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Glass News

This section of the National Glass Collectors Fair website will keep you up to date about glass-related news items. This includes information about forthcoming museum exhibitions, lectures and seminars, as well as important sales at major auction houses.

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Skrdlovice & Beranek: Legends of Czech Glass

Homes & Antiques Magazine: Fair Of The Month

Book: 'Rummers: A Social History Told In Glass'

Book: 'The Portland Vase Project 2012'

'Encyclopaedia of Caithness Glass Paperweights: The First 40 Years'

Book Release: 'The Curious History of the Bulb Vase'

A Visit to the National Glass Fair - A Collectors' Perspective by Jindrich Parik

Loch, Heather & Peat: Domhnall O’Broin & Caithness Glass

Classic Paperweights from Silesia/Bohemia: New Book

Book Launch: Blue Henry - The Almost Forgotten Story of the Blue Glass Sputum Flask

New Glass Archive Article: The Rise of 20th Century British Glass

20th Century British Glass by Charles R. Hajdamach

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Skrdlovice & Beranek: Legends of Czech Glass

 

A bowl and a vase with blue and green applied prunts, designed by Jaroslav Svoboda in 1972.

A bowl and a vase with blue and green applied prunts, designed by Jaroslav Svoboda in 1972, vase pattern number 7233/38, 15in (38cm) high, bowl pattern number 7233/26, 10.25in (26cm) diam.

Image © Mark Hill Publishing Ltd www.markhill.net

On Sunday 11 May 2014 the National Glass Fair will be hosting the launch of Skrdlovice & Beranek: Legends of Czech Glass by Robert Bevan-Jones & Jindrich Parik (General Editor: Mark Hill). Hardback copies of the book, limited to 1,000 numbered copies, will be published by Mark Hill Publishing Ltd in late April.

Skrdlovice (pronounced ‘skerd-luv-itz’ah’) is possibly one of the 20th century’s greatest forgotten glass companies. For decades the company was hidden from the world behind the Iron Curtain and the major contribution it made to 20th century glass design is only now being uncovered and reappraised by design historians and collectors.

The company was founded in 1942 by the enterprising and talented glass-master Emanuel Berànek the earliest designs were produced using waste broken glass, peat to fire the furnaces and a huge amount of raw talent and sheer determination. Against all odds the company survived and flourished under Communist rule in the 1950s & 60s, exporting its vast and diverse range of colourful, curving glass across the world as far as Canada, Europe and Australia.

From the 1950s until its demise in 2008, nearly every one of Czechoslovakia’s best and more influential glass designers worked with Skrdlovice, including now globally revered names such as Frantisek Vizner.

Designs were varied and absorbed influences from now well-known mid-century modern glass produced in Scandinavia and on the Italian island of Murano. Like the glass produced in Britain at the time by companies such as Whitefriars, Czech designers didn’t merely copy but added a strong Czech twist to develop their own highly recognizable look.

Skrdlovice & Beranek: Legends of Czech Glass not only provides a wealth of information about this influential glass company, but also catalogues the glass featured in a ground breaking exhibition at Antiques For Everyone (April 10th-13th www.antiquesforeveryone.co.uk).

The exhibition will comprise over 100 examples, including unique pieces, that will be displayed together in Britain for the first time ever. Typically misattributed to factories on Murano and Scandinavia, this unique and exclusive exhibition will uncover the truth behind this captivating and fascinating glass, and reveal the amazing story and key names behind it.

 


Homes & Antiques Magazine Fair Of The Month!

BBC Homes and Antiques Article

We are extremely excited to announce that the National Glass Fair was featured as 'Fair of the Month' in the November 2013 issue of Homes & Antiques Magazine.

The magazine included a great write-up, which should really wet your appetite for the glass that will be available at our future glass fairs.

To view some of the amazing glass that was offered for sale at our November 2013 fair, head over to our November 2013 Preview Gallery >>>

 


Rummers: A Social History Told In Glass

Book Cover: Rummers: A Social History Told In Glass by Tim Mills
Book Cover: Rummers: A Social History Told In Glass by Tim Mills

Regular National Glass Fair exhibitor Timothy Mills has recently published an exciting new book: 'Rummers - A Social History Told in Glass'.

Whilst a great deal has been written about stemmed 18th century drinking glasses, Rummers have rarely received more than a passing mention.

Tim's book has been written in order to address this relative neglect and to give these glasses the exposure they deserve.

