17 October 2009 – 31 December 2010
The British glass industry underwent huge changes during the 20th century. In the early days leading Stourbridge factories employed hundreds of people, but by the turn of this century handmade glass on a factory scale had almost disappeared. This exhibition provides an overview of the main developments of the last century using a wide range of exhibits, from cocktail shakers to sculptures, pyrex to paperweights.
The exhibition features all the key Stourbridge factories, including Stevens & Williams, Thomas Webb & Sons, Webb Corbett, and Stuart & Sons, as well as lesser known ones such as Gray-Stan. Other well-known British companies featured include Monart, Caithness, Davidson, Jobling, Bagley and Chance.
The emerging role of the designer is revealed in works by key figures such as Keith Murray at Stevens & Williams, Geoffrey Baxter at Whitefriars, Frank Thrower at Dartington and Ronald Stennett-Willson at Wedgwood.
The exhibition also traces the rise of studio glass, from it's origins with Sam Herman and Michael Harris in the 1960s to the glass art of the turn of century. A selection of studio glass is on display, including the Museum's six Millennium Commissions created by some of the country's foremost glass artists - Tessa Clegg, Alison Kinnaird, Keiko Mukaide, Steven Newell, David Reekie and Bruno Romanelli.
This exhibition has been organised to coincide with the publication of 20th Century British Glass by Charles Hajdamach, former Director of Broadfield House Glass Museum and guest curator of this exhibition. The majority of exhibits are from the Museum’s own collection, supplemented with some loans from private collectors, and all are illustrated in the book, which is available for sale from the Glass Museum gift shop.
Top: Selection of 20th century glass by various British factories and studios. Image courtesy of Charles Hajdamach
Centre: 2001: A Human Oddity by David Reekie, 2000, Millennium Commission
Bottom: Book cover of 20th Century British Glass by Charles Hajdamach