The National Glass Collectors Fair

Heading: National Glass Collectors Fair

In-Fair Exhibition:
All That Jazz


The May 2010 National Glass Fair featured another exciting exhibition, this time featuring iconic glass designs from the Jazz Age.

Whitefriars Comet Vase.
Whitefriars 'Comet' vase (Pattern No. 8989 c. 1934). Designed by William Wilson. Image courtesy of Andy McConnell

The Jazz Age - a term coined by the author F. Scott Fitzgerald - is evocative of the era between the two World Wars and encompasses the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. It conjures up a vision of Flappers, the Charleston, speakeasies and hedonism and is defined by a revolution in terms of the arts, culture and style.

Art Deco design came to the fore and this became very evident in the architecture of the time. The iconic Chrysler Building skyscraper in New York is an outstanding example of the sort of influences which prevailed, with its striking, stainless steel-clad, terraced crown.

This influence extended into many areas in industry and in the U. K. was typified by some of the designs coming out of the Whitefriars factory. The in-house designers at Whitefriars at the time included Barnaby Powell, James and Edmond Hogan and William Wilson. The director of the wholesale ceramics and glass import company, Elfverson & Co, Captain H. J. Dunne-Cooke, was also involved with the company, although little documentation survives.

Edmond Hogan and Captain Dunne-Cooke were credited with designing a set of trumpet-shaped wine glasses depicting shallow mitre cut stylised figures very much in the angular ‘Jazz Modern’ spirit of the period. Edmond Hogan also designed a panel of glass tiles cut in the modernist style representing the signs of the zodiac which is shown in the catalogue of the International Exhibition of Contemporary Glass held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1929-30.

Whitefriars bowl: designed by Barnaby Powell and featuring cutting by Albert Tubby.
Whitefriars bowl: designed by Barnaby Powell and featuring cutting by Albert Tubby. Pattern No. 8737. Image courtesy of Peter Elliot.

H. J. Dunne-Cooke designed some heavy, thick-walled vessels which did not form part of the main production range at Whitefriars and some of these were produced in dichroic glass.

James Hogan produced some singularly strong, robust shapes and Barnaby Powell designed several of the most sustainable and popular items, such as the M60 sherry decanter set and the ribbon-trailed range of vases and bowls.

William Wilson, who became a designer at Whitefriars from 1933 onwards, was one of those instrumental in starting to replace the older style ‘Roman’ cutting with some bold new designs, including the stylised comet and shooting star patterns. He also produced a thick-walled series of abstract designs, some of which are reminiscent of the previously mentioned Chrysler Building.

'Empire State' bowl.
'Chrysler' bowl (named after its resemblance to the celebrated New York skyscraper). Designed by William Wilson c1935. Pattern No. 9034.
Image courtesy of Peter Elliot.

Along with Wilson, Albert Tubby, who was one of the glass cutters at the factory, also produced some of the early abstract patterns which appeared on Barnaby Powell-designed bowl shapes and which are among the most desirable pieces to be found today.

The exhibition "All That Jazz" took place at the May 2010 National Glass Fair and featured glass from the private collection of regular exhibitor Peter Elliot. Peter put together a superb display of some of the stunning and highly sought-after items detailed above.

Visitors not only had the opportunity to view the skill of both the glass design and cutting at close quarters, but were able to appreciate the way these pieces bring the spirit of the Jazz Age to life once again.

Photograph of the 'All That Jazz' exhibition display.
Photograph of the 'All That Jazz' exhibition display.

 

Further Information

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

If you are interested in glass from the Jazz Age, then you may wish to visit our Preview Gallery, where you can view examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau glass that were offered for sale at our May 2010 glass fair.

Other Past Exhibitions

May 2009: Fair Lamp 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 >>>