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Turquoise 15X7 Glass Vase Gilt Insects

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Sadly, this vase redefines the concept of  damaged.

Base: Number in black  8409

15 X 7 at its widest point

Ruffle/frilly rim

Gilt insects and leaves~ colored fruit

Three legs

Weight: as a guess: 4 lbs.

Colouration: turquoise (celeste?) which lightens toward the base. The camera flash had no effect on its true colours.

The photo which shows it ''standing'' is actually one of the vase propped up. I hold an antique photo of it placed on a table and that photo dates 1885-1900(no actual date on the photo but I know where my family was ''when''~Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, my GGGrandparents'  summer home.)

Before I came to GMB I believed what my Mother said, ''Moser''.
Now I am uncertain.
Obviously, it will never be for sale but since I am now its mother, I am curious who made it.

The smooth but pooled, wavy glass on its base may be a clue to someone.

Given its wrecked condition and given Harrach's pronunciation it would be more than synchronous if it had been made by Harrach.

Thank you ~



You have some amazing glass, what is the story of that?

I guess cleaning inside is a lot easier now it has been converted to a lidded bowl  ::)

Can it be restored. I think it would look ok restored properly and would display well for years to come. 

The attached photo-- with apologies for the only water spotting to the entire 9 ½ X 7 photo. Of course, those pesky spots would plop themselves in the exact area about which I write~ what luck!

The Turquoise vase with fruit is placed on the table in the foreground.

If you look at the top of the photo: the mirrored reflection of the fireplace mantel of the adjacent room. I believe that is Miss Blue Cylindrical Glass Vase with Cameo of a Woman or a Woman in Enamel . Miss Blue Glass cylindrical vase will soon have her own thread. 

To the reader interested in the turquoise vase, there you have it. The vase was purchased no later than 1904.

To the reader who is interested in the entire story, as I have pieced it together, you may wish to read on. Antiques of all stripes are inanimate ''things'' but they, once, had people attached to them.

But first! I must attend to this: I have glued Five (5) shiny bright gold stars on Frank's chart for his continuing ID kindnesses  + one gold star for his humorous ''lidded bowl'' comment. We adore a good laugh around here.

What is the story of this vase?

You may be sorry you asked—I recommend you grab a cup of coffee or a snifter of brandy. I will endeavour to keep the story relatively (PI) brief but have been known to lie. There's more—there always is—but here we go for now.

One question to be answered: why are so many of my pieces broken?

Was your family really bears with furniture?

I do not know. As a child this Turquoise glass vase—renamed ''Frank's lidded bowl''--was stored on the north wall's glassed case in a smaller room, off Dad's home office.  The vase's condition, then, was unknown to me:  I was not allowed to slide open the doors.  A 1950 formal tinted photo shows this vase displayed atop the closed lid of a grand piano.  An utterly adorable child, at the age of four and the subject of the photo, sits her GGmother's gilt chair which is positioned in front of the piano. Examining that photo today I cannot determine the condition of this turquoise vase.
On the south wall of the ''glass'' room, across from this vase, were additional glassed display cases with an upper tier of shelves hidden behind redwood doors. On one such shelf, ( I discovered, nosing around) hidden behind a set of leather books with gold ends and backs (gilt edges and spines, but I was little. At 5', still am. Such is why a ladder, then and now, comes in so very handy.) were the cremains of Henry(brother to GGM) and of my GGparents— I think I can say--and get away with it-- that Lizzie never took her eyes off her glass objects. 

Mother was horrified that I had discovered the threesome and swore me to secrecy. Raised in a Protestant religion which teaches that life is eternal,  I remember thinking-- ''Really? Then, would you like to explain these boxes?''  One Halloween I brought two of my gal friends into the small room and showed them the boxes(wrapped in brown paper--the boxes, not the girls) with the death certificates attached. The girls were spooked. I laughed. Years later my sister and I would scatter the threesome's ashes. Just between you and me, I'll also say that Thomas Wolfe was wrong: you can go home again because I know of three people who did.

Returning to the Turquoise glass vase~

My mother said that each year her grandmother had packed up her Chicago home and moved ''all her pretties'' to their summer home on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Come the end of summer, the process was reversed and the items were packed and shipped back to Chicago.  Whether the items were broken in transit, to or from Chicago (1882-1902-4?),  or whether they suffered breakage on their journey around the Horn to California(why didn't they ship by train?) or whether the glass pieces fell(PI) victim to any of several large California earthquakes is unknown.

In 1971 Mr. Root Beer (in another thread), my husband,  and I were living in the northwest corner apartment on the 12th floor of a 22 floor high rise in downtown Los Angeles. On the 8th of February an earthquake hit hard and we rocked and rolled for what seemed an eternity( the building swayed 6-8 minutes. We soon vacated. Permanently.) Had the building arced,  like the violent reed it became, from north to south instead of from east to west,  Mr. Root Beer would have been launched from atop the credenza where he stood, hurled through and out the wall of glass behind him, and landed in a clatter of shards on the cement of the plaza far below. 

