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Author Topic: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?  (Read 356 times)

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Offline MHT

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Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« on: August 03, 2017, 05:25:02 PM »
Small Sowerby salt/vase. Registration mark for date 13th July 1880. Appears in 1882 catalogue, page 10, pattern 1486.
 
The glass is an unusual dark amber with tortoiseshell pattern in the base. This may be the Tortoise Shell Ware mentioned on the  cover of the Sowerby 1882 pattern book.

I have added some more pictures and further observations on my webpage:
http://www.e-britain.co.uk/victorian_pressed_glass/gallery_mystery.htm

Has anyone seen this colour before?
The man smitten by an antique is a lost man

www.victorianpressedglass.com

Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 06:22:14 PM »
nope!!   :):)  this appears to be Sowerby Registration 352137, and described on the original factory drawing as a 'vase'  -  unfortunately, as usual the drawing lacks any indication of dimensions, and you've not included any with your post.         Oddly, and I may have this all wrong, and no doubt Fred will put me right, but  - pattern 1486 in Cottle (page 111) shows two pieces each with the same floral pressed decoration - one is a milk/cream and the other is a container of some sort, probably a vase - but neither piece appears to have any connection with the surface pattern/decoration of this small item - so is there an error somewhere?
I can't see any tortoiseshell in either Cottle or Sheilagh Murray, who says of tortoiseshell as  ................  "The last named is extremely scarce."
C.H. appears not to show any pieces.
Ray Slack writes  .............................  "In July 1882 a summer novelty was introduced under the name of Tortoiseshell Glass, and was reported as 'very pretty and attractive.      It's imitation of the real shell is striking, and being brought out at a popular price it must have a large sale'.
Slack also seems to have been unable to find this colour to include in his book.

So the short answer is that at present I can't find a colour picture of this variation with which to compare the piece shown here -  it certainly isn't gold 'Nugget'  - hopefully Fred will have more information on this one.                Casting perhaps an unfairly critical eye at the colouration of this piece, it does appear that the 'tortoiseshell effect' is only partial, and has failed to appear on the sides of the glass.

In his list (page 103), where he cross-references factory and Reg. Nos., Cottle links Reg. 352137 with factory pattern 1472 (pattern book IX page 9) - not pattern 1486, and if you look in Cottle - page 111 - there is an example of factory pattern 1472, and the piece shown does agree in surface decoration with your item, so would seem that the correct factory pattern should be 1472.
In case it's of interest, there were five Registrations from the factory on this date  .........   Nos. 352133 to 37.

Kew archive image now attached for 352137.

However, an important find I'd suggest. :)

Offline chopin-liszt

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Re: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 06:24:40 PM »
Very pretty effect - much better than any other so-called "Tortoiseshell" that I've ever seen. It actually looks real. :)
Cheers, Sue (M)

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 Beware of them who find it."
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Offline MHT

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Re: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 09:11:20 PM »
Thanks for your comments

Paul, sorry forgot to add the size, it is small at 8cm long, I would describe it as a salt rather than a vase.
Nugget glass pieces are 'mould blown' with an inner colour of black then a layer of mica flakes and then an outer layer of either amber or blue translucent glass to give either gold or blue Nugget glass.
This glass is different because it is pressed and would have been just as hard to make. It is layered glass and I have tried to explain how I think it was made on the link to my webpage.
Possibly the tortoiseshell effect could only be applied to the base using this method.

Sue, although it is small it is very convincing. The streak of white adds to the tortoiseshell colour but the whole effect is difficult to photograph.

Mike
The man smitten by an antique is a lost man

www.victorianpressedglass.com

Offline chopin-liszt

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Re: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 12:05:37 PM »
I don't really see how your salt could be anything other than the rare "Tortoiseshell" mentioned.  8)
But absolute confirmation is still wanted. Not easy to find when it's something very scarce. ::)
Cheers, Sue (M)

"Cherish those that seek the truth;
 Beware of them who find it."
Grimm.

Offline agincourt17

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Re: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 09:47:01 PM »
This pattern (and its corresponding RD number) has been discussed before on the GMB at
http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,55900.msg316891.html#msg316891
and is definitely Sowerby pattern 1486.

From the discussion, it  was decided that Simon Cottle was in error concluding that Sowerby pattern 1472 correlates with Sowerby RD 352137 of 13 July 1880.

As to the 'tortoiseshell' colour, I have no reference photos that show Sowerby glass pieces with that colouration - so a rarity indeed!.

Fred.

Offline Paul S.

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Re: Sowerby Tortoiseshell glass?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 10:08:10 PM »
thanks Fred  -  I'd forgotten that we'd been down this road before, and you're correct in saying this piece is factory pattern 1486, so my apologies to Mike for the confusion ................   I was looking at pattern 1482 in the catalogue, hence my mistake.          Item 1486 - on page 10 of pattern
book IX (1882) is an exact match for Mikes piece.
You can see - or at least you can if you have access to Cottle's Sowerby booklet - how he (and me), perhaps understandably, made the mistake of linking Rd. 352137 with pattern 1472 - there is great similarity between the two designs - the stippling and row of pillared decoration etc.

I think it's remarkable that we've not previously had a piece of tortoiseshell on here.

 

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