with crystal commenced, which became one of the symbols of Bohemian glass in the Biedermeier period.

The thirties of the 19th century were a period when open competition of the individual glass producers took place in inventing new glass color variants and in their subsequent market use. At that time, the Harrachov glassworks produced an extremely broad range of color glass. Apart from clear (crystal) glass, the glassworks also produced hyalite glass, both clear and milk glass that was layered in red, blue, green, violet etc. The most frequently melted composite glass was red, amethyst and pink. Glazed and iridised (lustered) glass was also produced. Apart from that, the glassworks also melted glass that was colored directly in the material (for example blue glass, dark green glass and emerald glass). At the end of the forties, the repertoire of colors was further enhanced with (apart from others) tin email glass layered with rosaline, composite green glass (uranium glass), glass called Isabell (with ivory color), opal glass with turquoise color and the Lapis lazuli glass.

During the Empire and Biedermeier period, all high-quality glass had to be cut. Uncut glasses were not even imaginable during this period. The extensive application of cut decor was used on a broad range of produced goods. Apart from tableware (often in sets of many pieces) the factory also produced decorative and utility glass (such as candleholders, inkpots, jars, vases etc.). The produced object were decorated not only with the stone cut, but also with cut fans, shells, drop shapes, waves, spirals or curtains. 

empir_medium-4empir_medium-5Two examples of products from the Biedermeier period:

Rosaline glass with a lid and a Resurrected Christ cutting, manufactured probably around 1840. 

Small golden glazed glass made of colorless crystal glass. Manufactured between 1830-1840. 

One of the most important and most original decoration forms in the Biedermeier period were porcelain reliefs (pastes). The glassworks in Nový Svět already started producing them at the beginning of the twenties of the 19th century. However, their production boom did not happen until the thirties and forties.


A stand with the portrait of Franz Joseph I of Austria.

This lavishly cut and glazed stand with sealed up ceramic incrustation was displayed by the Nový Svět glassworks at the 3rd Industrial Exhibition in Prague in 1931. 

In central Europe, the second Rococo period in the field of glass and utility art started at the second half of the thirties of the 19th century. In the Nový Svět production, diversion from the rules of the Biedermeier style was apparent from the end of the thirties. Instead of dynamic and complex stereometric shapes, simpler, more "readable" forms started to appear that were not created by cutting as much as before. 

The glassworks in Nový Svět continued using quasi gothic elements, but in a simplified form – in addition to pointed arches, the shape of arcades and windows was also enriched with trefoils and quatrefoils, Moorish arches, clover arches, Tudor arches etc. Large medallions that provided space for other refining types (such as painting, cutting) also grew popular. Venetian glass-making techniques were also used as a reflection of past times. Shift of the shape morphology was also apparent – bell-shaped, funnel-shaped, conical and barrel-shaped drinkware modified and combined in different ways started to prevail. Cylindrical shape that was very common before went on a decline.


empir_medium-7A glass with a lid from clear glass layered with ruby depicting archduke Stephen. Its elegant, perfectly balanced convex-concave shape corresponds to a schematic drawing of a glass that can be found in a Nový Svět invoice book from 1846.

The period when Dominik Biemann (1800-1857), a glass-cutter and especially an excellent engraver-portraitist, worked in the in Harrachov glassworks is considered a separate chapter in the history of Nový Svět production. Dominik Biemann's engravings went from the initial graphic style that stressed anatomic details of the person being portrayed to the height of his portrait art, in which he connected richly nuanced volume modeling with light that softly unified the surface of his portraits.  


Antiquizing style, Renaissance Revival, Baroque Revival, Rococo Revival and orientalizing glass.

Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, London 1851

Participation on the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851, the first of a series of world exhibitions taking place in the second half of the 19th century has offered the glassworks a chance to introduce its production to the whole world for the first time. In London, the Harrachov glassworks was doubtlessly the most important representative of Bohemian glass-making and its second Rococo production was considered typical representation of what was commonly called Bohemian Glass in England. It this first world exhibition, the glassworks introduced products of many different art styles (Gothic Revival, antiquizing style, orientalizing style and others) and it was rightfully awarded the first prize – gold medal and a badge of honor. 


historismus_medium-8Exhibits of the Harrachov glassworks and refinery of Wilhelm Hofmann published in the magazine The Illustrated London News 19, 1851. 

In connection with its success in London and with rapid changes of art styles in the world, the glassworks was forced to react faster and to come up with new products reflecting the changing taste of its customers. In the second half of the 19th century, the Antiquizing Style, Renaissance Revival, Baroque Revival, Rococo Revival, Orientalizing Style and many other styles came and went in quick succession.