My only loss was a $5.00 el cheapo Japan cheese dish with a mouse that decorated its cover
which clattered around the kitchen sink. When I heard that clattering and breakage,  I thought--albeit briefly since I was scared spitless-- Hell, there goes the Moser.

Instead, when I crawled around the corner and looked for him: Mr. Root Beer stood proud and tall on his credenza and was perfectly fine. Museum wax does work.

* * *
I promised to be brief. I lied-- but I warned ya.

Frank's Lidded turquoise bowl ~

Recently removed from its box I discovered it in two pieces. There is a third piece(tapered, 3'' in length X 2'') glued to one wall of the bottom piece, which I left alone.   The old glue was either brown or had toned brown(remember Rubber Cement? That color) and its texture was that of a transparent and brittle nature.  A razor blade removed the old glue fairly easily.

To be restored?

Reading on Mr. Goldberg's Los Angeles antique glass restoration website: the expense to restore antique glass can be incredibly pricey.  Generally, only if the sentimental value was sufficiently high,    would it make sense to restore: a personal financial decision.

After the holidays, I will email him and see what he estimates. Should he quote me a price equivalent to the purchase price of  a small child then I will contemplate an alternate solution.  In England there is a product, Milliput, which I've used in the past to restore ceramic and porcelain figurines (vintage Japans and Beswick and Japan horses, cowboys,  and cattle—nothing antique)and it just may do the trick here. The break lines would exist but the vase would be stable and I'll have funds to purchase additional Lotto tickets that I never cash.   

If you have read thus far, you want the cast of actors to understand the play.

GGfather passed  1927
GGmother passed  1935
   Her brother Henry Lord Gay, Architect,  passed 1921

Grandfather (their son)  J.J. passed 1942
Grandmother(J.J.'s  wife) passed 1945
Mother( J.J.'s daughter) passed 2000
   Mother's brother/my uncle passed in 2011

Since most all those principal ''glass'' players upped and died before I arrived,  I have no direct knowledge with the exception of a few conversations with my mother, years ago.  I am a member of the Baby BOOM!  In 1983 I gathered up all the papers  and photographs which were boxed and stored in our basement. They were not in any chronology.  I tossed out many items—I wonder now what I discarded but that worry is of no consequence at this point since those items are history in a landfill. I intended to tie the pieces together. Instead, I boxed them anew and shelved them.

Five years ago I revisited the trove. Thanks in no small part  to the GMB, I can come closer to identifying what few pieces of glass remain here.

My mother repeated what her grandmother and her mother had told her(e.g., that Mr. Root Beer was Moser GLASS --which I am now reasonably confident is untrue.  Yes, there are Moser labels but I believe that Moser was the decorator. The mold is not Moser =  Source: Frank. Ergo: Mr. Root Beer is, assuredly,  older than 1895. ) . 

These days, I, just like Twain's Bluejay who ''cocked his head to one side, shut one eye, and put the other one to the [knothole] like a possum looking down a jug'' –take a close and, often, alternate, view from what I was told 

N.B. The bluejay quote is from Twain's, A Tramp Abroad.  A good read.

The attached photo includes this Turquoise vase on a table in my GGrandparents' Lake Geneva, Wisconsin,  home. GGFather was a Chicago lawyer and real estate investor. His Scots-Irish family came to the United States c.1830 from Ireland.  GGF was born in Illinois.  I have not finished chasing down, or back, so to speak, that European arm of the family . 

GGmother Elizabeth had a long lineage: a pedigree was created for her in 1880 which , according to that prepared formal paper, leads back to 500 A.D. Let me say right here that I have serious ''bluejay'' doubts about the reliability of that time line's dating.  However, from what research I've done, it checks out at Ancestry to the year 1550. 

One of Elizabeth's relatives, Benjamin Lord, is buried on the Isle of Wight. One subsequent generation of that Lord family stepped off the boat in Massachusetts (c.1642) married in 1666,  and moved on to Saybrook, Connecticut(c.1685) where they continued . Most of them continued, that is. One was caught in NY by the Brits and hanged as a spy(1776)~ now he is a series of statues and a U S postage stamp.

Fast forward to this vase.  Elizabeth's brother, Henry Lord Gay, F.A.I.A., (1844-1921) was a Chicago architect. Beginning in early 1881 Henry lived in Tuscany for eighteen months.  He entered an architectural design Competition(such contests were common, then) for the proposed Victor Emmanuelle II's Tomb. Henry placed Second and was awarded $1250 BP. (NY Times archives) 

An Italian architect was awarded First Prize(no surprise there). The monument would be built 15 years hence and was designed by a third architect—reportedly, the present monument is a great monster of a thing and wildly unpopular with Italians today. It resembles not at all what Henry had designed.

