The National Glass Collectors Fair

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3 May 2009 National Glass Fair Report

Following a recent change of organiser, the National Glass Collectors Fair was relaunched on Sunday 3rd May 2009.

Thanks to the hard work of all involved the fair was a resounding success. Many of the fair's regular exhibitors were in attendance and they pulled out all the stops in order to maintain the standards associated with this event. There was also a significant increase in attendance, which certainly contributed to the 'buzz' of the fair.

Feedback about the fair has been very positive and both collectors and participating dealers have reported that they had a very enjoyable day visiting the fair. Mark Hill has been particularly complimentary and you can read more about his experiences via his blog:

'All Change at the UK's Leading Glass Fair' - Mark Hill, May '09.

The following video was filmed by Tony Wigg and documents his visit to the National Glass Collectors Fair. The footage certainly captures some of the atmosphere of the fair........enjoy!

In addition to the usual mix of quality antique, collectable and contemporary glass, there were a number of additional attractions for glass enthusiasts visiting the fair.

Mdina 'Crizzle Stone' Vase

Mdina 'Crizzle Stone' Vase by Michael Harris.
Mdina 'Crizzle Stone' Vase by Michael Harris

There was a great deal of excitement surrounding the 'blind' auction of a highly desirable Mdina vase. Every specialist glass collector is in search of their own personal Holy Grail, that one item that they lust after and hope to one day add to their collection. When it comes the work of glass artist Michael Harris, many will agree that the 'Crizzle Stone' vase (designed whilst running Mdina) is arguably the rarest, most desirable and iconic design that he produced.

This particular example only surfaced once the owners saw a damaged and unsigned example on a recent edition of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. Once they realised the significance of their vase, they approached Ron Wheeler (Artius Glass) to sell the vase on their behalf. The vase received a lot of attention on the day of the fair and was eventually sold to a collector for £3,400.

Fairy Lamp Exhibition

Nailsea Fairy Lamp Centrepiece.
Nailsea Fairy Lamp Centrepiece.

Exhibitors at the National Glass Collectors 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.

With this in mind, the relaunch of the fair was accompanied by the first National Glass Collectors Fair exhibition. The exhibition featured an important collection of Victorian glass fairy lamps, showcasing the fascinating diversity of these highly desirable items. It was very well received by collectors and Graham Pullen did an excellent job of curating the exhibition, which mostly consisted of decorative British fairy lamps made in the Stourbridge area during the 1880s.

Learn more about the fairy lamp exhibition >>>

The success of the exhibition is very encouraging and further exhibitions will be organised for future fairs. Watch this space!!!

Nuts & Bolts Vase

'Nuts & Bolts' Vase & Plaque.
'Nuts & Bolts' Vase & Plaque by Eddie King and Adam Aaronson.

Whitefriars enthusiasts will no-doubt be aware of the recent auction of a reproduction 'Nuts & Bolts' vase. The vase was made by Adam Aaronson as part of the campaign to save the collections of Broadfield House Glass Museum (see below).

An original Whitefriars ‘Nuts and Bolts’ vase mould (pat. no. 9668) was used to make a reproduction vase that will be donated, along with the mould, to Harrow Museum. The vase was blown by ex-Whitefriars employee Eddie King and was finished by Adam Aaronson. This was done at Adam's London studio and they decided to make another at the same time in case one broke in the lehr.

As both fortunately survived, it was decided that the second vase should be sold to help raise funds for the Friends of Broadfield House. It was auctioned at Fieldings in their 'Three Centuries of Glass' sale, which took place on 18th April 2009. It was hoped that the vase, pictured with the accompanying plaque detailing its unique history, would attract the interest of both collectors of Whitefriars glass and those interested in the Broadfield House cause.

This objective was certainly achieved as the hammer price was £410. The lucky buyer was Mr.John R. Hobbs and he was kind enough to bring the vase along to the next National Glass Collectors Fair for all to see.

Adam Aaronson was also exhibiting at the fair and was more than happy to answer any questions regarding the making of the vase.

A Broad Selection Of Quality Glass

With such attractions stealing the limelight it is all too easy to overlook the high quality and broad variety of glass offered for sale by exhibitors.

Privateer Goblet (c.1754).
Privateer Goblet (c.1754)
There were some particularly fine examples of 18th century drinking glasses to be found. In particular Peter Adamson had some remarkably rare glasses for sale, including a rare Privateer Goblet (c.1754). This fine engraved drinking glass featured the motto 'SUCCESS TO THE SENHOUSE' above a three-masted brig. The Senhouse was a merchant vessel, taking its name from one of the most important families involved in the Cumbrian Trade Triangle (shipping goods and slaves between Whitehaven, West Africa and the West Indies).

Paperweight collectors were treated to a broad selection of highly desirable items, including antique and modern paperweights offered for sale by the likes of Ann & Brian Slater (Just Glass), as well as be first-time exhibitor Bernd Horst. Contemporary glass artist Vic Bamforth also brought along some of the paperweights from his 'Paradise Paints' range, which always prove to be extremely popular with collectors.

'Dodo Beak' by Tolly Nason.
'Dodo Beak' by Tolly Nason

Collectors of contemporary glass could find selection of work by leading contemporary glass artists, including three of the UK’s foremost cameo engravers: Jonathan Harris, Helen Millard and Terri Colledge. All three artists are highly regarded for their exquisite hand-carved cameo glass, which employs the traditional 19th century methods used by the likes of Thomas and George Woodall.

Tolly Nason is another exceptional artist who was in attendance at the fair. Tolly brought along various pieces of her most recent work, including skilful interpretations of extinct life forms that are winning her much acclaim. Her use of pate de verre has also produced some truly inspired pieces of glass art, which are destined to find their way into major contemporary art collections.

If you were unable to attend the fair, you can visit our Preview Gallery and view more than 200 items of glass that were offered for sale at our last fair.

We look forward to seeing you at the next National Glass Collectors Fair, which takes place on Sunday 15 November 2009.