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National Museum of Australia

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Twenty eight loose glass eyes

2002.0071.0004

Twenty eight loose glass eyes

Object information

Physical description

28 loose glass eyes of various colours, each shaped as a segment of a sphere.

Statement of significance

The collection consists of 18 glass eyes on stalks, at various stages of completion, three display stands, 105 loose glass eyes of various colours, a collection of irises, a large amount of specialised glass used to make glass eyes, two suckers for lifting eyes, and three photographs of glass eyes.

Paul McClarin was the only ocularist in Australia trained to manufacture glass eyes and this collection, along with his tools used to make glass eyes, featured in the NMA's Rare Trades exhibition. In 2003 McClarin went to Lauscha in Germany where most of the world's high-quality glass ocular prostheses are made. He was invited to work for several months in the Lauscha workshops to learn the more refined skills of glass-eye making and then bring these skills back to Australia. Although the manufacture of glass eyes is still widespread in Europe, the vast majority of ocularists use acrylics. At the time of his retirement there appeared to be no-one in Australia to take McClarin's place to make ocular prostheses from glass, making this a rare Australian collection.

Object information

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