The Source Of The Infinite

Eric Hilton

British, born 1937

The Source of the Infinite, 2003-04

  • On View

Engraved, cut and polished lead crystal

Dimensions: 12 1/2 × 24 × 31 in. (31.8 × 61 × 78.7 cm)

Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, L2017.57

Inspired by the windswept hills of Eric Hilton’s hometown in northern Scotland, this sculpture, made of ninety-two separate blocks of glass offers a glimpse into the landscape of the imagination. As a designer for American glass manufacturer, Steuben Glass, for more than thirty-five years, Hilton understands highly refractive lead crystal and he uses it to its full potential. When lead oxide is added to molten glass a much higher index of refraction occurs and the glass produces a greater sparkle. The presence of lead also makes the glass easier to cut and decorate. Hilton builds each piece by gradually engraving and cutting his detailed imagery and patterns over the whole surface like a painter covering a canvas in brushstrokes. When all of the components are assembled, the optical refraction of the glass makes it appear as if the interior scenes have grown inside the sculpture. This piece, the largest work in this series, was commissioned by collectors Sherwin and Shirley Glass for their living room.

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