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Author Topic: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849  (Read 1461 times)

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Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #120 on: October 19, 2017, 09:23:44 PM »
From what I have read of the trial notes so far, I seem to recall that Thomson was at pains to make it clear the he (Thomson) was the inventor of the silvering process, and that Mellish was simply employed to manage the production.

So, from the info above about Drayton / Thomson, we need to
- carefully look into that relationship
- see if there is any reason why Drayton, before he contacted Thomson, did not take out (or be granted) a patent for his process in England as well in the USA.
KevinH

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #121 on: October 19, 2017, 09:40:24 PM »
ok

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #122 on: October 19, 2017, 09:41:19 PM »
Thoughts on the process of the making:

So process wise in the making of these coloured, cut, double walled, silvered internally, plugged at the bottom vases [Mod: edit ... items rather than just vases], from Mr Thomson's business - would this be right? :-

1) items designed at Thomson's some by Mellish (see court case 10th May 1852)

Varnish under examination said of Mellish:
my later edit  'he was constantly employed for us, from the morning till late at night frequently—in the evening he would go down to Messrs. Powell's glass works, and be there perhaps half the night, getting things made under his own inspection—they were things which he had designed, made drawings of, and carried out—that was perhaps three or four times a week'

and then designs taken down to Powell's (or other makers if it is proven other makers were used)

Then at Powell's (or other makers if it is proven other makers were used):

2) Blown in clear

3) In some cases, cased in colour
(perhaps not that easy even in 1850 as ensuring the colours annealed at compatible rates was important? and even in the reports of the Great Exhibition, whilst I think I've read some reports extolling the virtues of British Glass starting to compete with Bohemian glass in terms of colour, British glass was late to the market in terms of colour development wasn't it?)
[Mod: edit ... it was very likely that Powell's were chosen as a maker because of their skills with colours at that time.]

4) Double-wall effect to create a double-walled item then carried out by blower on the cased glass (v difficult) 

5) Foot needed to be formed - I've read somewhere (maybe CH British Glass in the experiment they did) that this was a difficult process.

6) Annealed  (see possible annealing rates issue above)

Possibly supplied to Thomson's at this point?

7) Pontil hole needed to be formed perfectly

8 ) Plug of glass(?) needed to be made to fit the hole exactly to go over the metal plug?

9) Item and plug to be engraved with numbers to ensure they fitted once the silvering process had been done

 Supplied to Thomson's premises?

10) Patterns for cutting designs drawn at Thomson's

11) Patterns cut (possibly by refiners at Thomson's, possibly by refiners working from home for Thomson?) - perhaps not an easy process on a piece of double-walled glass?

edited later by me to add 10th May 1852 proceedings Thomson said:
'...there were men engaged as glass cutters and glass polishers—they worked on the premises; at one period there were, I suppose, thirty men working on the premises, and perhaps seven or eight outdoor workmen'



12) Drayton's silvering process carried out at Thomson's - again a difficult process

13) Plug fitted.

14) Sold at Regent Street premises (or possibly by word of mouth by E Varnish as the 'commercial' partner?)

But.. none of Thomson's work would have been possible without the blown double-walled items in the first place.

edited to add - see also this thread where Tom Fuhrman discusses some of the difficulty in making these. http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,65710.msg367529.html#msg367529
  See also the experiment in CH British Glass where the difficulty in recreating even a single layer (not cased) double-walled vessel is noted)


Thomson says the double walled item was his idea but...
finding someone to make them and who could make them successfully was not easy.
Powell's were at least one of the companies and, it seems, the first one for Thomson's, that did so.

m

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #123 on: October 19, 2017, 10:33:30 PM »
Just adding this link for future reference.  These seem to be unusual - they are gold (described as rare) and have engravings on them instead of having geometric cut patterns.  I thought they were unusual in light of the fact that in one of the court cases, Thomson seems to bemoan Mellish's designs and says they will improve once Mellish is gone (or words to that effect iirc). 
And given the discussion about whether Powell made all the double-walled glass or not.

http://www.antiquecolouredglass.info/Varnish%20Mercury%20glass.htm

Close up of the engraving here:
http://www.antiquecolouredglass.info/Mercury%20Glass%20Marks.htm

They are gold. (described as rare)
They have engraved birds and foliage on them.
They are described as 'A pair of Varnish Glass goblets' and it says 'both goblets marked'.
They are dated as 'no later than 1851'

'Provenance: The Cadman Collection, Brighton,'


Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #124 on: October 20, 2017, 07:26:16 AM »
Andrew has all of his silvered double-walled glass marked Varnish  and Hale Thomson sold as 'no later than 1851'.
http://www.antiquecolouredglass.info/Varnish%20Mercury%20glass.htm


So either:
-  these were all items that have a provenance as being bought from the Great Exhibition
or
-  they have proof of purchase/making attached to all of them contemporary to and no later than 1851
or
- he knows something about the fact that they weren't being produced after 1851.



It states at the top of his page that:
'Many items marked with the hale Thomson/Varnish patent seal were manufactured by the Whitefriars manufactory.'

(Varnish said in the court case that they bought items from France as well as from Powell's.)


By contrast, the V& A has four items (those with pictures attached) as 'c.1850'

Were any produced later than 1851?  and how do the V&A and Linehams know those were the dates?

m

Offline Paul S.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #125 on: October 20, 2017, 10:56:47 AM »
further to my note re my email to the V. & A.  -  have just received the following reply from the museum..............

""Dear Mr Stirling
 
Co-incidentally, I am in correspondence with another user of the Glass Message Board who seems to be researching the same subject.
 