In the basement of my childhood home, Henry's 40'' X 60'' tinted rendering (since lost)  hung on one of the east walls.  A light and airy structure with soaring design. I have a rough translation of his written formal submission for the contest which includes concise dimensions and elevations for the structure. One day I will find a student who has the energy to translate it into a more exact form.

A few of Henry's 1881-1882 letters from Europe survive: he traveled around Europe: arrived and departed London, traveled England, Florence, Venice, Rome, and Berlin. In his final letter from Europe he wrote to Lizzie, his sister, that her purchases were packed, Customs papers signed, and insurance paid for the ''goods to be received in Chicago''.   

Alas, there is no inventory of what items were in the shipment.
Henry returned to the U.S. In 1882.

In 1881 before he embarked for Italy, Henry sold his Lake Geneva summer home to his brother-in-law and his sister, my GGrandparents. From Europe Henry sent plans for the remodel of his Lake Geneva ''hunting lodge'' which he had designed and built in 1861. Ergo: my GGrandparents were ensconced in their Lake Geneva summer home c. 1882.  That photo's sunroom was located in the Lake Geneva residence. 

Henry's swan song to Chicago and to Lake Geneva, was, and remains, STONE MANOR(extant: now four condominimums-- google Stone Manor Lake Geneva ) which was completed in 1902. Henry moved his practice to San Diego but traveled back and forth between California and Chicago up until 1906(Tinker Museum diaries).

Contemporaneously, my GGrandparent's only surviving son  J.J. sorta failed to complete at Princeton—he was on the football team ( his 1899 Princeton football photo sold five years ago) --but he did graduate from the Colorado School of Mines.   J.J. was my maternal grandfather. Gold lured him to California by 1904 (Recorded Deed)  where he would marry in 1908.   

Somewhere in there, between 1900 and 1904,  the GGrandparents sold their home on Dearborn and exited Chicago, sold their Lake Geneva place,  and followed their son to California.  Actual dates of those sales are unknown but there are early postcards of their LG residence with other owners showing as owners. The postcards provide a reasonable guestimate for that timing.  The residence was demolished in the early 1930s and the ground, now, part of the Wrigley estate. 

Henry designed my GGrandparents' new residence in Oceanside, California, which was completed by 1906.  In 1910 Henry remodeled the home of his nephew, J.J.,  which was the residence where I would grow up.   

Stringing those factual beads into a necklace, I date the attached Lake Geneva photo of the vase to 1885-1895. One rare postcard of their LG resident appears infrequently on ebray with another's name attached as owner. I suspect GGfather allowed the new owner to use GGF's interior furnishing photos as his own—or, the postcard was prepared as a sales tool, the deal closed,  and the new owner supplanted GGF's name.  Yet another mystery. I've been outbid several times on the postcard but hold the original mock-up of the PC which enables me to date several photographs that comprised the multiple views of the card. 

Whether or not this Turquoise vase—or any of the glass items I have, or shall,  posted at GMB—were shipped from Europe by Henry or were purchased by the GGparents in Europe or in America and when remain mysteries.

Thanks to Frank, and assuming I comprehended what he wrote—Mr. Root Beer(in another thread) MAY have been part of the Henry shipment. Perhaps, also, this Turquoise vase.

As conveniently handy as it may be to assemble facts as I have, I could be incorrect. As family historian—and  an amateur at that—one is allowed to make logical leaps of faith (a/k/a guesses) but, lacking concrete proof,  such efforts do not establish those guesses as fact.

I read that it was only relatively recently that the U.S. Government required passports.  Post Civil War  a person was issued a passport if they requested a passport.  The record of GGF's 1889 passport exists at ancestry: issued in London for himself, Lizzie, and son J.J., who was 12 years of age. They were to travel England, France, Italy, and Germany for ''3 - 4 months''. I find no other records but have not searched various passenger lists. 

Add to this imbroglio, my Uncle(1917-  2011) once commented that his grandparents had frequently traveled to Europe.

How frequently, I inquired. 
No response.

Now, he's dead too.
Just my luck!


The blank not being made by Moser does not make it not Moser. Generally with such glass the decorator is the source, so if it was decorated by Moser then it is Moser.
We also see the apparent reverse of this where importers registered a design for a, for example, non British firm which moulded the registration onto the piece and shipped to UK. Labelled by the importer or assumed by the registration, such appear on eBay as British glass. But once identified from the manufacturers catalogue they might then become Czech. In some cases the importers turn out to be even more closely associated with the foreign company, perhaps even owned by them and employing local designers to produce designs that should sell well locally. But in the case of Moser, it is likely that the blanks were their own design and commissioned from whichever glass makers were deemed suitable by Moser.


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