Antiquizing Style and Old German glass

In the second half of the 19th century and especially in the sixties, ancient times and Classicism became the inspiration for glass production. Apart from other aspects, the glass production of that time tried to imitate ancient Greek pottery with red figural paintings. The London World Exhibition in 1862 was the peak of English antiquizing tendencies represented mainly by engraved crystal glass. However, the exhibition also encouraged continuation of the Harrachov glassworks' response to those trends. In the following period, this response was represented by a large group of white opaque glass products, mostly vases, but also trays on stems, jars, sugar water sets and other shapes, again decorated with ornaments and figural motives coming from the contemporary idealized idea of ancient times.


historismus_medium-9This bowl with a stand produced around 1864 is an example of the Antiquizing Style. The bowl is made of white opal glass (Beinglas), the stand and the stem are painted with vermilion email. The medallions contain colored portraits of a Roman warrior and of a lady with classical hairstyle.  

Since the first London exhibition in 1862, the first signs of the coming Renaissance Revival can be observed. At that time Count Jan Nepomuk František Harrach had already been the owner of the glassworks for two years. The subsequent development confirmed that the prosperity of the glassworks and its promotion as the prominent representative of Czech glass-making certainly was high on the list of his numerous cultural and economic activities.


At that time, the Renaissance Revival production of the Harrachov glassworks was inspired especially with the so-called Old German Glass ("altdeutsches Glas"). A great number of glasses, small glasses, römers, jugs and humpens made of green glass (the so-called Gemeinglas) were produced, usually completed with glass pastings in a form of buttons or rosettes, which shows a broad range of shapes typical for the beginning of Old German Glass production. In addition to typical cylindrical smooth humpens with several different lid shapes manufactured in several sizes that imitated shapes from the 16th and the 17th century, slimmer humpens with a stem (sometimes called Stütze in German), humpens with rings (gereifelte Humpen), cylindrical mezers (Kannel), pear-shaped jugs with three spherical feet and römers of different proportions were also made.

Jug with a handle, probably from 1870-1871. Yellow-green "Gelbgrůn" glass blown into a form, freely shaped handle, emailed coat of arms and gilded rims. 

World exhibition, Vienna 1873

As a center of an important European power Austria-Hungary, Vienna was making an effort to host a world exhibition since the sixties and after London and Paris it became the third city to host such an significant world display. The exhibition that started on May 1, 1873 became a long-sought opportunity for the Harrachov glassworks to present the extensive scope of its production on the "home ground". At that time, the glassworks was among renowned suppliers of the Imperial Court in Vienna and it is therefore only logical that it strived to show the whole range of its skills in the center of the monarchy and in front of the whole world in the best light possible.

Today, we can have an idea about the overall appearance of the display and of its installation from a set of four photographs from the company's archive that depict the display of the Harrachov glassworks. The photographs are important not only because they are the second oldest known photographs of Harrachov's exposition displays, but especially because thanks to their sharpness they offer an unique possibility to study the displayed items in great detail. In combination with written records and with production documentation they allow us to identify the individual exhibits exactly – especially the most expensive ones.

Display of the Harrachov glassworks in Nový Svět at the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873.








Two vases manufactured to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Franz Joseph I of Austria dominated the installation and for visitors, they must have doubtlessly been the most interesting exhibits. Monumental five-section vases made of white marble glass bore painted portraits of the imperial pair, the plinths showed the emperor's castles Schönbrunn and Possendorf. Two three-ply table bowls in ruby color with mauresques painted in gold rivaled the vases – they were closely related to a doubtlessly older but only two-ply table bowl that can be found in the collection of the Museum of Western Bohemia in Pilsen. Among other exceptional pieces are two white-green alabaster vases with edges cut into the shape of acanthus leaves, from which one still remains in our company's collection. The vast majority of over six hundred exhibits was densely arranged on a multi-stage podium with mirror surfaces – they were partly grouped according to product types. Essential part of the display consisted of glass samples in the Old German style made of green glass with figural or ornamental motifs painted with emails and gold. 

historismus_medium-13Monumental "imperial" vase, 1873, h. 175 cm

Five sections. Colorless glass, layered with white opal, crackled, overlayered with colorless glass, blown into a form. Painted with emails and gold. At the front side there is a circular medallion in a white field made from plastic acanthus leaves, in which there is an Austrian-Hungarian eagle at the bottom. At sides of the top part, there are two brown shaded geniuses holding ribbons with Barmherzigkeit (Mercy) and Gottesfurcht (Godliness) written on them. There is a rectangular plate screwed to the stand with a painted view of the imperial castle Possenhofen, four glued pink glass stones, between them there are multicolored floral curtains on a ribbon. Today's location of the second of the "pair of imperial vases" is unknown. 

