Author Topic: Who are the important British Domestic Glass designers of the 20th century?  (Read 23418 times)

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Offline nigel benson

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Can I suggest that you complement your exhibitions with a permanent set of web pages, illustrating everything in the exhibition with good sized images... you could start it towards the end of the exhibition perhaps?
 :)

Whilst I understand the logic behind this Frank, might it not reduce the need to visit the exhibition? Great if you are unable to visit if you live too far away, but possibly a little self-defeating if your aim is to get footfall? I do recognise the need for online resources, but in my opinion there is no substitute for seeing the three-dimensional item wherever possible. Maybe something that achieves a result for both terrestial and internet visitors, or even a comprehensive catalogue? 

I was away when this thread was started and discussed I'm afraid. Whilst there are indeed a number of helpful suggestions for Stephen to consider it leaves me with the over-riding feeling that the initial question has not been answered (or if it has, it is not coherent).  Many ideas have been introduced, but without seemingly considering what the motivator behind this project (Stephen) wants to achieve. Moreover, has anyone considered the budget that might be available or the space that has been given over for the time being? Lets be realistic, neither are likely to be, lets say, along the lines of having access to lottery money, after all everyone has a budget and only so much space available. I would therefore urge people to be sympathetic to the question posed and the posibilities available in order that we can give what little help we can to this project.

Lastly, and I am sorry Frank, as it was your comment about Domhnall O'Broin that made me wonder...............if an Irish designer who created the first ranges for Caithness in the mid 60's is out, then I suppose a family of Spanish glassblowers, who also worked in Scotland, might also be out? ;) :( ;)

I genuinely think if this thread is going to continue then perhaps more thought (maybe even answers to questions) is/are necessary to help give the information that is needed by Stephen for his museum, to whom I wish much success.

Nigel


Offline Frank

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Fully support your comments Nigel.

The web site suggestion was intended to be for exhibitions, that I assumed to be temporary.

The dilemma of nationality is of course a major one as you illustrate, glass folk had such itchy feet and it makes it very difficult to approach such a list when the question is ambiguous - my first post and those of subsequent posters were looking for a criteria that made it clear. As you can see we went all over the place.

Trying to build something more wide-ranging here, does not leave non-British members feeling left out, and would certainly be helpful in the short term for the original quest and also long term for our community in general. But it needs someone to keep it alive... I am too busy now.
Frank A.
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Offline nigel benson

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Hello again,

I'm afraid I didn't see the question  "Who are the important British Domestic Glass designers of the 20th century?" as ambiguous, more a question of how long , or how short the list should or could be.

By contributing clearly to a list any names that a contributor interprets as being necessary to include on the list, Stephen could then tailor his requirements within the list that might be achieved (whilst also factoring in his budget and being aware of the space available). The latter can only be known to him and therefore our contribution would be to provide names that maybe suitable. I don't believe that we really need to know the parameters, since the question is fairly straightforward - please add to this basic list/requirement.

Indeed, having curated several exhibitions myself, I am only too aware that the parameters can reveal themselves once the bulk of the information has been collected. It is this information that can be a guide toward something that will, hopefully, be effective. It also allows one to think through what is and isn't necessary for a given project - in this case a Museum of British Domestic Glass.

Influences from other countries, whilst totally valid, can be dealt with on information boards and by using photographs. In other words, an awareness may well be necessary, but the items don't have to be included. As long as folks make this clear when they suggest names then the "criteria" previosly mentioned can all but look after itself.

As for anyone feeling left out of a thread because their interest is within another branch of glass collecting, or because they live abroad ............ surely it is not necessary to comment on everything that goes through these boards? Folks only need to read the thread in order to be included. I know of a number of people who read these boards, but refrain from making comment, and I am sure there are many more throughout the world that enjoy and learn from just this experience of the board.

Personally, I find that when I am able to check out the GMB, I only feel it necessary to comment when I believe I am adding to a debate, or, maybe, when I wish to help with the identity of an item. Of course we ALL learn from these boards, although, sometimes I feel a thread can be interupted by contributions that are best aired through the Cafe since the flow can be lost. Oh! ...... and I am aware that I'm guilty of this as I write, but I hope on this occasion for good reason :)

I did use the word exhibition in my previous post to mean the temporary exhibitions that may occur from time-to-time at the museum, however on re-reading I see that it could well be read in two ways - sorry about that. The point I made about footfall is as valid for the museum as a whole as it was concerning those temporary exhibitions. Furthermore, if people get the idea that they can see the temporary exhibition in the comfort of their own home if they only wait then I would suggest it is even more valid. It may lead to a very active online museum, but it could well lead to a very empty real museum :(

Anyway folks, how about a straightforward list of possible designers whose items (or influences) could be used to illustrate a Museum of British Domestic Glass?

Nigel


Offline Frank

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So only designers that are native British? And by domestic glass one assumes that covers oven and table ware, food containers, bottles but to exclude vases and ornamental glass? Do we also exclude decoration designers?
Frank A.
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Offline Frank

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1. Q.V.F. (Subsidiary of Joblings) Pyrex waste line and sink traps 1950's (Installation Nottingham University)

2. George B. Ritchie. Assistant designer, Jobling's 1956-?.

1 & 2 source Mixed Batch 1958.

