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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 3 : Enamelled opaline glass vase in quatrefoil form by Thomas Webb, decorated in the “Moroccan Style"
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Enamelled opaline glass vase in quatrefoil form by Thomas Webb, decorated in the “Moroccan Style" - MS.898

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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Thomas Webb, the son of a successful Stourbridge farmer, became partner in several glassworks in the Stourbridge area near Birmingham, in the first half of the 19th century. Around 1860 he changed the company's name to Thomas Webb and Sons and welcomed into the business his two sons, Thomas and Charles. The company progressively specialised in high quality engraved crystal glass, creating also a niche demand coloured glass. Frederick E. Kny, a Bohemian master glass engraver moved to England and worked for Webb from 1860 until 1896. He joined the company at the age of 27 and had his own separate workshop within the Webb factory. William Fritsche, another Bohemian master glass engraver, joined Thomas Webb and Sons at the age of 15 in 1868, and he too had his own workshop within the factory until he died in 1924. Kny and Fritsche were among the most famous and successful of the crystal glass engravers at Thomas Webb's, and examples of their artefacts can be found today in the world's leading glass museums, including the V&A Museum in London and the Corning Museum in the USA. In 1876 Thomas Webb and Sons commissioned the "Pegasus" vase (also known as the Dennis vase) from the English glassmaker John Northwood, which took six years to complete, and was shown by Thomas Webb's in an unfinished state at the Paris International Exhibition in 1878. In that same International Exhibition Thomas Webb & Sons were the only company awarded a Grand Prix for glass and the official catalogue proudly described the company as "the best makers of Crystal Glass in England, and consequently in the world". Opaline glass is a decorative style of glass made in France from 1800 to the 1890s, though it reached its peak of popularity during the reign of Napoleon III in the 1850s and 1860s. The glass is opaque or slightly translucent, and can appear either white or brightly colored in shades of green, blue, pink, black, lavender and yellow. The glass has a high lead content which defined it as "demi-crystal" or semi-crystal. The primary influences on this style of glass were 16th century Venetian milk glass, and English white glass produced in 18th century Bristol. Many different pieces were produced in opaline glass and cities involved in the production included Le Creusot, Baccarat, and Saint-Louis, Réunion, as well as various locations in England. All opaline glass is hand-blown, without any seams nor any machine engraving. Many pieces of opaline glass are decorated with gilding, some with hand-painted floral motifs or birds, whereas several have bronze ormolu mounts, rims, hinges or holders. - (MS.898)


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