Several vases with paintings of exotic plants differ from the range of traditional motifs which – as the vase with a orchid painting in very vivid colors shows – prefigure increased interest in motifs inspired by oriental art. Both older and new products from ice glass of different colors were also included in the rich display of Harrachov production, along with unique pieces from thread glass – Cristall reticulierter Pokal or Fadenbandglas Zuckerschale mit Cristall verschlungener Schlange matt, lamps and lampshades, flacons, toilet sets and many examples of table glass.

The Vienna exhibition was a great success for Count Jan Nepomuk František Harrach and his glassworks as it was awarded a grand gold medal.

International Exhibition, Philadelphia 1876

Centennial International Exhibition took place in 1876 in Philadelphia to commemorate the one-hundred-year anniversary of American Declaration of Independence. It was the first world exhibition that was held at the American continent. European exhibitors were given a chance to create links to the American market, but many companies were discouraged from taking part in the exhibition by long and costly transport of exhibits and also by customs formalities. However, the Harrachov glassworks made use of the opportunity to display a representative selection of its production overseas for the first time and to expand its business contacts and export possibilities.

As far as the style development is concerned, the exhibits followed two different directions – Renaissance Revival at its prime and the setting in orientalizing tendencies. When compared to the presentation of the Harrachov glassworks in Vienna in 1873 with the prevailing Renaissance Revival style, in Philadelphia three years later exhibits showing the effort to react to the increasing interest in oriental art were displayed.


historismus_medium-14Two-section vase – fan, shape: 1876, prod. No. 92/1, h. 34 cm

Probably an unique vase designed and intended especially for the International Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876.

White alabaster glass. Two-sections, stand and body of the vase blown into forms. The edge is cut into arches, painted with white relief email and vivid email colors.

Renaissance Revival, Baroque Revival and Rococo Revival glass

The last three decades of the 19th century in the glass production are characterized by quick succession of art styles that imitate earlier motifs of Italian Renaissance, opulent Baroque and majestic Rococo. 

The Renaissance Revival style was characterized mostly by making products from opaque white glass decorated with medallions and grotesques drawing from Italian Renaissance. Later products of the Harrachov glassworks are decorated mostly with floral motifs of designers from Vienna made using both white and color email or with antiquizing heads painted using pastorous white email.  

The glassworks in the New World entered the 20th century as a prosperous, technically modernized company. The products were sold by our own extensive network of sales offices not only in Europe, but also in the Middle East and the United States. In addition to the glassworks itself, the operation also includes a grinding shop, an engraving workshop, a painting shop and an etching shop.
The artistic level of Harrachov glass was increased by cooperation with professional artists and designers. The first designers of the company were Josef Petříček and Bohdan Kadlec from the 1880s, in the years 1900-1918 acad. Painter Julius Jelínek, disciple of Vojtěch Hynais at the Prague Academy. His successor was the current trainee Rudolf Schwedler, who was the designer of the glassworks until 1958.

From the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the good reputation of the Harrachov glassworks also brought external collaborators from the ranks of prominent Czech architects and artists to the New World. Jan Koula, Jan Kotěra, Carl Lederle, later Alois Metelák, Josef Drahoňovský and others, for example, carried out their work here. Harrachov products have been a great success at world exhibitions.
But it was not only the successes that accompanied Harrachov's glass production in the first half of the 20th century. The years of world wars and economic crises also weighed heavily on the Krkonoše glassworks and often threatened its independent existence. The decisive attitude of Harrachov glassmakers always prevented the cessation of production. In 1943, the Harrach family sold the glassworks, and from April 1, Rudolf Endler became the owner, to whom the glassworks was expropriated by a decree of the President of the Republic on the nationalization of companies in the spring of 1945.
In the Art Nouveau period, in addition to new metallurgical techniques, painting, grinding and engraved glass, etched glass was used, which is generally perceived as one of the typical manifestations of Art Nouveau glassmaking.
Later, Art Deco was characterized mainly by sanding.


