three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair

Whitefriars.com Exhibition: September 2008

Tricorns And Moulds

Whitefriars.com is an interactive website dedicated to Whitefriars glass. It plays host to a large and enthusiastic community of Whitefriars glass collectors who have their own galleries on the site where they can post images of their collections. There are forums for discussion, argument and help with identification plus useful links and news sections. There is also information about the factory history and catalogues etc.

The following two paragraphs were written by two of the regular members, describing the site in their own words:

'Whitefriars.com was the brainchild of web designer and collector Steve Thompson. Started in 2003, it is now the major specialist resource site for collectors of Whitefriars glass. Packed with data, old catalogues, photos etc. it also has a lively active forum and a section for identifying glass. It is not afraid to discuss controversial issues such as fakes or copies of Whitefriars and the members are constantly alert and report any such issues openly. It is THE site to bookmark if you are a new collector in particular, but for the established collector or dealer there is always something new to learn.  Members include ex-Whitefriars workers whose knowledge is invaluable. It has become the "bible"  for anyone with an interest in this fabulous glass.'- Emmi Smith.

Peter McCarthy and his tricorn collection
Peter McCarthy and his tricorn collection

'Since its beginnings six years ago Whitefriars.com has evolved into a powerhouse of free information for long-term and novice collectors of Whitefriars Glass. Notable features amongst the archives include 'Is it Whitefriars' where an expert/s rates the authenticity of a given item. There are also catalogues dating from 1931 until 1980, 'mistaken identities' pages, 'members gallery' pictures and links to related websites including the Museum of London where a sizable collection of Whitefriars glass is held. The discussion forums are warm, friendly, informative and very popular - newcomers are welcome but need to register for membership (free) to join in. If you're interested go straight to www.whitefriars.com and follow the online instructions to register. If you have trouble contact the webmaster, Steve Thompson, by using the email form on the website.' - Pinky.

Orchestrated by members Steve Rayner, Patrick Hogan and Leni Simons, some of the contributors to the forums recently got together and organised themselves to buy several of the original Geoffrey Baxter moulds from a seller on ebay. They wanted to prevent the moulds falling into the wrong hands and being used to make fake Whitefriars vases.

They managed to raise sufficient funds to cover half of the cost and Harrow Museum agreed to provide the remainder. The moulds will be on display at the museum.

The Whitefriars group raised the money by holding ebay auctions of glass contributed by members and this got them off to a good start. They then had a table at the Stourbridge Glass Fair where they raised more funds and this helped them to achieve their goal. A valiant effort all round! They also exhibited some of the moulds plus examples of fake Whitefriars vases which proved of great interest to both collectors and dealers.

At the September Cambridge Glass Fair they again displayed the moulds and fakes and in addition they staged a marvellous exhibition of Whitefriars tricorn vases loaned by collector Peter McCarthy, who has supplied some details below.

Tony Wigg, one of the forum members, made a video of the Whitefriars.com day at the fair. Click here to see the video on YouTube.

The Tricorn Collection.

Tricorns
Tricorns
Moulds
Moulds
The tri-cornered vase, or Tricorn, is a true classic from the design book of the great Geoffrey Baxter – a simple and minimal form that is as modern today as it ever was. The true strength of its design ensured that it became one of the Whitefriars factory's most enduring models, surviving from its debut in the early

1960s until the closure of the factory in 1980. Because of this longevity it is also one of the most prolifically coloured designs in the Whitefriars' catalogue with a total of 20 unique colours recorded and displayed at Cambridge on the Whitefriars.com table. From the classic Twilight and Ocean Green to the vibrant Kingfisher and Meadow Green, the complete collection was displayed along with several rarities and 'friggers' such as Amethyst, Tangerine and Copper Brown.

Rare tricorn vases
Rare tricorn vases

The undisputed 'King of the Tricorn' has to be Ray Annenberg, a 27-year veteran of Whitefriars and Gaffer at its closure in 1980. His influence can be seen in the later Tricorns' more defined shape and stronger lines. Recently he took time at the 'Whitefriars Days', organised by the Aaronson-Noon studio, to demonstrate how he made them, and a few lucky people now own Tricorns made 28 years after the Whitefriars furnace was extinguished.

The collection of Tricorns displayed at Cambridge has come together over the past 15 years. I collect them partly because of my love of the design but also because of their affordability in this time of ever-increasing prices of art glass and the fact that they look superb in numbers. I have collected them through a variety of sources, but none more so than the Whitefriars.com website where Whitefriars collectors from around the country (and the world) have added some of the most rare colours to my collection.

The Whitefriars.com members will be offered a table and exhibition space at future Cambridge Glass Fairs and already have plans for some exciting displays.

exhibition highlights

  • Early amethyst tricorn vase

  • Rare tangerine tricorn

  • Ray Annenberg tricorns

  • Rare copper brown tricorn

 

Note: Images supplied by Patrick Hogan and Peter McCarthy.

 

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