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Author Topic: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"  (Read 27329 times)

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Offline Ekimp

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #210 on: February 21, 2023, 10:16:19 AM »
The way the bowl engraving is done, or rather the effect it gives, is though quite similar to Walsh Walsh Fruiting Vine I think in some ways, including the small highlight parts in certain areas:

https://www.sellingantiques.co.uk/653181/set-of-six-john-walsh-cut-and-engraved-green-wine-glasses-c1930/#

To be honest I assume all glass engraving must be pretty difficult to do :)
m


Yes, although at least on the Walsh leaves they have taken a bit more care with the polishing. To be honest, I donít think the Walsh fruiting vine decoration is very good (will I be shot ;) ). It is just commercial, mass produced decoration isnít it, itís better than some cheaper glasses, worse than others, but I wouldnít say itís anywhere close to high end stuff such as from Biemann.

Your link in reply 202 https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_Art_journal/ZllVAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Messrs.+Millar+%26+co+engraving&pg=PA379&printsec=frontcover looks like high end figurative engraving with people, animals and complex patterns. That looks more like the Biemann end of the market to me, rather than the fruiting vine end.
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day - Winnie-the-Pooh

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Offline flying free

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #211 on: February 21, 2023, 12:58:17 PM »
Yes, although at least on the Walsh leaves they have taken a bit more care with the polishing. To be honest, I donít think the Walsh fruiting vine decoration is very good (will I be shot ;) ). It is just commercial, mass produced decoration isnít it, itís better than some cheaper glasses, worse than others, but I wouldnít say itís anywhere close to high end stuff such as from Biemann.

Your link in reply 202 https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_Art_journal/ZllVAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Messrs.+Millar+%26+co+engraving&pg=PA379&printsec=frontcover looks like high end figurative engraving with people, animals and complex patterns. That looks more like the Biemann end of the market to me, rather than the fruiting vine end.

It is more high end. But it was 1867  Exhibition and I was including the link for future reference searches so people could see the glass exhibited and that perhaps they were examples of John Ford's Holyrood shapes.

J. H. B. Millar  seems to have started in the (early?) 1850s (Messrs. Millar) and worked with John Ford at Holyrood glass with some Bohemian engravers and then  training local people to engrave.  It depends at which end of the timeframe they were at I suppose.  But it could depend on how much time they had to supply also.

It appears from the Bonhams listing that the museum in Edinburgh has some examples of John Ford engraved articles, so they will have been able to compare and I don't think that goblet is that dissimilar engraving to the uranium bowl.

I agree on the Walsh Fruiting Vine engraving in comparison to high end Bohemian engraving, and for example compared to Stevens and Williams cased goblets. But yes they were making sets of glasses.  I don't know how they compared on price with say Stevens and Williams cased goblets.
 However I also have absolutely no experience of how difficult engraving on a round piece of glass is to be honest, any piece of glass in fact. I think it's actually very difficult.  And Dominik Biemann is absolutely high end stuff so not a fair comparison really.
 I think artistically the Walsh Fruiting Vines are gorgeous as a whole design ( I have some) so it really does depend on how you're viewing items. Likewise, I think the uranium glass Queen Victoria bowls are gorgeous as a whole design, the perfect shape design, the cutting, colour, engraving, the whole thing taken together. 

m


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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #212 on: February 21, 2023, 01:43:03 PM »
Bonhams show another one here.  The monogram is very different to the QV bowls.  I think the engraving looks more defined as well to be honest.  It's dated 1874
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/10198/lot/390/?category=list

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #213 on: March 08, 2023, 09:09:02 AM »
From conversation on another thread:

In relation to my bolded comment above (where I was questioning the impact of the Glass Excise Tax on glassmakers in the 1830s), Page 63 of Charles Hajdamach's British Glass 1800-1914 describes an industry in trouble in the 1830s:

'At a time when the ownership of a glassworks was a perilous undertaking which could lead quickly to bankruptcy, most glass producers were intent on survival rather than producing publicity material which might have been saved for posterity'.

and

'...in 1830 when most Dudley works were already complaining of financial problems due to the Glass Excise, which seems to have eventually forced the closure of the most important factories'.


and on page 70:
'Throughout most of its life the Hawkes factory was hampered by the Glass Excise. Prices were increased in 1825 as a result of the changes in the way the tax was charged and in 1835 the evidence Hawkes gave to the Commission of Inquiry clearly outlined the effect of the tax:
'I was out of business for a short time, for three years; I gave it over to my brothers, and they were so disgusted with it that they retired.  I renewed the business with the hope that some alteration would take place, and I carry it on for one of my younger sons, to whom I thought I was doing an act of justice.'

From my reading of what CH has written, it appears Thomas Hawkes was the most important glassworks in Dudley(see page 63).
If this is what he is writing about the Tax Excise then I guess other factories must have been under similar pressures.
I think Hawkes closed in 1842 (see page 69 of the same book) where discussing a worker it says ' In 1842 his disappearance from the directories coincides with the closure of the Hawkes firm and...'

Does this indicate an industry that could in 1837 have used expensive oxides to produce a newly developed  colour glass?

