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Founded in circa 1858,using two factories in the North of England, Burtles, Tate & Co. quickly established themselves as the third ranking glass factory of importance to Molineaux,Webb and Co,and John Derbyshire, using press molded glass techniques of the period.
Their far fewer free-blown glassworks utilised glass molds in order to add shapes,forms & styling to the items,however the production of these items was very limited and as such they are particularly scarce and very rare.
Of the two factories established by Burtles,Tate Co. one in Poland Street, Manchester and one in Bolton,the Bolton glass-works closed early in 1887,in order that a second factory in German Street,Manchester could operate simultaneously together,and it was at this second Manchester based factory that this exceptional item was produced,no later than circa 1888.
It is a documented and recorded item of historical importance,which can be noted for reference in the definitive publication 'Victorian Decorative Designs' by Mervyn Gulliver pg 277.
Only the press molded glass by Burtles,Tate & Co., can often be found to carry a molded maker mark. None of their free-blown items were ever signed,as it is thought that all such items were not intended as mass marketed sale items and so those which were produced are far & few between and entirely unique. Several of these free-blown & molded glass epergnes were large, three to five flute examples, whilst others are known to be barely 6 inches high and produced as one piece,which caused them to be very fragile for any purpose except as decorative one-off items.
At 10 inches high,this is a large known example,and its bowl section is none the less as impressive with a diameter of 6.5 inches. Ever more impressive is the condition of this rarity and its survival as being complete is unrivaled.
It is after all said, at the very least 124 years old.
This 2 piece glass center piece epergne has a quality of luxurious opulence seldom seen,and is most probably perhaps an early staged glass colour development of which Burtles, Tate & Co. created to be used for their molded glass, however it was never again produced in this combination/variation, and so once again this piece is unique with each and every aspect,but then again,such is the beauty and the diversity and the collective appeal of English Victorian glass of this period,for many hundreds of colour varieties,came and disappeared again (quite literally overnight)to be quickly replaced by the next. More glass-colour-types were developed by the English Victorian factories (and their master workers) than at any other time throughout glass working history.
Here,we have opaque white as a base batch colour, which of course provides the perfect background for any other chosen colour-type to be introduced, to display its clarity, which in this instance is `Persian Green,' a wonderful colour which is equivalent to that of `Spearmint'. The entire then encased with pure crystal.
The same working team of master glass workers would have produced both of the two separate pieces,in order that both colour matched and were at harmony with one another and symmetrical to each. The only mold, as used to create this amazing piece, would have been to frill the top of the bowl and its accompanying trumpet form central flute. All other elements have been mouth-blown and tooled by hand.
The round pedestal foot & stem of the bowl,affords a wonderful optical illusion to this epergne. It is as if the trumpet flute,is a vase, which in some way, `fits through a hole' of the bowl itself,however it is the cleverness and the skill of the Persian Green glass inclusions which provide this piece with the above dramatics that it presents. The bowl just appears to be hovering, upon "a stem of a vase" and yet it is not.
The un-named individuals who produced these two separate glass items,were unquestionably highly skilled at their craft, however there were also the `non-mentioned heroes' who were required to grind the peg of the glass trumpet flute, to fit into its bowl if ever it was to stand vertical and upright. Mechanical wheels or diamond-coated grinding discs were long as yet to be invented when this piece was produced, and even with these modern-day developments, the grinding of glass is just as challenging as it is to work with in its molten state. The glass grinders of yester-years were termed as 'stopperers' and their skills to fit decanter stoppers into their bottles and/or perfume bottles for example,made the difference between successes or the complete failure to a finished piece. Many 'stopperers' were paid more wages,than the glass-blowers!
Grinding and/or polishing glass is labour intensive,and costly and very highly skilled,which brings me now,to the pegged-trumpet part of this two piece epergne,and it is an incredible item of combined workmanship,all of its own.
The precision of a glass blower, to ensure that the locating hole for the flute is central,internally smooth & flat and upon perfect axis, is vital and crucial,if any peg is to fit,much the same for a perfume bottle or the neck of a decanter for example. Any amount of deviation and then the `stopperer' is fighting a losing battle! And even more so over 100 years ago...
It would take me several pages to totally explain how one goes about creating a pegged type plug/stopper and the working methods and the process involved, however as can be noted upon this amazing epergne,it has been produced with a precision and incredible perfection...
The entire of this piece is in pristine & mint condition, save for the tiniest of 'nicks' to the peg of the flute as are shown.
...This is one English Victorian glass epergne,which commands the attention of the connoisseur and the discerning collector of historical glass and of major importance alike. It's a gem of piece for you collection, particularly at this ridiculously low price.
Total height: 10 inches Flute length: 8.25 inches Flue top diameter: 4 inches Bowl diameter: 6.5 inches Bowl height: 4 inches Foot Diameter: 3 inches - unground pontil mark to center base Postage weight: *2k 300gms *Postage Discounts are available for this item to overseas (outside of Europe) by request)
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