The book describes and illustrates the development of the rummer form, detailing the evolution of different styles and techniques. This journey takes you from their first appearance around 1780, through to their demise in the later decades of the nineteenth century.

The glasses used to illustrate the book range from the humble to the grand, from the cheap to the expensive, and from those encountered everyday to museum examples. Detailed captions provide the reader with useful information, whether they are browsing or reading cover to cover. It is hoped that the book will prove to be a valuable resource for those interested in British drinking glasses in general and rummers in particular.

Further information about 'Rummers - A Social History Told in Glass' >>>

 


'The 2012 Portland Vase Project'

Book Cover: 'The 2012 Portland Vase Project - Recreation of a Masterpiece'
Book Cover: 'The 2012 Portland Vase Project - Recreation of a Masterpiece'

Our 11th November 2012 glass fair featured an exhibition celebrating the latest recreation of the Portland Vase.

As an accompaniment to the exhibition, author Graham Fisher was in attendance selling copies of his book 'The 2012 Portland Vase Project' (ISBN: 9780954878146).

Graham is a trustee of the British Glass Foundation, an outreach worker for Broadfield House Glass Museum and has previously written about the historic Stourbridge glass industry in his book 'Jewel In the Cut'.

Graham's latest publication documents the making of the 2012 Portland Vase replica, which he describes as being a "tribute to all the glassmakers and artists who have helped, and continue to help, make the Stourbridge Glass industry the envy of the world".

The book also includes information on the principles of glassmaking, an historic guide to 400 years of glassmaking in the Stourbridge region, as well as some background on the development of cameo glass from the Roman period and a detailed account of the original Portland Vase.

Further information about the November 2012 National Glass Fair exhibition >>>

 


'Encyclopaedia of Caithness Glass Paperweights.'Encyclopaedia of Caithness Glass Paperweights: The First 40 Years'

In addition to the glass offered for sale at our May 2012 National Glass Fair, Andrew Nowson was once again in attendance selling copies of his paperweight encyclopedia.

'Encyclopaedia of Caithness Glass Paperweights: The First 40 Years' is a 'must-have' for paperweight collectors, dealers and anyone else who wants to know more about this fascinating subject.

 

 

 


'The Curious History of the Bulb Vase' by Patricia Coccoris

Book Cover: The Curious History of the Bulb Vase.Patricia Coccoris attended our 6 May 2012 glass fair, selling copies of her newly released book about bulb vases.

'The Curious History of the Bulb Vase' catalogues the diverse range of bulb vases manufactured  in Great Britain from the mid-18th century to the present day.

Although interest in bulb vases trailed off in the early part of the 20th century, it is now showing something of a revival. Modern vases, such as those designed by Dartington Crystal and Margaret Howdle demonstrate that the art and the interest in this area are as high as ever.

The book contains a full 300-year history of the bulb vase and a valuable reference guide for collectors. A compilation of pages from previously unseen factory pattern books (Richardson, Stevens & Williams, Stuart & Sons and Thomas Webb) places the reader in the enviable position of being able identify a huge range of bulb vases: hyacinth, tulip, crocus and snowdrop. The book also provides bulb vase collectors with an invaluable guide to the various glassmaking effects employed by manufacturers.

Follies and oddities in the world of bulb vases and indoor cultivation are also explored and show the many diverse ways in which bulb vases were put to use. Some are amusing, fanciful or ridiculous, and others are downright dangerous.

Finally, the author puts to bed the many misapprehensions that collectors may have about ‘bulb vases’; from candlesticks to hurricane lamps, many glass items have been assumed to be bulb vases – until now.

For further information visit Patricia's website www.hyacinthbulbvases.com.

 


A Visit to the May 2011 National Glass Fair:
A Collectors' Perspective by Jindrich Parik


My father once said to me that, "The English say that those who can speak English, become half an Englishman." After many visits to England for business and pleasure, I can speak satisfactory English, so, perhaps, I can say I am a quarter of an Englishman!

Czech vase by Beranek Glassworks
Czech vase by Beranek Glassworks

Just as some Japanese people when abroad, sometimes have an irresistible craving for raw fish, like their sushi at home, I occasionally feel the uncontrollable desire to board the ferry and see the rapidly approaching white cliffs of Dover. Having travelled by car for many hours via northern France, its now early Saturday morning, I look out from the ferry after crossing the channel from France and I see the harbour in front of me, this is Dover.

