Hmm, let me see, what has Geoff said?
Apparently, he is in disagreement with my opinion about Ruth's jug. That is perfectly OK. After all, I have been at pains to make it clear that it is only my opinion. Yet there are also a number of claims about Nazeing glass, and about the ex-glass blower from Nazeing.
For those who might be interested, below I discuss Geoff’s posting. I should get yourself a favourite drink and a comfy seat before you start :shock:
When I approached the glass blower who Geoff mentions I knew full well that he had only been employed by Nazeing after the war, since I had been told that by both Geoff and Stephen Pollock-Hill.
Therefore, I took no known and attributable 1930’s Nazeing glass with me. I repeat no known 1930’s Nazeing glass. After all, why bother, since he was only young when he began employment at Nazeing and was therefore extremely unlikely to have any knowledge of the pre-war production.
What I did do was take approximately sixteen pieces of the glass that had a question mark about them, in my opinion. Within these I randomly placed three known and attributable pieces of post-war production – as now illustrated in Geoff’s book. The ex-blower not only identified each piece of known Nazeing immediately when they appeared, he also gave reasons why each of the suspect pieces were, in his opinion, NOT Nazeing. These reasons ranged from a number of technical ones, including a discussion about the enamels used, through to the construction of various pieces and the colour of the metals used in the various pieces. He also stated categorically that the pieces with broken pontils were NOT Nazeing.
On return from this meeting I discussed what was said with Geoff. We both agreed that a blower might not necessarily know how a piece would leave the factory. We should therefore discount the broken pontil ‘theory’ – especially since Geoff had been told that Elwell’s had accepted unfinished pieces by other sources. Indeed they made a virtue of them, because it made the pieces look older than they actually were. It is quite possible that the ex-blower was making assumptions that all pieces had their broken pontil polished over.
I found the gentlemen both lucid and helpful; maybe you discounted his opinion because you took the wrong things with you Geoff? Maybe it was purely a matter of rapour? Who knows? I can report, from notes I made at the time, your surprise at the success of my visit and that you had discounted this gentleman somewhat earlier in your research.
All I can do is report my findings, which left enough room for doubt about a complete range of items that to this date have no documentary evidence that they are actually by the Nazeing company. That is to say there were and are no known illustrations or line drawings, either in the factory’s records, or in contemporary publications, that have come to light confirming the authenticity of the pieces in question. Nor has there been an arguement to convince me of their definate connection to the company. Similarity is not enough.
I generally find that if there are three or more characteristics that say that something might not be what you hope/imagine/claim, then it is not that thing. On the the other hand if you find three or more characteristics that say that an item is (in this case Nazeing) then in all probability it is. I formulated this rule of thumb from experience and, when applied objectively, it has stood me in good stead.
Personally, I prefer to err on the side of caution before arriving at a conclusion, however, you the reader, are entitled to your own opinion, which I have said repeatedly when this subject has been aired on these boards (see another thread, “Nazeing basket?” dated 12 April 2005 – sorry I don’t know how to do the link thing. Perhaps someone else would be kind enough?).
I am also aware that one person’s word cannot be accurately used to document or confirm information from a bygone period. It is correct to use a minimum or two sources, three being preferable. It is for this reason that I do not categorically claim that these questionable pieces are not Nazeing and only flag it up as my thoughts on the subject. Hopefully any ensuing discussion might be relevant and indeed helpful – who knows someone out there may unknowingly hold the key and make entry!
I need to turn attention to the idea that the jug that started this thread bears direct resemblance to either the 1000/10 Water Lily vase that Geoff sights or the pre-war jugs that were included in the exhibition.
I am grateful to Geoff for pointing out the resemblance in form of both the exhibition jugs and the Water Lily jug, but I take issue with the idea that they are just different versions of the jug that started this thread. I seriously doubt whether Nazeing would claim that the shapes in question are one and the same.
Sadly, I do not have the means to take a photo, let alone put it onto the thread, so I’m afraid that the people who are reading and do not have a copy of Geoff’s book will have to put up with my descriptions.
Both the jugs in the exhibition and the Water Lily piece are basically of shaft and globe form, with adjustments. The bottom ‘half’ in each case is spherical, or globular. This runs up into a broadly cylindrical top ‘half’, with a handle attached. In each case it is looped up from the centre of the globular base curving up to the rim of the body where it is attached by flattening just below the rim.
In the case of the Water Lily piece the neck flows from the body in a continuous curvatious way, flaring outwards to the rim. The bottom of the handle is attached centrally to the bulbous body of the jug with a thickened end and is top attached just below the rim, taking a broad curving loop as its form.
Of the two jugs in the exhibition. One is May Green and has a typical pre-war pontil. Its handle, which is transparent blue, was attached to the body with a large ’pad’ which tapers until as a uniform thread it travels upward. It pushes slightly outward as it goes up, then curves over before being flattened where it attaches just below the rim. In other words a well executed, workmanlike piece of glass making. Although the shape is unrecorded, all the characteristics of the piece indicate it to be pre-war Nazeing, and, as Geoff has unwittingly indicated, it strongly resembles the Water Lily 1000/10 shape.
The second jug was white with a clear handle and could fairly be said to be the same shape as the May Green with transparent blue handle. Both pieces conform to a number of known characteristics of Nazeing – hence their inclusion in the exhibition, along with a large number of items with undocumented shapes and/or colours.
To my mind the resemblance between the shape of Ruth’s jug and the three I have described is only passing. Yes, agreed they are all jugs, and two are cloudy green. Of these two, one can be directly attributed as by Nazeing because of the number of characteristics that anchor it to the factory. Ruth’s piece, however is not finished in the same way, nor is the enamel used in the same way. Ruth’s jug is broadly speaking a cylinder with an elongated waist, having a clear handle placed on the side finishing well below the rim. The shape is unrecorded and does not resemble the Water Lily 1000/10, although there is a resemblance to Nazeing, since it conforms to the ‘cloudy’ technique. There is therefore reason to question its origin.
In my opinion you are not comparing like with like, Geoff. Indeed you are even making assumptions about the ability of the Nazeing glass blowers to produce the same shape time after time. I find this strange since the known and documented pieces that have been recorded to date are all consistent in their production and comply with the records that you have published. To suggest that Ruth’s piece is acceptable as the same shape because it is hand made and we should allow for inaccuracies by the blowers is a statement that I find astonishing.
It is strange how little (countable on one hand) known and fully attributable Nazeing turns up with a broken pontil – despite the assertion that Elwell took so much of it away. Of course it is always possible that much of what I have suspicion about could be the Elwell range that is discussed in the book, but as yet there is no critical proof, one way or the other. Oh, we’re back to where we started! You pay your money and you take your choice
Lastly, just as when Frank tried to tempt me to publish my research, in a previous thread, before I am ready, I shall decline your challenge – but wait a minute, I think you’ve made me say much more than I planned!
Phew, am I glad that’s done!! Sorry to have hijacked your thread Ruth
. Where’s that large dram.
Kind regards to all, Nigel
© Nigel Benson 12 September 2005