Here is a heartwarming example of the not-so-old maxim that ‘a Kindle can’t hold a candle to a good old-fashioned reference book’.
Anyway, ‘to begin at the beginning’, as some of us still say in Wales – about four weeks ago I bought a little clear, pale blue, pressed glass vase (see pics) in a charity shop for £1. I liked it, was intrigued by it so – What the hell! – Go for it!
It is 9-sided (nonagonal?) with a scalloped foot rim and scalloped flared top rim to the bowl. The exterior of the bowl body has vertical rows of deep scooped facets. 11cm tall, with a foot diameter of 6.8cm and a top rim diameter of 12.2cm . Quite thick, heavy glass (especially the foot) with no real signs of wear to the underside of the foot.
I was pretty sure that it wasn’t 20th century Davidson or Sowerby (though I’m often proved wrong) and it wasn't in accord with any of the published Bagley patterns (though the GMB trinket sets forum have found a couple of previously undocumented examples recently). From the colour and geometric shape I thought it may have been European Art Deco, but browsing Pamela Wessendorf’s http://www.pressglas-pavillon.de/
drew a blank, as did Marcus Newhall’s Sklo Union CD-ROM. But something in the back of my mind kept niggling that I had seen something similar somewhere.
Then a couple of days ago, whilst browsing through your Neil Harris’s Manchester Glass website https://sites.google.com/site/molwebbhistory/Home
– as you do – I came across sugar bowl pattern #400 in the unregistered MW catalogue. But, Nah!, 80 years too early, and the foot is much shallower, and there is no stem (and pale blue glass in the 1840s?). Light of inspiration suddenly dulls and then fizzles out.
Until two nights ago. Am browsing through Hajdamach’s 20th Century British Glass (what a sad life I lead) when what should I notice on page 184 but an illustrated advert from 1925 for Lancastrian Crystal (Molineaux, Webb & Co. Ltd.), and in the centre of the top row is my little blue glass mystery (topped with a flower frog that sounds vaguely like Molineaux Webb’s RD 741400 of 27 October 1928). Bingo!
I note, especially the comment in Hajdamach’s caption about the ‘mystery’ vase being made in carnival glass, and an association with the Czech Rindskopf factory.
It seemed so extraordinary that a MolWebb design for sugar bowl that was deemed fashionable in 1840 should surface as a flower vase in the 1920s. Proof indeed of the cyclical nature of much fashion.