A shallow, oval, pressed glass dish (about 5 inches x 3 ½ inches) with a central rectangular pillar or column (open from the underside of the dish). The decorative detail is all on the exterior, and the pillar is pressed from the underside so that the flat top of the pillar has the words ‘Bryant & May’ when viewed from above.
The dish bears the raised Rd. No. 96945, registered by Davidson of Gateshead on 31 March 1888, a design for a decorative pattern often known as Richelieu by American collectors. In fact, presumably due to the physical limitations of the item, the top and bottom edges of the pattern have been quite truncated to fit onto the relatively narrow rim. The quality of the pressing is not of the best, and the rim has a couple of slaggy broken bubbles.
This is obviously a matchbox holder / ashtray promoting the well known match manufacturing company.
Although pieces with this Rd. No. are relatively common, the only pieces I have previously seen have been either standard tableware or decorative posy baskets, with lots of space available to display the flamboyant details – this is the first promotional / advertising piece that I have seen in this pattern.
Chris & Val Stewart have a section on Davidson advertising glassware on pages 131 and 132 of “Davidson Glass – a history”, and they show a round dish in the 1892 pattern (Rd. 176566) modified to advertise Sainsbury’s butter. The other advertising pieces seem to be modifications of much later designs.
I may well be, therefore, that this Bryant & May matchbox holder, is the earliest recorded modified Davidson pattern to be used for advertising purposes.
Has anyone else encountered this matchbox holder? If so, has anyone seen coloured (transparent or pearline examples), and if so, do they have photos to share, please?
Has anyone come across other examples of Davidson advertising glassware other than the matchbox holder and the examples shown in Chris & Val’s book?
The only other example of Bryant & May advertising glassware that I have been able to find is an example by DG Ware, Stourbridge, and that is not entirely of glass (having a ceramic liner and a metal or bakelite top forming the match box holder column). See http://www.matchstrikergallery.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Unknown.html