Leopold Blaschkas (1822-1895) came from a long line of skilled glass makers. The family was originally from Venice, but lived in Bohemia, (what is now the Czech Republic). When young Leopold studied to become a goldsmith and gem cutter but then joined the family business and his main work was to produce glass eyes.
In 1857 his son Rudolph was born but shortly after two tragedies occurred in his life, his wife died in an cholera epidemic and two years later his father too. It was hard on him but he found a way to deal with his sorrow. He was artistically talented and started to look at the nature for inspiration, and sketched what he saw, plants and animals from outside his home and in exotic natural books he found. And then, on a boat trip to south America, he spend his time looking out in the sea around him. There he got struck by and fascinated by the sea animals he saw, those without
Although he was already one, he and became even more a passionate nature history lover and as a hobby he recreated both plants and animals in glass. After his encounter with sea animals he started making them in glass and then became one of the first who recreated animals from the sea in an accurate way, at that time you couldn’t take photographs under water.
In the late 1850s Leopold was commissioned by a Mr. Prince Camille de Rohan to create 100 glass models of a orchid collection Leopold already had started to work on. His models then got exhibited in Dresden Natural History Museum, This was the start of his career.