Glass News from Angela, 29th July 2001

If this is the first time you have received my Glass Newsletter, welcome and I do hope you enjoy it.

The contents include: Vistosi art glass from Venice; Silhouettes reverse painted on glass from the art deco era; and how to confirm rare Davidson's cloud glass colors (eg Sepia and Briar/Topaz). We have some beautiful Davidson and Sowerby pieces on ebay, along with art glass from New Zealand. There are some books on glass that you may have missed, and a correction to some information we gave last time about the current glass exhibition in Bath. And we end with a few sensational ebay auction results that you may find entertaining.

1: Vistosi Glass: what was it that made this company so successful in the 50s and 60s? Basically they epitomised the simplistic style of post-war Europe, but added just a hint of traditional Venetian decoration to their pieces. They are most famous for their series of five Vistosi birds - geometric shaped glass bodies with spindly iron legs. We have a new page on the Glass Encyclopedia this week about Vistosi Glass which you can find at

2: Silhouettes on Glass: did you know they used to use real butterfly wings to create the background to some of the silhouette pictures popular in the 1920s-40s? The Brazilian government actually banned the practice, because species were threatened with extinction. The silhouettes were usually hand painted in black onto the reverse of a sheet of glass forming the front of the pictures. All kinds of backgrounds were added, most of them not made from butterfly wings; and there seems to be a growing collectors' market for these little pictures. There is another new page on the Glass Encyclopedia about these silhouette pictures on glass, which you can find at

3: Cloud Glass: there has been a great deal of discussion recently about some of the rare colors in cloud glass, such as sepia, violet, and briar/topaz. The issue is, were they really made by Davidson's or was it possible that some other manufacturer made them. France has been suggested as a possible source, but no-one has identified a French factory where it might have been made (or in any other country). There are definitely some false signatures around; there was a cloud glass piece signed Val St Lambert seen recently (a Belgian factory which has confirmed that they never made cloud glass).

So, why am I so sure that sepia, briar/topaz, and violet were in fact colors in cloud glass made by Davidson's and no-one else. Click here if you want to see a piece of Briar/Topaz cloud glass; and click here if you want to see a piece of Sepia cloud glass. Here are the steps in the logic, and the contributions to the proof:

a: There are numerous established Davidson designs, found in Davidson's catalogs and in traditional cloud glass colors, which are found in Briar/Topaz. For example the large flat flower bowl with turned in rim (number 20 in Davidson's 1928 catalog) and no. 1907, the little flower bowl with turned out rim. The feel and look of these pieces can leave you in no doubt they were made by Davidson's.

b: More convincing than this are the Davidon's patented flower frogs which appear in Briar/topaz. I have one here on my desk in that color which has on the back "Made in England Patent 7830/1910" - and that is a Davidson's registered patent number.

c: And if we needed any more convincing, Adam Dodds, who worked for Davidson's as chemist in the 1950s, remembers that color as a definite Davidson's cloud glass color.

So that establishes briar/topaz as a Davidson's cloud glass color. We currently have a piece of Briar/topaz on ebay for sale if you would like to see it, click here - ebay # 1257764125 (not long to go on that auction).

d: There was a Chippendale Glassware catalog produced by Davidson's in the 1930s, which shows several shapes which have been found in the Sepia color (tan colored clouds on a clear background, etched on one side). For example 1528, 54, 129, 1445 and 1210. This authenticates the sepia color. If you are interested in the sepia cloud glass piece we have for same on ebay, click here - ebay # 1257763951

e: In addition, there are several shapes which appear in briar/topaz cloud glass which also appear in sepia and in lilac. This authenticates those rare colors.

I hope that is all clear. One of these days I will put together an article showing the various shapes and colors I have referred to above.

4: On ebay this week we have some old glass as well as art glass pieces from New Zealand. I hope you can find something you like amongst them.

From Peter Raos there are three superb millefiori paperweights, two of them "Star o' the sea" marine paperweights, on ebay #1259890678 (with a black background) and on ebay #1259890484 (tan/amber background) plus there is a waterlilies paperweight with a lovely scene of a lily pond on on ebay #1259891007

From Garry Nash we have another paperweight which has a golden yellow base cushion with murrini's set around it, and a 22kt gold leaf fountain rising in the center, on ebay #1257766719

From Peter Viesnik we have another superb paperweight with white cala lilies against a cobalt blue base, on ebay #1257765050 . Also a paperweight in his "Sea-scape" series on ebay #1257766091 And just two of his beautiful stoppered bottles this week, - a stunning blue frosted on ebay # 1259892177 ; and another in shiny cobalt blue with murrini on ebay #1259891677.

Turning to the older pieces, we have a delightful little Victorian posy vase with the "Oranges and Lemons" nursery rhyme illustrated on the sides, by Sowerby's of Gateshead on ebay #1257763787. It has the Sowerby trademark and is from the 1880s.

The last two to mention, are the cloud glass pieces. A briar/topaz compote on ebay #1257764125 and a stunning sepia bowl on ebay #1257763951

They are all put up without reserve and so far most of them do not have any bids. The older pieces are ending quite soon, so you will need to be quick!

5: Exhibitions and Glass Shows:
a: First of all my apologies for giving the impression that the Swedish glass artists Bertil Vallien and Goran Warff were going to spend an entire month, seven hours a day, at Harrington Glass, 2-3 Queen Street, Bath. It was, nevertheless, a great exhibition I hear, and I hope those of you near Bath managed to fit in a visit.

b: Don't forget that the Glass Fair at the Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham (England) is on NOVEMBER 4th this year.

c: And the Chihuly exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, in Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London is still on until October 21st. I told you about this stunning exhibition in my last newsletter, and the number to ring for more information is: (UK) 020 7942 2000. email:

6: Here are some Books about Glass - for your information in case you missed them:
a: Encyclopedia of Silhouette Collectibles on Glass (May 1992) by Shirley Mace - still available and about the only book you can still get on this subject. Click here.
b:  Andrew Chaikin and Michael Monroe's book: Josh Simpson Glass Artist (May 2001) - Click here to read more about it.

7: Did you see this? - last but not least, did you see the following auctions (which have ended now) on ebay?
- a Tiffany vase put up for sale on behalf of a thrift store in Los Angeles to raise money for the Gateways Hospital, which sold for $7450. This was a very nice surprise for the Thrift Store and the person who kindly put it on ebay for them - if its still there its on ebay 1240586422.
- a can of water and a drinking glass which went for $14,000.02! on ebay #1165673508 with only two bidders. Can anyone explain that to me?
- one of those superb musical instruments made of glass bowls which didn't meet its reserve at a bid price of $9,600 - on ebay #1446604793

I do hope there was something interesting for you this week.
Very best wishes

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