3. Crystalware Limited, designed domestic glass ranges of 1950 standards. (PG Advert Jan 1950)
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Offline Frank

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From British Glass Betwen the Wars - Drinkware, tableware. Excluded decorative. n.b. Nationality not indicated.

4. H.J. Powell  (BGBtW p53)
5. Gordon Russell  (BGBtW p54) knighthood in 1955 for services to design.
6. Walter Gilbert  (BGBtW p66)
7. Clyne Farquharson  (BGBtW p67)
8. Alexander H. Williamson  (BGBtW p79)
9. Reginald Gooden  (BGBtW p81)
10. Raymond McGrath with Elizabeth Craig  (BGBtW p82)
11. Homery Folkes  (BGBtW p87)
12. Ernest Procter  (BGBtW p93)
13. Dod Procter  (BGBtW p93)
14. Laura Knight  (BGBtW p94)
15. Eric Ravilious  (BGBtW p94)
16. Gordon Forsyth  (BGBtW p95)
17. Paul Nash  (BGBtW p96)
18. Herbert Webb (BGBtW p100)
19. Keith Murray  (BGBtW p89+ p102)
20. W J Wilson  (BGBtW p102)

What about glass designed by companies like Jules Lang and Clayton Mayers, who had the glass made overseas?
Of course, only Keith Murray was mentioned as an 'important designer' but then important is a somewhat vague term as it is often a value judgement. Perhaps he was inspired by Dod and Ernest Procter which presumably would make them important. FOOTNOTE - No chance, they were painters so probably only decorated the pieces in the Harrods Exhibition.

I potentially regard Raymond McGrath and his collaboration with Elizabeth Craig to be of great importance as his products might prove to be amongst the most commonly used and made in the largest volumes - but also because this was a collaboration of an end user and designer. FOOTNOTE Except he was an Australian  ::)
Frank A.
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Offline aa

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I think it would be a good idea to define what is meant by "domestic glass" in this context. Maybe Stephen should elucidate!

In one of Frank's posts above, he seemed to be suggesting that for the purpose of this discussion a vase is not "domestic", but that bottles are. So would that be wine bottles or bleach bottles? And perfume bottles, or is perfume not domestic?  Is there a difference between a perfume bottle that is used for packaging perfume, which may or may not be decorative depending on the imagination of the manufacturer of the perfume, coupled with the profile of the target market, and a perfume bottle that is designed to be used for decanting perfume or would that be decorative and therefore non-domestic?

Also, if we are to exclude decorative designers, should we also disregard domestic glass that is too decorative, or that has decorative qualities?

What about that 20th century icon, the ashtray? Is there a distinction between a domestic ashtray and a non-domestic one - ie, one produced say for pubs and restaurants?

Not entirely tongue-in cheek......

;) :) ;D

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Offline Frank

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Not entirely tongue-in cheek......

Tut Adam! Nigel said it was an unambiguous question so we should accept that is the case and thus it relates to native designers of glassware designed for use in the home. That does, I suppose, answer my question about glass made abroad and with a company as the designer - clearly included as only designer nationality is stipulated.

Non-domestic ashtrays, ie advertising, hotel and bar ware, are excluded, my list did include at least one ashtray designer!

Perfumes are in my opinion mostly giftware, so excluded - who decants in this day and age when the container is of more importance than the contents! Yet in the past people could have taken their own suite of bottles to the perfumier for filling. Of course if perfumes are felt to be in we can include some Caithness designers - who are currently excluded.

Wine bottles are included in bottles and food containers, but while I can probably think of decoration designers finding who were the designers of bottles will be impossible. I would expect that the majority of domestic glassware, at least Post WW2, is designed by packaging companies design department. Advertising agencies are also designers of domestic packaging too but it can be almost impossible to work out who did what - unless, presumably, you trawl through archives of Packaging and Advertising trade journals.

Mostly only the designers of 'show pieces' or glass made for collectors are ever taken notice of - so it is good that an effort is being made to uncover the people and organisations that made the glass useable.

I still think that it would be beneficial to include non-Brits here - even if that goes beyond Stephens needs - due to the wide community we serve and also because many important design innovations were made by non-British nationals. It is also not always easy to determine the nationality of an individual as usually it is not a part of a mention of their name as designer. While Australian McGrath may have been an important designer of British Pyrex, there are many Pyrex designs that are American designs.
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Offline nigel benson

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Hello,

"Nigel said it was an unambiguous question "

No, Frank I did not.

I said that I did not find it so. A little accuracy please.

I have proferred a few thoughts that I believed might help, sadly they appear not to have done :(. Never mind, let us wait for Stephen to pop by.

Nigel


PS. The group of us who went to help at the Museum yesterday felt the day was well spent and had a very enjoyable time handling and discussing the exhibits in the Nazeing room whilst giving the Nazeing collection a bit of an overhaul. Quite a privilege! I hope it was a help to Stephen.



Offline Frank

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Quite a privilege!

Indeed, lucky you!

As to the other, so you do think it is ambiguous? Confused  :huh:

Can anyone else add more names? The list as is, is almost empty of pre WW1 and poor after WW11
Frank A.
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