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Author Topic: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885  (Read 143 times)

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Offline MHT

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Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« on: January 18, 2018, 05:41:02 PM »
I have finally managed to put together a new page on my website. It intended as an introduction to the colours and types of glass produced by Sowerby between the above dates, with a few 'ideas' of my own. See what you think.

http://www.victorianpressedglass.com/sowerby_coloured_glass.htm

Mike

Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 07:45:37 PM »
hi Mike  -  at a very quick glance your essay with pix looks very interesting and should be a big help to those who, perhaps, don't have access to the books, but want some form of id for Sowerby colours.

Just a few words of idle comment .......................             Although I no longer have them, I did for a while own a couple of rubine bowls, and still have my pix of these pieces.              It's a shame that Slack's book didn't include any pictures of rubine  -  it really is quite a stunning colour, but it isn't just another red  -  when held to a good light it shows an almost gold tone within the body, perhaps a tad more where the red it less thick.             From memory my bowls are shown in the 1927 catalogue and I believe are patterns 2334 and 2411, and date wise this would tie in with your comments  "and in most cases probably a lot later." - there seems to be a lack of evidence they were made earlier than the 1920s.   
I was never aware of seeing rubine pieces that could be dated earlier than this, and unless I'm completely mis-reading the various sources, then I agree with you that there seems to be a distinct lack of reference by any of these authors - including the Potter Gazette - that guides us to a C19 source of the word rubine - but of course I'm more than happy to be proven wrong.              So it looks like we remain ignorant still of the origin of this descriptive word.

My rubine bowls were certainly not any shade of pink, but are a deep rich ruby, and I dislike Cottle's comment describing Sowerby's red as 'transparent, which in my opinion is not an accurate description.

For what it's worth my opinion on the mottle pink and clear Gladstone bag is that it's neither rubine nor rose opalescent, and may well have been a 'seconds' that got through the net - it most definitely isn't rubine and looks way too patchy in colour to be rose opalescent.   If you read Cottle's comments he looks to be suggesting that R.O. is simply a pink version of ruby but with some opalescent - not a patchy looking colour as shown in your pix.

Nonetheless, Sowerby seem to have been producing a deep red in the late 1870 - early 1880s which they described as a superior ruby pressed glass  -  although what they used as the colourant for this I don't know  -  was it copper, selenium, or something else  -  surely it wasn't colloidal gold, which would have been far to expensive for pressed glass.          I say this in view of Raymond Notley's comments in his book - words which I've posted previously when we've had chats on pressed red glass.        If you read Notley, he is very adamant that up until the 1920s gold was needed to produce red glass, after which selenium and copper were used.            He says  .............   "most pressed red glass around today is post 1924".

Would be of interest is someone knows how Sowerby coloured their ruby type glass  -  also what was the source of the word rubine, and does anyone have any pieces from the early 1880s.


       

Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 08:46:39 PM »

Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 09:57:56 PM »
thanks, that is of course quite correct, and it's easy to see what the word means :)  -  however, what I was querying (and was being less than clear with) was rather how or who - at some point in the late C19, it seems, originated a far more fanciful word for ruby   ...........   was it the factory (unlikely) or any of the authors being discussed - including the Pottery Gazette.
Lattimore says  "which they called rubine."     ....    and similarly Cottle says "a pinker version of ruby was later called Rubine"  all of which suggests strongly that there was a concerted effort to label this particular red glass as rubine  ..............   as opposed to people generally rushing for their dictionary.            Ordinarily, it might be thought that as with other historically made deep red glass, it would just be called ruby - but somewhere along the line someone decided to use this rather fancy definition, and its use seems to have caught on - especially with authors :)   

Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2018, 07:12:31 AM »
A lot of the factories used fancy names for colours. It was part of their marketing to make things sound more interesting in their catalogues and to distinguish between shades in their recipe books. Who'd buy a brown vase when amber sounds so much nicer?

Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2018, 08:18:20 AM »
quite right  -  the most remarkable aspect with Sowerby's 'rubine' is that presently it remains unknown as to where and when the name was first used, or how they made the stuff look red.

Pix attached of three bowls that I once owned  -  I haven't seen any rubine for several years now  -  mustn't look at them for too long - I might weep with nostalgia. :'(

Offline MHT

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2018, 11:13:10 AM »
The original idea was to put together a page for people who do not have access to the 'books'. The books are very interesting but we now know that certain aspects are inaccurate, unconfirmed or just plain glossed over. I was trying to provoke some new 'thoughts' on the subject and some interest in this type of glass.

As for Rubine. I originally started this section on the page with, 'I have a real problem with Rubine glass..'
I agree with Paul, it does looks as if Lattimore and Slack could be responsible for Sowerby red glass being called 'Rubine' whatever the year of manufacture.
As Paul says Slack and Lattimore both describe Rubine as deep red glass, while Cottle describes Rubine as a 'pinker version of ruby'. I did not have enough information to find their sources so I was being a little ambiguous in my text, making statements 'to ponder on', rather than hard, and possibly incorrect facts.
The same applies to 'New Marble Glass', where I have tried to make a case for it being a known type of Sowerby marbled glass rather than a different colour of malachite as prescribed by Slack.

There is another pink opalescent piece pictured in Cottle (pg60), it would be nice to know if that piece is 'streaky' like the Gladstone bags, or a blanket pink colour.

Christine is correct about the factory names for colours, 'Who'd buy a brown vase when GOLD sounds so much nicer?' I just wish they had given more thought to us poor souls trying to work out their 'fancy names' more than a hundred years later.


Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2018, 04:09:07 PM »
Mike  -  I've looked at Cottle's page 60  -  and in my humble opinion the three pieces showing there (on the back row), appear to be all genuine 'rose opalescent'  -  at least their colouring has the appearance of a near 100% uniform rose colour, rather than that patchy look of the earlier Gladstone Bag.
However  -  and I could be wrong  -  there does seem to be the possibility that maybe this particular colourway, with the opalescent rims, wasn't the success that the factory had hoped for, and perhaps it was less than successful in terms of the uniformity of colour, and in practise was found to be unreliable.

You might contact the Laing and Shipley Art Galleries and ask them if you might see these pieces, and perhaps take some pictures.       I seem to recall asking, a year or two back - one of the northern museums - about the Venetian pieces Cottle shows, and either they never came back to me, or they did and said they couldn't locate them.

Offline MHT

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2018, 06:04:29 PM »
Paul - re Cottle pg 60, the Gladstone bag is, I think, one of the 2 that are at the Shipley museum, one of the ones I pictured.
This is a good resource: http://collectionssearchtwmuseums.org.uk/#view=list&id=2309&modules=ecatalogue&keywords=glass&maker=sowerby&ColObjectStatus=Current
Tick the 'Only items with media' box and Search to get just the items with pictures.
Not all are pictured, the Gladstone bags are TWCMS : J5287 , the upright 'shell' vase is unfortunately not pictured.
The center item on pg60 is not pink, but is a piece of 'stained' B de L.
I agree it is probably another colour that was maybe difficult to produce or did not catch on, but I would love to own a piece.
I have a contact at the Laing so when I am there next I will ask if it is possible to see them.

If you need any  info about Sowerby Venetian I may be able to help, trying to do some research of my own.


Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Pressed Glass Colours 1875-1885
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2018, 06:31:05 PM »
thanks for the offer of help Mike - will come back on that if I can remember exactly what it was that had sparked my interest originally  - I think it was something that had been on the Board here, but now unsure.

 

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