Recently bought from eBay, where it was described as a base for an oil lamp. The underside of the base bears the raised legend Rd. 53483, a design registered to HG Richardson, Wordsley Flint Glass Works, Stourbridge, on 30 July 1886.
According Jenny Thompson’s “The Identification of English Pressed Glass 1842-1908”, page 136: “Design for a hyacinth glass made with two projections on the upper or cup part and having an indentation on the upper part of the body to carry and keep in position a stick or other support to the plant.”
Measures 10cm tall, with the cup rim diameter 7.3cm, and the main part of the bowl with a maximum diameter of 11.6cm. Presumably mould blown in clear glass, with a diamond quilted texture to both interior and exterior. A very stable design. Has a nice ‘ring’ to it when struck.
The bottom half of the bowl interior is slightly milky, so it would appear to have actually been used for forcing bulbs, or perhaps simply as a vase.
I have already had a series of informative exchanges with Patricia Cocorris (author of “The Curious History of the Bulb Vase”) who was aware of the vase design. Indeed, she tells me that the novelty in the design registration is in the means of providing a support for the stick rather than the overall shape or decoration of the glass itself, and she shows the design registration drawing for RD 53483 on page 73 of her magnificent tome. There is also a photograph of a cobalt blue version of the vase on page 122 showing the stick appropriately attached.
I was also quite gratified to read on page 122 that “although the pattern books show a lot of variation for this bulb vase, both in colour and technique, VERY FEW HAVE EVER BEEN SEEN” [my capitals].
‘My’ Richardson hyacinth vase is now wending its way to Patricia in Holland, and I have already received a signed copy of her beautifully-produced and immaculately- researched book in exchange.
From henceforth I shall look at bulb vases with the scales hopefully having fallen from my untutored eyes, and who knows what previously-unheralded treasures may now clamour for my humble attention. Thank you, Patricia.