Antique Stourbridge Glass is renowned throughout the world for lead crystal of the finest purity and quality. Some of the finest services of lead crystal decanters and wine glasses ever produced were manufactured by Thomas Webb & Sons, Stevens & Williams, H. G. Richardson & Sons and several other manufacturers. Although tableware was their main output and source of revenue, the period from circa 1875 to the 1920s saw the introduction and development of decorative coloured glass into their portfolios.
The aim of this website is to record for posterity the development of antique Stourbridge art glass, the people who had the vision to support its production and the designers and artist who had the skills to produce it. It will concentrate primarily on the decorative art glass produced by Stevens& Williams and Thomas Webb and Sons.
Records of their work are sparse and not always readily available; this site will endeavour to share what information has been gathered by the author over years of collecting and research of antique glass, as well as identify sources for further study.
In describing and illustrating individual techniques and items of antique glass made in the Stourbridge area it will only make attributions to individuals or factories based on existing records and factual archive materials. Hopefully it will provide sufficient information and detail to enable an informed judgement to be made on the myriad of pieces incorrectly attributed to, and sometimes carrying incorrect signatures of, these factories.
Stourbridge art glass was emulated by glass producers throughout the world, in some cases instigated by emigrating Stourbridge artisans. Although similar in nature the styles produced were often developed in their own right and not copies. One exception to this was the Bohemian glass factory of Harrach who produced identical styles of art glass to those of the Stourbridge factories. An introduction to Stourbridge glass will assist in its identification.
The popularity of this type of art glass resulted in the establishment of many small producers who aimed their production at the masses and consequently did not attain the quality or finesse of the main factories. Some like Harrop and Smart Brothers produced decorative art glass for the larger factories. The differences between these variants of decorative glass will be outlined so that a judgement on their merits and investment potential can be made.
The task to meet the aims of this site is enormous and will mean that the content will develop over time. It will also provide a vehicle for others with relevant substantiated research to contribute.