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #214 on: March 08, 2023, 09:45:47 AM »
With regard to my query over use of uranium glass and colour in the UK in the 1830s:

Charles Hajdamach British Glass 1800-1914 mentions a comment in the Art-Union Magazine of April 1846(9 years after the uranium glass bowls are said to have been made) - see page 82:

'We have intimated that Messrs. Richardson are direction considerable attention to the improvement of coloured glass; in this art we yet lag behind our neighbours; chemistry has at present done little for it in this country; these gentlemen have, however, already made great advance in rivaling (sic)the productions of Bohemia; and we have little doubt that, a few years hence, we shall see at least equal the best of the imported articles; their specimens of opal glass are remarkably successful; and of cutting, engraving, and polishing, they supply examples second to none that have ever been produced in this country.'

That doesn't read to me like a country producing fabulous coloured glass pre 1846.

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Offline essi

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #215 on: January 19, 2024, 08:47:39 PM »
Not sure if you have this information from this source, i came across it tonight.
British table and ornamental glass by L.M Angus-Butterworth. Published 1956.
"In 1837 a pair of glass girandoles,or branching candlesticks, coloured yellow by a salt of uranium were presented to Queen Adelaide"
Tim

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #216 on: January 19, 2024, 09:03:28 PM »
Hi Tim and thanks for remembering this thread.  Yes, there is information here in this thread (Link to my post below).  Apparently the girandoles had uranium droplets according to the info I quoted on this link... they weren't uranium glass girandoles from what I read.  Also there is no definitive id that they were made by James Powell that I could find.  And since that information in my linked thread was written it appears the V&A have changed the identification of the maker of those bowls apparently made for the Coronation banquet Guildhall to now be from Davenport.  Hence me querying all the information re identification so far:

https://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,70066.msg391911.html#msg391911

I wonder what the source of L. M. Butterworths information was?

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #217 on: March 18, 2024, 10:21:43 AM »
A uranium glass butter dish bottom from Islington Glass works Birmingham dating to late 1840s here on linked thread.  It's pressed glass but shows the colour of the uranium glass from c.1849 (see Art Union Journal October 1849 page 307 for engraving of the butter in the links in the thread):
https://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,73283.msg407097.html#msg407097

Also note on the Art Union Journal page 314 (dated October 1849) a reference to the fact that 'not long ago' the (?coloured) glass for brass was all supplied from foreign sources and that now they 'believe' all parts are manufactured 'at home':
https://archive.org/details/sim_art-journal-us_1849-10-01_11/page/314/mode/2up
That was 1849. 
The Queen Victoria uranium glass bowls were apparently made for 1837 - cut and engraved.  That's 12 years earlier than this comment in the Art Union Journal.



See also their footnotes on the bottom of page 314 !  The notes don't indicate to me that anything like the QV uranium glass bowls were being produced 'at home' in 1837.
https://archive.org/details/sim_art-journal-us_1849-10-01_11/page/314/mode/2up

See also page 294 on this link (1849) middle column bottom of the column,  where the use of colour is extolled v previous years and the strength of overseas glass imports in previous years:
https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_art_journal_London/65BCAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=uranium+oxide+cornwall+mine+1817&pg=PA137&printsec=frontcover


I'm finding lots of information directly from source articles dating to pre 1852 that indicate these bowls were not made in Great Britain in 1837.  I'm not coming across anything that might even indicate they could have been. 

If anyone has any further thoughts/sources I'd be very grateful :)

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #218 on: March 18, 2024, 04:17:39 PM »
The 'uranium glass butter dish' should have read 'honey'. 

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Re: Info on James Powell Topaz glass - "The Queen Victoria Topaz bowl"
« Reply #219 on: March 18, 2024, 04:55:34 PM »
Not sure if you have this information from this source, i came across it tonight.
British table and ornamental glass by L.M Angus-Butterworth. Published 1956.
"In 1837 a pair of glass girandoles,or branching candlesticks, coloured yellow by a salt of uranium were presented to Queen Adelaide"
Tim

I wonder if the reference for these candelabra (L.M. Angus-Butterworth 1956) came from the wording in Harry J Powell's book - Glassmaking in England 1923?  I don't have the book but on searching online brought up this:
https://archive.org/stream/dli.bengal.10689.10443/10689.10443_djvu.txt
On page 131 of that book  (info from search on the internet) it says:
page 130 ...
'At the present time there are hundreds of varieties of glass, differing
from each other' in chemical composition. To this list the Whitefriars
Works have contributed a fair share. The advertisement of 1710 refers
to two varieties of flint-glass, ď best Ē and ď ordinary Ē: unfortunately the



... continuing on page 131

recipes have disappeared, but the two kinds probably differecf in the
quality of sand, or in the proportion of red-lead. Until the hampering
excise regulations had been withdrawn, little could be done towards the
scientific development of the industry. It is, however, recorded that in
1837 a pair of glass girandoles, coloured yellow by the addition of a salt
of uranium to the ordinary flint mixture, were presented to Queen
Adelaide.'


In reference to this, as I mentioned in my post here:
https://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,70066.msg391911.html#msg391911

it appears from what Barrie Skelcher wrote, that the candelabra were in fact silver with uranium glass droplets and presented in 1836.  So perhaps Harry J Powell and Barrie Skelcher were either writing about a different set of girandoles ... or used a different way of describing them,  as it seems unlikely two uranium glass sets would have been presented one year after the other?

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