A key breakthrough for this project was finding modern replicas of the Spectacle Wares.

Let me set the scene. I was on the road with the Getty’s Arts of Rome’s Provinces traveling seminar, and we were walking through Bignor Villa in southern England.  Exiting through the villa’s gift shop, I saw two replica spectacle cups. They were signed, and an online search led me to the historical glassmakers Mark Taylor and David Hill.

Once I was back in the U.S., I placed an international order for all of their mold-blown Roman replicas, and they all arrived intact. Taylor and Hill even generously shared photos of their molds with me. I owe them a huge debt of thanks!

I’ve lived with these replicas for a decade now. I know how they feel in my hand, how sunlight illuminates them at different angles throughout the day, and how the imagery shifts when I take a sip from them. Living with these objects helped me know what to look for when I studied the ancient artifacts themselves.

These modern replicas can also be digitized in ways that ancient glass cannot be, as I learned through my adventures with scanning and Sketchfab.

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