The National Glass Collectors Fair

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In-Fair Exhibition

Exhibitors at the National Glass Fair have always been willing to share their extensive specialist knowledge and a visit to this fair can provide you with a great opportunity to expand your knowledge about glass.

Nailsea Fairy Lamp Centrepiece.
Nailsea Fairy Lamp Centrepiece.
Image Courtesy of Graham Pullen.

With this in mind, we intend holding an in-fair exhibition to coincide with some of our future fairs. The first exhibition coincided with the relaunch of our fair, which took place on Sunday 3rd May 2009.

The exhibition featured an important collection of Victorian glass fairy lamps, showcasing the fascinating diversity of these highly desirable items.

Graham Pullen was responsible for curating the exhibition, which mostly consisted of decorative British fairy lamps made in the Stourbridge area during the 1880s.

Graham's fascination with fairy lamps began 16 years ago and he has amassed a collection of more than 500 examples from various manufacturers and periods. Over that time Graham has also developed an extensive amount of knowledge about this form of glassware.

If you are unfamiliar with the functionality of fairy lamps, you will be interested to learn that they were used to hold candle-burning lights. Their popularity peaked during the Victorian era between about 1880 and 1900, but still continues today among avid collectors. They come in a seemingly endless array of designs and are made from a broad range of art glass
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Fairy size blue cased white satin glass dome with matching bowl base sitting on circular mirror plateau with six matching coloured posy vases.

and bisque porcelain, including Burmese, satin glass, Peach blow, Verre moiré (Nailsea-type), cut crystal, Lithophanes and cameo designs. The best known fairy lamps from the Victorian period were marketed by Samuel Clarke of Clarkes Pyramid & Fairy Light Company Ltd. Clarke didn't actually make fairy lamps: instead he assigned the rights and granted licenses to others to manufacture them, not only in the UK but in Europe & the USA. He was more than happy to promote their products as long as his name was on the piece and as a result his company sold more candles!!  Clarke patented the holders for his candles, and the designs for domes, lamp cups, bases, hangers, stands and brackets.  Whilst the earliest forms of fairy lamps were designed for purely practical applications (such as food warmers) manufacturers soon saw the demand for more decorative items and began to produce ornamental centre pieces, night lights for infants and even Christmas tree decorations.

Cameo Fairy Lamp.
Cameo Fairy Lamp

The exhibition featured over eighty pieces of glass and the selection of fairy lamps covered a wide range of manufacturers and celebrated the ingenuity and expertise that went into creating such wonderful pieces of glass.

We intend to hold exhibitions at future fairs and will post details as soon as they have been finalised.

Further Information

Please visit our Fair Details page for further information about the next National Glass Fair.

 

 

Other Past Exhibitions

May 2010: All That Jazz Exhibition >>>
November 2011 >>>
May 2012: Royal Commemorative Glass >>>
November 2012: Portland Vase>>>
May 2013: Gray-Stan Art Glass >>>
November 2014: Short History of Art Glass in Hungary >>>