Striking Blaschka glass models of creatures from the sea go on display at the National Glass Centre this month.
This is the first time the Natural History Museum's models have been on public display since they were taken behind the scenes in the 1970s.
Museum conservators have spent years painstakingly restoring some of the models and now the public can see 49 of the delicate specimens in the centre in Sunderland. They will be displayed alongside a collection of sea anemones models from Tyne and Wear museums.
‘This remarkable collection shows how amazing and diverse the Museum’s collections are' says Miranda Lowe, one of the Museum curators. 'These stunning models highlight the beautiful nature of marine invertebrates in our deep oceans.’
Conserving the Blaschka Glass Models
Each glass model is a unique blend of art, science and craftsmanship.
There are sea anemones, jellyfish, corals and many other marine invertebrates.
They have a scientific and educational importance as well as being beautiful to look at, with some looking more lifelike than real specimens in preservation fluid in jars.
Glass model of a jellyfish
The Blaschka glass models were made by a father and son, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, in the mid 1800s. They began making sea anemones in 1863 and the Museum purchased their first set in 1866.
The models were made in a variety of ways with many formed over wire skeletons (known as armatures) with the glass fused together or glued.
Blaschka - Art forms of the Ocean is on at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland until 31 August 2008