Friday, 16 April 2021

 For the past month I have been updating the Glass Encyclopedia pages, correcting errors in the links and adding new information. After 23 years of managing the Glass Encyclopedia and the Glass Museum websites I have realised something that requires some major changes to these sites.

The Glass Encyclopedia is a useful alphabetical list of glass topics where you can look up information on a very wide range of glass. It is easy to find answers to your questions about glass. The Glass Museum, on the other hand, has detailed and in many cases unique information about specialist types of glass (for example English Carnival Glass, Goofus Glass, the history of Art Glass Lampworking, etc). But unless you were looking for one of these types of glass, or visiting the Glass Museum on-line, you would not be aware of these very interesting articles.

So why not put the two together. I have started to incorporate the interesting material in the Glass Museum articles into the Glass Encyclopedia. And I think the result will be a very much improved Glass Encyclopedia, and much more easily accessible articles.This will benefit the authors of the articles, whose writing will be more widely read, and you the reader who will find all this information in a more accessible place.

This process is going to take quite a long time. The first combined page is about Cast Glass, and combines a brief account of cast glass with an article about the cast glass of Shona Firman, one of New Zealand's leading cast glass artist. You can find it at and here is an example of Shona's beautiful cast glass creations.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

The Very Rare Pirelli Glass Eagle


The very rare Pirelli Glass Eagle has made an appearance at last

So the story goes that Mick Munns was looking through the Pirelli glass items on sale on eBay one day last year, and he came across this eagle, which he recognised as a Pirelli eagle that he had made when he worked at Pirelli.

He contacted the seller (Pat Irons) and told her. She later told me that Mick had confirmed it was Pirelli. Now to the story, he told me about these eagles.

He made them during George Dunlop's time with Pirelli, and George brought a very valuable book about American birds into work and told Mick to copy this eagle from the book. Because it was an original edition of the book he wasn't allowed to take it to his workbench. He had to study the book and then go back to his bench and make what he had seen. 

The company used to employ salesmen who took samples round various shops to get orders, and the eagle was popular. However, Mick only made about 20 of them because the packing boxes Pirelli used for these eagles were not suitable, and too many of them were broken on their journeys. So Mick then started making them out of Pyrex-type glass (borosilicate glass) and these clear glass ones were much stronger and Mick remembers making a lot of them. 

Many years later after Pirelli had closed and Mick was employed by Wedgwood glass, he even made a few eagles for Wedgwood. I have seen his payslip from those days, so he was definitely employed making lampwork animals for Wedgwood, who marketed them with the name Flamecraft. We still have never seen a clear glass Pirelli eagle nor glass animals/birds with Flamecraft labels.

The top two pictures show 2 views of the coloured eagle and the only picture we have of the clear glass one below (which is a picture from a brochure the salesmen used to take round with them)

I have been working on my trilogy about Pirelli, Bimini, and Komaromy Glass for the past 20 years. After my introductory book on London Lampworkers, I published the Pirelli Glass book with Bob Martin in 2016, and the Bimini Book with Raymond Berger in 2019. The Komaromy Glass book with Christine Komaromy-Burley will be published early next year. Each of these books aims to be the definitive source about its subject, and when the Pirelli Glass book was published it included coloured photos and catalog pictures of the entire range of known Pirelli glass. Only one item that we didn't know about has since turned up - a square shallow dish with a Pirelli advertisement. 

"A thoroughly enjoyable, informative and illuminating text that gives an introduction and overview to the renowned London based glass lamp-workers Pirelli, Bimini and Komaromy. Illustrated with examples from the range of their beautifully crafted works. The text gives the reader guidance on how to identify the respective lamp-workers' hand in what many may consider as mere trinketure. To the informed collector/dealer however here is sound advice on how to ensure the authenticity of items they may own or be thinking of acquiring for pleasure or investment. Included are reminiscences from those connected personally and/ or professionally in London based lamp-working." -Alsretro, UK

"This is the 'go to' reference book if you are interested in Pirelli Glass. It offers collectors a comprehensive history of Pirelli glass and its makers, from its inception in the mid 40s to 1980 when the company closed. The book is filled with colour photographs, original black and white catalogue photographs, stories and a miriad of information on Pirelli and Vasart glass." -Jackie S, Canada

"After reading Angela Bowey’s encyclopedic book on “Pirelli Glass” I’ve been looking forward to her book on Bimini glass. The book is even better than I expected. It is a well written and informative and the pictures are fantastic. I learned so much about Bimini glass and its artists and how they fix into the history of the time .... " -Maxine, US


The Glass Encyclopedia is getting updated as I type. Take a look at this extensive source of information on glass.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Angela and Allan Port talk about Pirelli-Lassman

In April I was in Norfok, Virginia, US for the bi-annual Convention of the Paperweight Collectors' Association. Allan Port and I gave a talk about the glass paperweight-related objects made by the two companies Pirelli and Lassman using paperweights made by Vasart in Scotland. The most striking of these were the bar sets, three of which are pictured here. Each consisted of a satin lined case containing several barware items such as a corkscrew, bottle opener, jigger (two-sided measuring cup), can opener, bottle pourer-stopper. The one on the far right is gold plated, the other two chrome plated. The picture below shows Allan and I preparing to give our talk.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

 This is the most beautiful vase I have ever seen. Isn't it wonderful!

I couldn't afford to buy it, but when Jonathan Harris showed it to me at the National Glass Collectors' Fair some years ago, I took this photograph.

It was made by Jonathan at his glass studio in Shropshire, combining graal and cameo carving techniques. The procedure involves layers of hot coloured glass coated in clear crystal, rolled in coloured glass powders, and allowed to cool then carved, reheated, and more layers and more carving added, including layers of silver and gold leaf. When he worked with Richard Golding at Okra Glass (before his current studio) Jonathan's vases consisted of as many as eight layers, and since those days his work sometimes has even more layers.The result is totally stunning.

I can't afford a Jonathan Harris vase, but I do have a small collection of Mdina Glass and Isle of Wight Glass, made by Jonathan's family. Michael Harris who founded Mdina Glass on the Island of Malta and later founded Isle of Wight glass in the south of England, was Jonathan's father. Here's my little Isle of Wight Glass vase in their "Victorian" range.

 And here's the little label on its base.

I know, I know, it doesn't compare to the vase by Jonathan (above). But it is pretty and I believe the Victorian range was designed by Jonathan before he left Isle of Wight glass.

I have continued updating the Glass Encyclopedia this week, Maybe you have time to take a look -