Original English Victorian Cased Crystal Opal / Opalescent Glass Vase. Stourbridge, England pre - 1900s.


That this vase was produced at Stourbridge, England, and prior to c1990, is unquestionable, however to pinpoint the factory maker with certain accuracy has been an on-going challenge of which has no certainty.

Either one of four contenders could have produced this piece: Boulton & Mills, Richardson's, Stevens & Williams or Thomas Webb, all of which inarguably produced the very finest of free blown glass of its era, anywhere in the world.

Throughout England, all glass workers & factories referred to this glass colour type as `Opal' whereas throughout the rest of Europe and including USA, it was named as `Opalescent' and is the term that is used today.

The obvious characteristic of this particular piece is the uniformed use of opalescent glass throughout. There is no colour graduation, which is more often seen upon these exquisite decorative items of Victoriana glass.

This glass type therefore, in English terms is: Cased Crystal over Opal, and was a glass-type much favoured and used more so by Boulton & Mills, at their glassworks in Audnam, than other factories of the period.

The above however is where this association can stop, for the shape formation of this vase points towards Thomas Webb. To add ever more confusion, the hollow ribbed stem of this piece, is a characteristic much used by Stevens & Williams, particularly their vases during the time and date. If that is not enough to add even more questionable attribution, Richardson's also produced their own variety of Cased Crystal over Opal, and as none of these factories signed or marked these vase styles, this piece like so many other vases that were produced at Stourbridge in the glory-days of English glass making, will perhaps never become accurately attributed to one factory in particular.

Value wise, this makes little difference, and one cannot question the beauty of this vase, but historically and in collective terms, it makes all of the difference in the world...

...One of the most enjoyable and of course also the derived pleasure of collecting almost anything, is to be able to accurately identify a piece, no matter what it is that we each desire to collect. I can therefore only provide you in this instance, with four steering-pointers which I am sure will keep you as busy as they kept me, to establish just which English factory produced this enchanting vase, over one hundred years ago.

What I am able to add, is of course the condition of the vase, and the working methods that were used to produce it...

Firstly the condition of the vase is MINT and as can be always seen within the photographs of any of my shop items, any defects or damage is shown and then described if at all present. I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain by any acts of dishonesty with any of my items ad what you can SEE, is what shall get, which in the case of this vase is quality-sublime...

One of the most surprising things to most people, is the speed with which it can take to produce an amazing glass vase such as this, for in less than five minutes, from start to finish, this vase would have been formed as it is now presented. Five minutes in the making, but many years of precise working knowledge, which cannot be taught or bought, but must be learnt.

A working team of two people produced this piece. The master glass blower himself and his co-worker glass `gatherer.' The first procedure is to blow and to shape the body form of the vase, stretching the molten glass into its trumpet-shaped form, from its top. Keeping the vase on axis is vital at this stage if a foot is then required to be added.

Working quickly, the `gatherer' would then apply a gather of glass crucially centralized to the lower stem of the vase. This gather of glass can be likened in shape to a standard sized `egg-cup.' Only the glass blower will know if the glass is at the correct temperature, before turning/spinning out the foot, which is most challenging procedure of all. He may return the entire piece into the furnace, rotating it so that no shape is lost and in order that uniformity of heat is again present.

Returning to his `chair' and by rolling the glass backwards & forwards to HIS satisfaction of working requirement, a reaming tool (made from wood or from brass) could then be inserted into the `egg-cup' shaped piece of glass and quickly flanged outwards so as to form a completely flat, round, supporting foot for the vase, proportionate to its size...

...standing again and at the ready, the `gather' once again would attach a small amount of glass using the `ponty rod' with the same degree of centrally placed precision so that the glass blower was able to articulate the top pattern formation. To do this, the vase would normally be required to be brought up to a working temperature by placing it back into the furnace, unless the glass blower himself had quickly removed the blowing pipe with shears. Even so, back into the furnace the vase would go, to heat the top again to make it controllable upon this working area alone.

The Jack In The Pulpit top shape & style, would quickly be controlled using gravity, and shaped into place where required using a pair of tweezers, whilst also quickly and precisely pinching the glass to pattern it with a frill, of complete uniformed depth & spacing... Job done, the `ponty rod' would be snapped off and straight into the annealing oven the vase would go for as long as 24 hours to gradually cool into the marvellous piece that we can still admire today...

... Five minutes in the making, and over one hundred years later, still as vibrantly alive as the moment that this sensational piece of historical glass was created...

How incredible that is, when you truly think about it? It is no small wonder, as to why glass of antiquity is so greatly admired by those of us who do...

The condition of this enchanting vase is close to mint. There are no chips or cracks, however as can be seen from my photographs, a tiny burst surface bubble is present. It is mentioned here and shown for accuracy of description purposes and as can also be seen is barely noticeable at all, until the vase is held up into a light source. This is a very small detraction for such a beautiful example of original Victoriana, and is a worthy addition to my shop for your collection...

Height: 5.75 inches Top diameter: 3 inches Foot diameter: 2.5 inches Polished pontil to foot center Postage weight: 1k 100gms

Item ID: JJ669

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