Author Topic: Mini "basket-weight" + discussion on other makers of "Old English" items  (Read 992 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nicholas.

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Male
  • nicholaschwartz@gmail.com
Mod: The title of this thread has been amended to reflect the general discussion on attribution of "Old English" paperweights. This seems better than splitting the thread into separate discussions for each item shown.

I’ve recently bought this miniature “basket-weight” and, although I’ve some ideas of my own as to whom may have made it, I’d be grateful for the opinions of any collectors who might have come across anything with similarities that might throw some light onto this weight's origin.
[The height of the weight is 2 1/2in.]
Nicholas  
Nicholas


Offline tropdevin

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 2052
  • Gender: Male
    • Paperweights
    • England
    • My Paperweights Website
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 09:17:07 AM »
***

Hi Nicholas.

This interesting little weight was sold recently at an auction house not too far from where I live. I put in a bid, and as you might imagine, had considered carefully who might have made it.

My conclusion was that it was 'Old English', from an as yet unidentified maker.

There has been a tendency to attribute any decent OE weight to Bacchus, but I am convinced that this is an error, and that there were several factories in the Stourbridge / Birmingham area that produced a number of very high quality paperweights in the late 1840s and 1850s, not just one or two.  Your paperweight has some canes that are vaguely 'of Bacchus style' - but so do various other Old English weights that bear little resemblance to classic Bacchus pieces.

What authors sometimes forget is that there were many, many glass factories in the Midlands at the time paperweights were fashionable.  The factories were run by hard nosed business men - they were not artist's studios. If something was profitable, they were likely to have a go at making it.  They would generate some trade samples, and if the goods were then ordered, produce more of the items.  If the orders did not arrive, they made no more. They also forget that there were many medal winning glass makers who are not recorded as making paperweights - but that is no guarantee that they did not.  And many factories went bankrupt / changed ownership quite regularly, so staff and stock (eg canes) moved around!

Alan


Alan
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  Abraham Lincoln.

The comments in this posting reflect the opinion of the author, Alan Thornton, and not that of the owners, administrators or moderators of this board. Comments are copyright Alan Thornton.
 http://www.pwts.co.uk


Offline Nicholas.

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Male
  • nicholaschwartz@gmail.com
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2011, 03:41:12 PM »
Dear Alan,

Many thanks for that insight. I bought this weight because I'd never had the opportunity of buying an 'Old English' overlay weight, large or small, and indeed had never even seen one in the flesh.

The only examples that I've seen referred to in detail are those to be found both in Hollister and in Dunlop's new book; in both cases listed, rightly or wrongly, as Bacchus.

To date the only 'Old English' overlay weights of which I've been able to find photographs are the white overlay, with the ivy-engraved plaque, and an encased-overlay example (strangely enough with the overlay also cut into a chequered basket), both ex NY Historical Soc. Col. and both attributed to Bacchus. Incidentally, what do you think of the attribution of these two weights?

Do you, or does anyone else, know of any other photographed examples of Old English overlays in order that I may make further comparisons?

I've attached another item for the opinions of members of the Message Board; it appears to be an 'Old English' scent or inkwell. Please tell me what you think.

Nicholas

 
Nicholas


Offline tropdevin

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 2052
  • Gender: Male
    • Paperweights
    • England
    • My Paperweights Website
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2011, 06:10:10 PM »
***

Hi Nicholas.

I agree that Old English overlay paperweights are extremely rare: which is odd, because overlays were used for other products such as vases.

Personally, I treat with great suspicion any attribution of an Old English weight made much before the year 2000. There are plenty of errors around in even the most reputable books - for example, the '1848' dated being treated as genuine, and indicating antique Whitefriars, which is nonsense of course.  And the number of pieces that are 'a unique Bacchus': that suits the man who owns them when he comes to sell them, but is not necessarily correct! Bob Hall's Old English paperweights book is the best around on the subject, but has more than a few errors in it, as well as much unfounded speculation.

I think that the same attribution keeps getting repeated for the ivy-engraved plaque weight. I'm not sure who originated the 'Bacchus' attribution, but Bob Hall said to me once that he thought it was a 'unique' Bacchus because the style / colours / cutting were similar to another Bacchus piece, and that they were copying the Bohemian style. My first thought is 'Why a 'unique' Bacchus, rather than a Bohemian piece?' And I still feel that - the ivy-engraved plaque could well be Bohemian: there are some stunning pieces of the highest quality from that area, which France and England sought to copy.

What I will try and do over the next week or so is bring together some of my thoughts from various articles I have written on OE weights, and produce an illustrated overview document which I will upload as a pdf to my website, so that you and others can download it.

Your bottle is a very nice piece; I have seen it or a very similar item in the past. I don't recall the one I saw as being something one could definitely attribute to Bacchus, but it was a possibility.

Alan
Alan
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  Abraham Lincoln.

The comments in this posting reflect the opinion of the author, Alan Thornton, and not that of the owners, administrators or moderators of this board. Comments are copyright Alan Thornton.
 http://www.pwts.co.uk


Offline Nicholas.

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Male
  • nicholaschwartz@gmail.com
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2011, 06:38:28 PM »
Dear Alan,

I agree that one is wise to err well on the side of caution when making any attribution. Many dealers, writers and collectors have a uncontrollable urge to label everything definitively, even if that involves affixing an incorrect label... which it often does.

The intrinsic value of a good paperweight is not affected by not knowing exactly who made it but I suppose its market value is. However, many of these ill-considered attributions could well be, at least in part, the fault of some collectors, who will not pay good money for an item if it is not presented to them in an easily digested, attributed, form.

