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Clichy-la-Garenne, sometimes referred to as M. Maes, Clichy-la-Garenne at exhibitions during that period, was a new company when paperweights appeared on the scene. Perhaps because it was not an old established company, paperweights became a major part of its product line, and this helped it get orders that normally would have gone to Baccarat or St. Louis. As many records no longer exist, parts of Clichy’s history are sketchy. It was started by L. Joseph Maes and a Mr. Rouyer in 1837 at Billancourt, or in 1838 at Sévres. The company moved to Clichy, then a suburb of Paris, in either 1839 or 1844. Inexpensive glass, mostly for export, was initially made by Clichy, but by 1844 they were being praised for their colored and overlaid crystal.
Paperweight production appears to have started here by 1845, and most likely a couple of years earlier. Clichy continued to make and exhibit weights through 1870. After this date the quality of its products declined quickly, and the factory was taken over by a glass factory in Sévres in 1885. Clichy glass as we know it, including paperweights, ceased to be made.
Color was used here brilliantly. They had a good range of colors from soft pinks and yellows to reds and purples which are almost black. The color combinations in Clichy weights are well thought out. They always seem cheerful and bright. The Clichy rose is the most famous of all millefiori canes.
Clichy was the most innovative maker of millefiori weights. In addition to closepacks, carpet grounds, concentrics, spaced, chequers, mushrooms and scrambleds, we have documented over 130 variations of patterned millefiori designs. Many of the flowers in Clichy’s garden are fantasy flowers, that is they were born of artistic inspiration rather than copied from nature.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.