three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair

 

 

Exhibition:
february 2018

Whitefriars cloudy, striped and swirled

Fabulous cloudy Whitefriars glass: lovely colour combinations and patterns in a range produced from the late 1920s until the end of the 1930s and designed by several of the factory's leading names, such as Harry, Marriott and Barnaby Powell and William Butler.

This exhibition is loaned mainly by Graham Hudson, a regular exhibitor at the fairs and a great collector of Powell glass. He has honed his collection over the years and now owns an exciting and comprehensive number of pieces, some of which are exceedingly rare.

There will be around forty items on display in the annexe off Hall 1. Graham is very knowledgeable and will be happy to talk to visitors about them - especially as one or two will be offered for sale!

Among the rarer pieces are some lovely Butler bowls in a variety of patterns and colours, a 17.5 inch tall possible lampbase and a green and blue powder bowl.

We are also including some 'mystery' pieces about which we have some limited information and are asking our visitors if they have any examples or any further knowledge.

In June 2016 there was an exhibition of Whitefriars glass held in Hinckley, Leicestershire called 'Whitefriars Revisited' which was curated by Chris Woolman. 

One of the visitors was the daughter of a Mrs. Catherine Smith who was an ex-Whitefriars employee who had worked at the factory between 1947 and 1952.


After further discussion it was learned that Mrs Smith had got along well with Tom Hill, one of the designer/makers at Whitefriars. The story revealed that he sometimes made small pieces for her in the firm's lunch break.


It appears that during the late 1940s/early '50s a range of 'cloudy-type' glass - often incorporating whorls similar to some Scottish glass - was introduced by Whitefriars (we don't know more than this - who it might have been produced for is also an unknown). Mrs. Smith was quite taken by the colours and shapes, so Tom made a few pieces especially for her which she kept and those were the pieces that her daughter took along to the exhibition.


This was exciting news because these items had appeared in small numbers at fairs and antique centres over the years and they were a mystery. Lots of possible attributions had been suggested - Stevens and Williams, Nazeing, Caithness and so on - but no one could come up with anything definite.


So...here are some of the pieces that have been 'put away' by one or two of us as it would now appear that the mystery has been solved. Obviously we'd like to know more, so if anyone has anything to add to our limited knowledge we'd be very, very pleased to hear from them.


Thank you, Mrs. Smith!

 

Cloudy Powell/Whitefriars glass is one of the most desirable ranges produced and when you see the stunning colourways all displayed together you will appreciate why that is.

Pictured here are the two exhibition cabinets, a green and yellow cloudy striped tumbler vase, the afore-mentioned pink lampbase and three cloudy green pieces - all unusual shapes.

Below also is a printout of a page from the Museum of London's Whitefriars archive which seems to show some of the shapes and two other catalogue pages on which two of the shapes - a vase and the bowl on the left of the image - are shown.

Come along to see the rest of this lovely exhibition and learn a little bit more about this highly collectable British glass.

 

Book Cover: Sklo: Czech Glass Design from the 1950s-70s, softback, 224 pages, £27

Cloudy green and yellow striped tumbler vase.

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Cloudy Exhibition - 'mystery' pieces are displayed on the lower two shelves bottom right.

 

 

 

 

Beranek Skrdlovice Vase
Cloudy pink lampbase ??
Beranek Skrdlovice Vase
Cloudy green pieces.
MOL archive drawing showing three of the shapes in the 'mystery' range, all of which were shown in the exhibition.
Bowl on left is one of the 'mystery' shapes; two examples in exhibition.

The above vase shape was included in exhibition of 'mystery' glass.