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Vase - Ruby Glass, England, 1860-1890 Object Reg. No: HT 22602

Ruby glass vase with fluted rim, probably manufactured in England, circa 1860-1890.

'Cut to clear', a decorative technique applied to glassware in the nineteenth century, involved dipping colourless glass into a coloured glass base while the object was being formed. When it came time to decorate the item, the glass cutter would cut deep patterns, often geometric, into the surface of the glass, removing the outer layer of coloured glass, and allowing the colourless base glass to show through.

Although it is thought that the Romans discovered the technique of producing ruby (sometimes known as cranberry) glass, it was not untilt he seventeenth century that it was 'rediscovered', rising in popularity during the Victorian period in the nineteenth century. Originally produced in Bohemia, the source for some of Europe's finest glassware at the time, by the 1850s glass manufacturers in England were also producing ruby glassware. Unlike the Bohemian produce, which has a very strong, deep red colour, English ruby glass tends to be softer, and at times almost pinkish in colour.

While various English glassworks applied the technique, the West Midland factories around Stourbridge were particular noted. At the 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition, the Stourbridge-based firm of Stuart and Sons were singled out in the Australian press for their fine display of glassware.

'The shading of the colours in all cases is marvellous', the Argus newspaper observed, 'considering the nature of the material in which such effects are obtained. Ruby glass is well represented, and there are some richly cut crystal lamps, of which Messrs. Stuart and Sons have made a specialty'.
Small, bulbous vase with fluted rim. No markings.
Acquisition Information:
Tax Donation from Dr Will Twycross, 2009
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 65 mm (Height), 75 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: exhibitions melbourne international 1880-1881, royal exhibition building, glass, decorative arts
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection, John Twycross Melbourne International Exhibitions Collection
Secondary Classification: International Exhibitions
Tertiary Classification: exhibition heritage
Place & Date Made: England, Great Britain, 1860-1890
Place & Date Exhibited: Royal Exhibition Building (REB), Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1880-1881
Collector: Mr John Twycross, Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia, 1881
References: Peter Cook, 'Collectors Corner', in Australian Women's Weekly, Wed., 9 August 1978, p.137
Argus, Melbourne Centennial Exhibition Supplement, Tues., 2 October 1888, p.46

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