Customs officers seem employed to be equipped with a sixth sense, or perhaps are trained to identify any facial expression passengers that suggest something not quite right, to decide to examine this or that. The lady in uniform seems extra cautious. I'm not a smuggler, but I dread that the nice lady will want to see the contents of my boxes I have in my trunk, make me unpack all my lovely glass and explain what I am doing. This would cause me terrible delays and stress, for no reason. So I am a little nervous.

She asks me formally,

"What is the purpose of your
visit to the UK?"
"What?" - I say.

The time-shift of the long drive leaves me a little slow in translating her question, and I do not understand much.

"Where you go and why?" Repeated the officer clearly and firmly.
"Oh, the town of Solihull near Birmingham, for The National Glass Exhibition there."

My jacket with a white shirt and tie hanging on a hanger on the rear window by chance obscures the view of the customs of the boxes containing some glass and the clothes seem a signal that I'm going to an organised social event. A point for me, that keeps suspicion to a minimum.

"This is your car?" she asks.
"You mean my tractor?"

It seems to me, she saw the humour in this comment, as it is a 4 by 4, not a small town car and looks like it has been down many country lanes.

"How long have you owned it?"
"Well, four, maybe five years ..."

I thought, who remembers exactly how long you have owned a car?

"How long did it take you to get here from the Czech Republic?"

So we continue the discussion about the journey in the tractor..... What is the itinerary for your planned trip?"

"Friday, from Prague to Calais, had dinner and slept the night and on Sunday, today, the ferry to Dover, accommodation in hotel and dinner, the Fair, then Sunday night Dover again, the next night I will be HOME."

Emphasis on the word "home" to encourage her in believing I did not plan to overstay ....Finally she is happy with me.

"So, I wish you a safe journey, enjoy your stay in the UK!". I say, "You bet, I will enjoy it!" I head into the left lane and head north.

Some things can be difficult to describe and are better seen with your own eyes. This National Glass Fair is held at a venue that is usually the National Motorcycle Museum of England. I would say that it is a highly refined glass market in three halls, covering many types of collectable glass, vintage glass from all over the world.

Selection of glass from the May 2011 National Glass Fair
Selection of glass from the May 2011 National Glass Fair

Contemporary makers too are selling their work, hand made glass, I see Vic Bamforth and Adam Aaronson, among many other English glassmakers here. There are about 200 stalls spread through three huge carpeted rooms and everyone is talking about glass, selling, buying, admiring, wonderful. The first thing that literally shocked me was the number of people, both visitors and exhibitors and more sellers. The number of visitors I cannot dare to guess, busy. Another thing that immediately attracted me was the quality of offered goods on every stall. No flea market stuff covered in cobwebs here! The organisers insist on standards that give the Fair a high quality atmosphere wherever you go. Every piece of glass was perfectly clean and polished, often with a sign bearing the name of the author, producer and often cost.

I was advised that the written price can be reduced by about 10%, maximum in discussion, rarely more. Most of the sellers are highly educated and it is not worth trying to lower prices much more without stress and impolite difficulty.

My ego was a bit tickled, in that I found I knew quite a lot of people, both from my website and www.glassmessages.com forum. It was nice to know personally the people with whom I have been talking online to a few years, exchanging experiences and opinions previously only on the Internet.

Of course, I concentrated on Czech and Czechoslovakian glass wherever I could find it. Again I found a very nice surprise. In the competition of great glass: British, French and Italian, I found that Czech glass will never become extinct. It was not necessary to search for it with a flashlight. Of course, the Big Three were represented - Jurnikl, Urban and Vízner. With joy I found a number of vintage Skrdlovice pieces of glass, Exbor and Harrachov, all beautifully presented and attributed correctly.

It is fitting to remember that this is a credit not only to our great glass artists and glass masters, but also is also due to the English writers about Czechoslovakian and Czech glass. This includes Mr Marcus Newhall (www.sklounion.com) who re-introduced the world to our pressed glass in his book "Sklo Union." Mark Hill (www.markhillpublishing.co.uk), the author of many books about glass, including the book "Hi Lo Sklo" beautifully illustrated with photographs of pieces from the exhibition of Czech glass from the Graham Cooley collection, that ran a few years ago, that was also located in the UK. Thanks to these men, Czechoslovakian glass has found its way into the viewfinders of collectors and worldwide interest in it continues to grow.

