Background of James Tassie
James Tassie (born 1735, died 1799) was a Scottish gem engraver and modeler.
His best known original works were portrait medallions (round or oval tablets bearing figures) of well-known people.
He invented a new medium, vitreous glass paste. His portrait medallions were modeled in wax and then cast in this white fine-textured glass paste. Tassie’s portrait medallions included many eminent contemporaries among their subjects. They were sought by collectors all over the world. Catherine the Great was one of his most important patrons.
Born in Scotland and trained as a stonemason, in 1763, Tassie moved to Dublin, where he worked as a laboratory assistant to a Dr. Quin. Together they devised the white enamel/glass composition. In 1766, Tassie moved to London.
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