Leopold Blaschka: Fish Glass

Leopold Blaschke was born in Český Dub, Bohemia, to a family which originated from Antoniwald in the Izera Mountains, a region known for processing glass, metals and gems. The family had also spent time in the glassblowing industry of Venice.

Leopold displayed artistic skills as a child, he then joined the family business, which produced glass ornaments and glass eyes.

In 1853, Leopold was suffering from ill health and was prescribed a sea voyage. He travelled to the United States and back, using the time at sea to study and draw sea animals, primarily invertebrates.

Leopold began selling models of marine invertebrates to museums, aquaria, universities and other educational bodies who wanted visual aids but were unable to satisfactorily preserve such animals. These represented a great improvement on previous methods of presenting such creatures: drawings, pressing, photographs and papier-mâché or wax models. He gradually extended his range of work by studying marine animals from the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Mediterranean, and later constructed an aquarium at his house, in order to keep live specimens from which to model.