Me, as a Czech citizen, has no choice but to ask myself, "What the hell do we do? Our taxes pay civil servants in the Cultural Government Departments, but the phenomenon of Czechoslovakian glass world must be publicised in England by a few Englishmen, derived from their own private resources?" It makes me so angry, I have to tell you this too!

Selection of glass from the May 2011 National Glass Fair
Selection of glass from the May 2011
National Glass Fair

Although the fair was quite a lot of stalls with contemporary glass work and vintage glass from many countries, Czech glass had one dedicated seller there were represented by only one seller, specialising in modern new Czech glass, "A Heart of Glass" (www.aheartofglass.co.uk) Glass products from Zdar were on offer by Princ glassworks. Among other beautiful things on offer, was a version of the famous Vízner Skrdlovice "whirpool" vase, that had written underneath "designed by Princ!!" Because I know Mr Vízner had no agreement with Princ to produce this design, it seems that the commercial practices of the company may be illegal, in taking his design without asking permission, a sad situation that nobody at the Fair could have realised. The rest of the display was filled with very high quality cut pieces filled with amazing colours, very modern art glass.

To compensate for my anger about Princ, I did find some happiness at the end of the day. I bought a beautiful Skrdlovice "Kangaroo" vase, as we call it, designed by M. Veliskova in 1955. The vase has a pouch on the front made of glass as a small extra design feature, a bit like a kangaroo has its pouch. A striking and beautiful piece of Czech design. The seller, however, I made promise, that if he ran into my lady Sonia, he must tell her it was a generous gift from him, not bought! Well, the world is small and planning such an excuse could save me problems!

When a man is going well, running out of time seems somehow faster and so it happened that I was going back to Dover before I knew it, I travelled to the ferry and I made it that dinner in Calais. On Sunday 15 May I certainly drove the fastest tractor in England, and probably also in the UK.

I am not surprised by the fact that they picked me up in British customs, because I drove into the box "something to declare," such was my speed.

"You were in the United Kingdom for pleasure or for business?" said a man in uniform (the usual question).

"Well, Id say both, I was at the National Glass Fair near Solihull," It is never sensible to lie to customs officials.

"Oh, OK," "What's that?" the man pointed to a package wrapped in bubbles.

"This? This is my beautiful Velíšková!" I extracted the package and showed him the "kangaroo" vase showing the colours and shape against the light.

"Well, tell me, isn't this amazing?" I asked him sincerely. He smiled. A smile combining a little compassion, a pinch of understanding, combined with a hint of ironic smile of regret. I know what the man thought, "Poor thing, at first glance looked quite normal, and really he is an unfortunate glass crazy fool ..."

"So long and happy journey!" he said as he waved me on to the boat.
"Goodbye, my friend, I think to myself as I go, I am nearly a quarter of an Englishman!"

This article was written by Jindrich Parik and first appeared on his his website: www.cs-sklo.cz

The Czech to English translation of the original article was written by Robert Bevan-Jones, British glass collector and expert on Skrdlovice glass.


Visit Jindrich's Picassa gallery to view various images taken on the day of his visit to the May 2011 glass fair: http://tiny.cc/ct0de


Loch, Heather & Peat: Domhnall O’Broin & Caithness Glass

Book Cover: Caithness Glass – Loch, Heather and Peat by Mark Hill
Caithness Glass – Loch, Heather and Peat by Mark Hill

This travelling exhibition was launched at Broadfield House Glass museum and celebrates the 50th anniversary of Caithness Glass. The main aim of the exhibition is to highlight the work of the company's first designer, Domhnall ÓBroin.

Domhnall's designs and colour ranges were inspired by the local landscape of the remote north of Scotland. The exhibition also features Caithness Glass ranges by later designers, including Colin Terris, Helen MacDonald, Alastair MacIntosh and Gordon Hendry. The exhibition features 270 exhibits and all of the glass is on loan from the Graham Cooley Collection.

After enjoying a great deal of success at Broadfield House Glass Museum, the exhibition has now moved on to the Perth Museum & Art Gallery, where it will be on show from 7 May until 1 October 2011.

Caithness Glass – Loch, Heather and Peat

The exhibition is accompanied by a 'bookalogue' written by celebrity antiques expert Mark Hill. 'Caithness Glass: Loch, Heather and Peat' features 200 specially commissioned full colour photographs, and is the first publication to bring together and examine the Scandinavian inspired designs produced by Caithness Glass in 1960s & 70s.

