Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. > British & Irish Glass

Molineaux, Webb - Recent Find

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popsmcchicken:
Hi All,

Though you might be interested in my latest find.  I know I'm excited!

From what I have read, the original set was sold as mix-and-match pieces to a Posey Vase display; but, they ended up being used by most people simply as a table decoration.
 
The connecting pieces are 8 3/4" in length, 1 7/8" high and 1 7/8" wide.  The Castles are 3 1/8" square.  The overall display, as I have it displayed, measures 27" long and 12 3/4" deep.  Every piece is marked with Rd 29780, which was assigned to Molineaux, Webb in July, 1885.

http://tinypic.com/bgyyok.jpg

Any other info would be much appreciate.

Pops

Max:
Hello Pops.   :D

I can't add anything I'm afraid, but what an interesting vintage piece of glass you're bought!  It looks like it'll have an interesting story behind it, eh?  :D

Bernard C:
Pops — I have a theory about this interesting set that it was inspired by General Charles Gordon's death at the end of the siege of Khartoum, capital of Sudan, on January 26, 1885.   This was a period of world stability, so the news from Sudan attracted great interest, and Gordon became a national hero.

I usually find national heroes rather difficult to take, but Gordon seems to be an exception, as, while he was Administrator of Sudan, 1874–1880, he was instrumental in ending the slave trade in the country.

Whatever the actual history of this set, it would have been a poor marketing or sales executive who did not play the Gordon / Khartoum card to its fullest extent.   You can imagine father and son on a Sunday afternoon spreading a sandy coloured cloth over the dining table and carefully setting out the fortifications.   Then adding all the brightly painted cast lead actors – dozens of British soldiers, Arabs, palm trees, wells, Whirling Dervishes, camels, horses, field guns (which actually fired), a field hospital, etc., etc.   "My turn to be General Gordon, Dad, and I'm going to win today."

I have only one piece of real evidence for this.    The frequency with which odd pieces of this set turn up, usually badly chipped.   Presumably from the family toy box.   I am sure that Molineux, Webb & Co. made a small fortune over many years from this inspired product.

Sets like yours in superb condition are quite scarce.   It looks to me as if just one fort from the original layout is missing, so your set was probably only used as a table decoration.   It should not be too difficult to obtain a replacement fort — singles come up fairly frequently on eBay.   Is yours the flint or opalescent version?   I cannot tell from your photograph.

Finally, we celebrated my partner Janet's birthday, May 2nd this year, at the excellent open air Africa Arab restaurant, just a short walk from the Nile ferry on the west bank at Luxor.   It is run by Ali, a good friend of my daughter, and a lovely gentleman.   Purely by coincidence two other birthdays were being celebrated there that evening.   One was a lady who was born on the same day as Janet; the other was a slightly younger family who had asked Ali to arrange the local folk band to entertain them.    So tables were cleared away in front of the band, and eventually, well after the band had warmed up, a real Whirling Dervish arrived, kitted himself up with the detachable skirt and, boy, did he whirl.   Wonderful.   Audience participation was obligatory, so yours truly took part in an enthusiastic stick dance (very badly I hasten to add).

A great and unforgettable evening.   So I have been there, experienced the real thing, and, therefore, all this must be true.

Bernard C.  8)

popsmcchicken:
Bernard, you are simply amazing!  Whether or not your theory is correct, that is a great story.  The color is French (clear) opalescent.  I am attaching another pic, a close-up of one of the Castles, so that you can better see the color.  The condition, although not perfect, is admirable.  There are only two of the connecting pieces, and one castle, that has any damage at all.  The two connecting pieces have one, very minor, flake each and an approximately 1/8" chip off the top of one of the, for lack of a better word, posts.  The castle has one brick that has been chipped off.  Where would the other Castle be positioned in the set?  I have also seen a round piece, that basically looks like a donut.  Do you know if that is also part of the set?  I think it would look neat in the middle of the display, sort of like a mote with a Castle sitting inside.

http://tinypic.com/bhak3t.jpg

Glen:
Pops, Steve and I have a number of pieces in the set - and they are opalescent like yours. We have picked them up over time, but have never actually assembled them altogether! They are wonderfully versatile and can, of course, be put together in several different ways.

I think your set is truly magnificent. Congratulations - it looks superb.  :lol:

Glen

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