Answered By: Beth Hylen
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2016     Views: 25

We have one book devoted to the topic of Claude glasses:

Maillet, Arnaud. The Claude glass: use and meaning of the black mirror in western art. Arnaud Maillet; translated by Jeff Fort. 1st pbk. ed. New York: Zone Books, 2009. 306 p. 
Originally published: 2004.

I attached a list of other references as well.

Maillet states: "The definition of the Claude mirror fluctuates...and this makes identifying it just by these characteristics all the more uncertain. In addition, it is difficult to locate it in texts, since its description is very close to, or even identical with, that of the simple convex mirror also used by painters. Moreover, it is very similar to mirrors made of obsidian, coal, or jet. It is also very easy to make: for example, by applying black or a black leaf to the back of a plate of glass." p. 25.

I am sending a scan of the first chapter of Maillet's book. The book gives clues - not directions - for making Claude or black glasses (with ink, for example).

To borrow a copy of Maillet, please contact your local library. Ask them to obtain a copy via Interlibrary Loan. For information about borrowing from our library, please see our web page:

I added our silvering bibliographies. The description of preparing the glass plate for silvering may be useful.

Please let me know if I can provide additional information.