three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair


Foyer Exhibition:
February 2005

Powell Drinking Glasses

Wine Glass by Harry Powell
Wine glass, shallow cut with stylised rose pattern; designed by Harry Powell, early 1900's

In 1834, James Powell, a London wine merchant, acquired a small glassworks producing domestic flint glass. Although there had previously been other glasshouses in the area, these particular premises had been in existence since c1720. They were situated on the North bank between the Thames and Fleet Street on land known as Whitefriars because it previously belonged to the Carmelite order of 'white' friars.

Goblet designed by Harry Powell.
Goblet designed by Harry Powell; illustrated in The Art Journal, 1889.

Powell appears to have bought the business for his three sons, Arthur, Nathaniel and John, and it went on to become one of the most distinguished, innovative and influential manufacturers of glass in Britain. During its long history the factory experimented with various aspects of glassmaking including stained glass, table glass and industrial glass, and it was this distinctive curiosity and ability to adapt which ensured the company's continued success until its closure in 1980. With its demise went an historic and important manufacturer whose output is still proving inspirational and which remains both highly desirable and collectable.

The Cambridge Glass Fair is extremely pleased to have loan of Robert Marris' private collection for this foyer exhibition and also his expertise in the staging and preparation.

The exhibition will display over seventy items, spanning the earlier T.G. Jackson designs through to the Harry Powell era with some of his Roman-inspired creations.

Also included are some of the few remaining items from the four hundred-piece suite designed in 1906 by Harry Powell for the Italian diplomat, Count Minerbi.

This will be a rare opportunity to see some of these fine and covetable pieces from some of Powell's most highly-regarded designers.

'Poppy Head' wine glass.
'Poppy Head' wine glass probably designed by Harry Powell, c 1900

Robert Marris is a regular exhibitor at the fair, specialising in high quality English and Irish glass. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the exhibition and his collection.

A list of highlight items from the exhibition can be found below.

exhibition highlights

  • rare decanterblue and straw opalescent items

  • a Zurich cup

  • pieces from the Count Minerbi suite

  • T.G. Jackson pieces

  • goblets with foil stems

  • Roman-cut glasses

  • classic Harry Powell designs


Note: Images supplied by Andy McConnell and Circaglass.


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