In fact our Varnish/Thomson glass holding are a little more numerous than you have found. They are C.16 through to C.24-1961 and also Circ.248-1965. You can look all these up on our Search the Collections on our website. In essence, my predecessor who catalogued these items was of the view that Powells and other glassworks produced ‘blanks’ for Varnish to complete.
 
Here are excerpts from some of her cataloguing for our British Galleries:
‘The process of making double-walled silvered glass was patented by Edward Varnish and Frederick Hale Thompson in 1849.  A  number of glassworks, such as that of James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, London, made the blanks.  A stemmed vase or  goblet shape was formed, with  the glass-blower stopping short of opening out the mouth.  Instead, the top of the vase, still  sealed as a bubble-shape, was reheated and 'dropped' inwards to form a double-walled interior. This plain, undecorated vase  was then supplied to E. Varnish & Co., where it was filled between the walls from the foot end with a solution of silver nitrate  and glucose (in the form of grape juice).  The final stage was to seal the hole in the foot with a metal disc, in this example marked for Varnish's Patent.
 
The silvered glass exhibited by E. Varnish & Co. fascinated commentators on the 1851 Great Exhibition. Varnish's salvers,  vases, globes and goblets were bold in size and presentation, using non-tarnishing silver, ornamented with coloured casing,  cutting and engraving. The process 'added a richness and beauty of colouring to that material of which few could deem it  capable of receiving' (Illustrated London News ).’
 
She mentions one of our examples, an inkstand, as having been marked for Lund, whom she says may have patented some further detail of the decoration or mount. William Lund of Fleet Street, London was a family firm of retailers, not a manufacturer but a commissioner of work.
 
I am unable to advise the source of my former colleague’s reference to Powell as she does not mention it in her cataloguing record. However, it may be that she read p.30 of Wendy Evans, Catherine Ross and Alex Werner: ‘Whitefriars Glass: James Powell & Sons of London’, Museum of London, 1995. This gives a reference to ‘Tallis’s History and Description of the Crystal Palace’ where Tallis remarks:
‘…most of the glass exhibited by them [Mr Varnish and Mr Mellish, Hale Thomson’s second collaborator] was manufactured by Messrs Powell & Co., Whitefriars’.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Judith Crouch
 J. M. Crouch (Mrs.)
Ceramics and Glass Section
Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass
Victoria and Albert Museum
London SW7 2RL""

I don't know the identity of the 'other user' from the GMB, or even whether they are researching relevant to this particular thread  -  my thoughts are that it would have been courteous, bearing in mind that I had posted to the effect that I was contacting the museum, to have mentioned their efforts.            Two of us doing the same thing would be considered unnecessary, probably.          Of course, it may well be that their enquiries were in another direction regarding this material.

Anyway, you can see the museum's reply, which indicates only a speculative source of attribution to Powell, but does detail much that we were already aware of in terms of related names associated with this discussion. 

P.S.    I assume it was m (flying free) who contacted the V. & A., since it's in the post immediately prior to mine that there looks to be an identical extract from the museums email to me.
Please let me know, m, if I have that wrong :)

Online Lustrousstone

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #126 on: October 20, 2017, 11:38:14 AM »
The researcher in question was not M but Drewfind, who is no longer very keen on us! Read from here http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,65670.msg367664.html#msg367664


M's and Judith's quotes are from the V&A website and obviously the catalogue. Thank you for posting Judith's response, though, unfortunately, it adds nothing to the ongoing work

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #127 on: October 20, 2017, 12:15:44 PM »
Hi Paul 
No, it was not me  :)

But thank you so much for letting us know what Judith Crouch from the V&A has said.

I appreciate it, because it is clear that Judith is not aware of the court case evidence from the three cases in 1851 and 1852 - primary source information that has been discovered on this thread.

There have been lots of posts on this thread as you will see :) 
Page 9 is where the info on the court cases was discovered and  started being discussed:

http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,65670.msg367597.html#msg367597





Offline Paul S.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #128 on: October 20, 2017, 12:42:17 PM »
sorry m  -  I'm obviously guilty of not reading everything  -  in fact presently I've a very heavy head cold and brain not working too well.  apologies for accusing you. :-*
I agree with Christine, the museum's reply adds almost nothing in terms of a definitive conclusion.         I will of course thank Judith Crouch for taking the time to investigate on behalf of the GMB.

Offline flying free

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #129 on: October 20, 2017, 12:50:01 PM »
 :) no apology necessary.

1) I'm glad Judith replied to you.  It helps to know where she and the V&A are at in terms of information they have regarding these pieces.

I don't suppose you could push your luck and ask her for a photograph of another item to do with this silvered glass could you?
Just out of curiosity I'd love to see the plug in the bottom of this particular vase (see link)
and I'd love to know why it appears to have a blue interior in the photographs online:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O6482/vase-hale-thomson-f/

If it feels too much to ask her something else then don't worry - it's just curiosity on my part as it doesn't look like any of the other vases.





2) By the way, for Paul and anyone else reading, there are some silvered glass items (at least one I've found) shown in the V&A under the  Powell and sons link.  They are probably the other item numbers Judith was referring to in her email to Paul.  But I've not double checked.
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O3297/vase-james-powell-sons/

Interestingly I've noticed on this one there is what appears to be a date next to the information supplied of (03/27/2003) - I wonder if that is the date the info was added - 15 years ago now?
That one has a Hale Thomson's Patent plug - they date it 1850-1860. 
None of this dating is any help at all in ascertaining whether Thomson was still refining and selling double walled glass after Mellish was arrested in 1851,as it's not based on any research as far as I can see and is just a c. estimate.

The info on this item (also found under Powell's) appears to have been added in 2009:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O250126/varnishs-patent-inkpot-and-cover-james-powell-sons/

I don't think the V&A are aware of the court cases evidence.



m


 

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