Details of all Mark’s books can be found at www.markhillpublishing.co.uk.


Classic Paperweights from Silesia/Bohemia

Classic Paperweights from Silesia/Bohemia: Book Cover
Classic Paperweights from
Silesia/Bohemia: Book Cover

weights-n-things, regular exhibitors at the National Glass Fair and Cambridge Glass Fair, have just published an important new book that will be of great interest to collectors of antique paperweights.

"Classic Paperweights from Silesia/Bohemia" is the second book written by German author Peter von Brackel. The initial run is available only in English and this has been adapted by Ian Cummings (one of the owners of weights-n-things).

The new book is an in-depth study of classic mid-19th century paperweights from the border region between Silesia and Bohemia. For years, any paperweight that could not be attributed with any certainty to a particular glassworks tended to be labelled "Bohemian" - which virtually became a generic term covering everything! The author of this book has grouped the illustrated paperweights into categories and - for the first time - has attributed many of them (if not all) to specific glassworks.

The author makes a clear distinction between paperweights made in Silesian glassworks, such as Karlsthal and the Josephinenhuette (probably the most prolific producer, and those from Bohemia - meaning mainly Harrach and the Egermann workshop in Haida.

The 340-page book is well illustrated with approximately 600 pictures of paperweights and some 2,800 images of millefiori canes.

You can read a review of this book in the Glass Archive section of this Website. The review was written by John Simmonds - the author of "Paperweights from Great Britain 1930-2000" - and was first published in the Paperweight Collectors Circle Newsletter No 104, November 2010.

 


Book Launch

Blue Henry: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Blue Glass Sputum Flask

Blue Henry: Book Cover
Blue Henry: Book Cover

The Deadly Secret of Grandfather's Blue Bottle.

We are pleased to announce that the November 2010 National Glass Fair hosted the launch of Ivo Haanstra's new book: "Blue Henry: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Blue Glass Sputum Flask".

Ivo first started collecting glass in 1985 and one of his first purchases was a sputum flask. Ever since he has been fascinated with these curious glass objects and his research has culminated in an interesting book that traces the origin of the glass sputum flask and the role it played in arresting the pandemic of tuberculosis that gripped the world up until the 1950s.

The book is heavily illustrated - with over 170 images - and features images of original flasks, vintage photos and illustrations of original patents, as well as images of posters, stamps and other ephemera.

For more information visit: www.cortex-design.co.uk & www.bluehenry.co.uk

 


The Rise of 20th Century British Glass

New Glass Archive Article by Nigel Benson.

A commemorative sugar and cream by Henry Greener & Co.The latest addition to our Glass Archive is an interesting article that details the rise in popularity of 20th century British glass amongst glass collectors.

The article also looks at some of the most influential glass companies and designers from this period: including Monart, Gray-Stan, James Powell, Stuart & Sons, Thomas Webb, Webb Corbett and Stevens & Williams, Keith Murray and Clyne Farquharson.

Click Here to read the article.

 


20th Century British Glass by Charles R. Hajdamach

20th Century British Glass by Charles R. Hajdamach.
20th Century British Glass
by Charles R. Hajdamach

In addition to the vast array of glass available at our November 2009 glass fair, Charles Hajdamach was in attendance to promote the launch of what promises to be the most comprehensive guide to 20th century British glass.

The book covers everything from Art Nouveau and Art Deco
masterpieces through to engraved glass, cameo glass, paperweights and even the now much ignored Pyrex ovenware.

Chapters focus on the effects of both World Wars and there are special features looking at significant designers such as Keith Murray.

Major exhibitions, including The Festival of Britain (1951), are
fully discussed and biographical sections look at post-war designers,
including Geoffrey Baxter, Ronald Stennett-Willson and Frank
Thrower.

Armed with this book the beginner, the collector, the
museum curator, the designer and the social historian will have an
indispensable and complete guide to a fascinating period of British
glass making. Budding new collectors of 20th century glass will also find the book extremely helpful, as it will help them to easily spot important pieces of glass that might be found at antique fairs and in charity shops.

20th Century British Glass (ISBN: 1851495878 ) is illustrated with over 900 superb photographs, including previously unpublished catalogues and images from important public and private collections.

Charles' book is available for sale at Broadfield House Glass Museum, as well as various high street and online shops: RRP £49.50

You can also read more about Charles Hajdamach and his previous publications on his Website: www.hajdamach.com