three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair


Foyer Exhibition:
February 2010

An Englishman Abroad: The Designs Of Ernest Gordon

A Kosta cased vase

The February 2010 foyer exhibition will feature a private collection of around sixty pieces celebrating the work of the British designer Ernest Gordon for the Swedish factories of Åfors and Kosta.

Ernest Gordon Adsetts was born in Sheffield on Boxing Day, 1926.

From 1941- 44 he studied sculpture at the Sheffield College of Art, where he met the sculptor George Fullard, and was later awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in South Kensington.

He worked closely with George at the RCA and shared a studio with him in the King's Road, Chelsea.

In early 1951, they were commissioned to make models of Queen Shu-bad's harp and a Celtic chariot for a display at the Festival of Britain, and in 1953 they modelled a piece called "All the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men" for the Coronation cavalcade in that year's Ideal Home exhibition.

He went to Stockholm in early 1954 to work in glass, first designing for Kosta with Vicke Lindstrand, and then later that year for Åfors, where he worked until 1961. He was known as Ernest Gordon whilst working in Sweden.

Ernest Gordon’s designs in glass were wide and varied, with a quality comparable to items coming out of the other great Swedish glass factories, and in particular the works of Vicke Lindstrand when he was at Kosta. However, of the many techniques he utilised there are two most commonly represented in his designs: a controlled bubble technique in black, using soot to create a myriad of small bubbles as a
Engraving of a vaquero on horseback
background, and detailed engravings, covering many subjects and styles and often showing a whimsical side. Ernest moved back to the UK and started the English part of the Swedish firm Konstsmide and remained a director of Konstsmide Uk Ltd until his retirement.

He continued designing lighting and the famous Swedish candlesticks for Konstsmide. He also together with his wife Lisbeth build up a successful retail shop selling the Swedish lighting and Christmas decorations.

Ernest was both a painter and sculptor and a teacher of fine art. He loved nature and wildlife. He was also involved in local politics.

Ernest died aged 81 in July 2008.

This is the first time such a comprehensive exhibition of his work has been held and the collection, kindly loaned by Gareth Taylor, a collector of Scandinavian glass for 20 years, has been put together since January 2005. When he started collecting Ernest's work, there was very little information about him available.


Ernest Gordon

(image credit: Christina Walla)

Gareth met Ernest and Lisbeth in 2007 and gave them a small booklet he'd had printed showing around 100 of his pieces. He has been unable to find any catalogues of Ernest's designs from either Afors or Kosta and has been re-creating them from the examples he has found. He hopes to publish a book on Ernest Gordon's work in the near future.

exhibition highlights

• Unique Ariel pieces

• Kosta Colora vase

• 'The Water Carrier' and 'Noah', unusual engraved vases



Image of the exhibition










Note: All images supplied by Gareth Taylor