Nicholas
Nicholas

Offline Nicholas.

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Male
  • nicholaschwartz@gmail.com
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 07:05:55 PM »
I attach a photograph of a paperweight which I bought as and believe to be by the Richardson Glass Company; although my attribution is based purely on a general impression and not on firm evidence.

Please can anyone point out any definite links between this weight and any known, documented Richardson pieces, if they exist?

The reason for my interest is the similarity in limited palette and types of cane used in this weight to those used in the two pieces that I illustrated earlier in this thread.

There appears to be a common use of cogged-canes of varying complexity, some used as the centres for other canes, a predisposition to combine cherry-red with cobalt blue and the use of aquamarine; this and the remarkable ability of the glassworkers to make objects that, at first glance, appear to be highly sophisticated by the skillful juxtaposition of what in fact are comparatively simple canes.

The more I look at the bottle and the mini basket-weight, the less like Bacchus, early or late, they appear to be, which I find makes them more interesting rather than less!

I would be grateful for the help of fresh eyes in analysing the composition of these set-ups.

Nicholas
Nicholas

Offline tropdevin

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 2052
  • Gender: Male
    • Paperweights
    • England
    • My Paperweights Website
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 09:24:48 PM »
***

Hi Nicholas

I also think your weight is by Richardson. The difficulty with attributing most Old English pieces is the almost complete absence of documentation. We have to work from vague clues.

I am going to try and cover key features of all the makers (as known or suggested) in the article I am writing (though it may turn out to be a short book!). I hope to put it on line within a few weeks.

Alan
Alan
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  Abraham Lincoln.

The comments in this posting reflect the opinion of the author, Alan Thornton, and not that of the owners, administrators or moderators of this board. Comments are copyright Alan Thornton.
 http://www.pwts.co.uk

Offline Nicholas.

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Male
  • nicholaschwartz@gmail.com
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 09:59:33 PM »
Dear Alan,

You can put me down for a copy of your book! I need it!!!

I have question, Alan..... As far as the superb universally accepted Bacchus paperweights are concerned, ruffle canes, shield canes, oak leaves et al., what is their authenticated link to the Bacchus factory? we all describe them as Bacchus but is this as the result of comparison with a documented example, or is it merely paperweight collecting tradition/lore?

Really, I'd like to pose the same question for Richardson's. St. Louis weights can be authenticated with some certainty by the route of signed pieces and examples donated to the Musée des Arts et Métiers when first made, Baccarat by the route of signed pieces, Clichy by signed examples and, more recently, by pieces discovered in the collection of descendants of the firms original owners; however on what are we basing our attributions to Bacchus and Richardson's?

Nicholas
Nicholas

Offline tropdevin

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 2052
  • Gender: Male
    • Paperweights
    • England
    • My Paperweights Website
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 10:23:38 PM »
***

I think you have asked a very important question, Nicholas. I am trying to answer it in my article as far as I can, but to my knowledge there is no documented link to any Old English paperweights from the mid 19th Century that proves who made which ones. No documented link whatsoever between 'classic Bacchus weights' and the maker George Bacchus (though I do think it there is a reasonable case for linking the two).  I take the view that the very few 'IGW' weights can be attributed to Islington with reasonable confidence (as manufacturer of the weights, rather than maker of all the canes), but beyond that, it is - as you suggest - mainly folklore for items from the 1850 - 1900 period. And some of that folklore was defined in the mid 20th Century or later.

There is solid evidence to confirm the Arculus pieces with the fake '1848' dates from the 1920s-1930s, and the subsequent Walsh Walsh paperweights. Also for Richardson 'footed' weights and bottles from the 1900 - 1914 period. There is evidence too for the existence of a few Whitefriars paperweights from the late 1930s (but definitely not before then). What we cannot determine is which (of many) factories made the high quality OE paperweights in the 1845 - 1860 period. There are plenty of candidates: high quality glass makers who exhibited and won medals at major exhibitions, but no hard evidence has been found to date, as far as I know. The Richardson family left glass to Broadfield House museum, but no paperweights...

So what about Gammon & Sons, Joseph Green, Lloyd and Summerfield, James Stevens, Samuel Shakespeare, Walsh Walsh, and more...all high quality glassmakers in Birmingham around 1850? Any or all of them may have made paperweights. And there were more candidates a few miles away in Stourbridge, including Richardson, Webb...

Alan
Alan
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  Abraham Lincoln.

The comments in this posting reflect the opinion of the author, Alan Thornton, and not that of the owners, administrators or moderators of this board. Comments are copyright Alan Thornton.
 http://www.pwts.co.uk

Offline Nicholas.

  • Members
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Male
  • nicholaschwartz@gmail.com
Re: Mini "basket-weight" but by whom?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2011, 10:55:59 PM »
Thank you Alan,

What you write is much what I expected but it's interesting to see it written by someone who knows.

When you list all those, some seldom-heard, names it's quite fascinating to think of the amount of resarch that's there, waiting to be carried out, but a little daunting to think that we're so far away from any answers. In some cases archaeological excavation might answer questions but in almost all cases, due to costs and current occupation of the sites, this must be totally out of the question.

Your comments can only reinforce what many knowledgeable collectors have found out, namely that the best idea is to collect primarily on the basis of quality and not on attribution.

Nicholas

 
Nicholas

 

Search
eBay.com
eBay.co.uk

Link to Glass Encyclopedia
Link to Glass Museum
Enter
key words
to search
Amazon.com
This Website is provided by Angela Bowey, PO Box 113, Paihia 0247, New Zealand