Although the operation survived the pre-war crisis, it stagnated; during World War II, the Harrachs were forced to sell the glassworks. The profound transformations that the Czechoslovak glass industry has undergone since 1945 have also marked the further development of the Harrachov glassworks. In 1946, the smelter and archive were hit by the third, this time the most devastating fire, and a year later the engraving and painting workshop was closed. After a six-year period of independence, the nationalized company was affiliated with the national company Železnobrodské sklo, and in 1972 the Museum of Glass was opened at the glassworks. In the years 1958 - 1993 it was part of the Borské sklo industrial complex, later the state enterprise Crystalex and then privatized. Since the beginning of the 1950s, Harrachov production has gradually specialized in drinking glass and some other metallurgical productions. Refinishing of products by painting and engraving ceased in 1947, only glass grinding maintains its traditional position in Harrachov. The last significant technological change took place in 1982, when the furnaces were replaced.
In January 1955, 26-year-old Milan Metelák joined the Harrachov glassworks as a newly established artist. Graduate of the Secondary Vocational School of Foundry in Železný Brod,
who subsequently graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, where he attended the studio of Professor Karel Štipl. During his studies, he focused on painting on glass. At present, in the period 1948-1951, he studied at the Faculty of Education of Charles University. After graduating, he went through an internship in Karlovy Vary, Železný Brod and Poděbrady. He knew the Harrachov glassworks not only from his student practice, but even earlier he came here with his father, Alois Metelák, who was looking for quality Harrachov glassmakers and the local raw material for his designs. Milan Metelák had a lot of experience with the specific environment of glassworks from his previous work stays, so at the order of the technologist, after his arrival in Harrachov, he spent far more time in the smelter than in the artist's office or drawing room.

After entering the glassworks, Milan Metelák focused on decorative glass. He was aware of the need to evaluate the qualities of the glassworks, the skill of its glassmakers and the tradition of glassmaking techniques, which was kept very alive here. At the same time, however, he wanted to create a new, modern form of glass sculpture, a glass decodative transcript corresponding to contemporary morphology. His ideal was the glass formed hot at the kiln and also finished there. He took over the experience of his family, learned from Rudolf Schwedler, built on their successes and tried to develop them further. His acceptance as an artist - initially perceived as a concession to the Art Center and the Ministry of Consumer Industry - was a compromise solution for the glassworks to meet the efforts of university-educated artists to work with industry while arguing to refuse closer collaboration with external designers. . Metelák got on admirably with his life in the glassworks, passed all the exams prepared for him by the operation of the smelter as an academically trained artist, and he also got along well with the management of the glassworks.

Since 1993, the glassworks in Harrachov has been operating as a private company under the name N a S Glassworks.
The owner of the company JUDr. František Novosad bought the glassworks as part of economic and political changes with the aim of continuing the good tradition of quality production of hand-shaped drinking glasses. The company's management program also includes the renewal of the production of painted glass and lighting fixtures with fully cut and densely shaped parts, additionally decorated with matting, sandblasting and gold painting.
The current production of the glassworks corresponds to these trends and at the same time works with new designs according to the designs of our own artists and the ideas of foreign customers.
Some attractions to revive the glassworks and tourism have been gradually built in the area since 1994, such as the museum in the so-called Manor House, a shop, a mini-brewery with a restaurant, a hotel and a beer spa.
A brewery with a restaurant was built in 2002, and since then the company has been renamed the Glassworks and Mini Brewery Novosad & son Harrachov.
The glassworks produces luxury drinking glasses, utility glasses and crystal chandeliers. The glass grinding shop is unique, whose machines are still rotated by transmissions driven by a water turbine from the company Jos.Prokopa sons from 1937. Every day there are excursions in the glassworks to the glassworks, grinding mill, brewery and glass museum. A special offer is the beer spa. The local beer has already won several important awards, most recently the twelve-degree light lager František received the Main Prize in the absolute category Beer of the Year 2011 at the Beer Festival in Tábor. Although the volume of Harrachov production is small from today's point of view, the glassworks occupies an important position in the contemporary glass industry. The attractiveness of its products lies in connection with the living tradition of handmade production, its high artistic and craft level. The quality of Harrachov glass significantly contributes to the representation of Czech glassmaking abroad.
František Novosad knows that he has someone to hand over his work to. He professes the philosophy that property is not meant to be owned, but to be managed for future generations. Truly aristocratic approach. His son Petr
and little grandson James are a guarantee that it all makes sense. Stories unfold and intertwine. Not when it comes to a place of magical power. František Novosad is simply a worthy successor to Jan Nepomuk František, Count of Harrach.

Z Nového Světa do celého světa

In large part, the texts from this section were drawn from the book "From the New World to the Whole World" by Jan Mergl and collective. We would like to thank the author for letting us publish the texts.