Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Old New England Glassware in the Home - Part Thirty-One (B) - "The Lilies Continue"

Old New England Glassware in the Home

Part Thirty-One (B)

"The Lilies Continue"

            Pushing hard on the home décor button on one’s smart phone? 
In the 1880’s old school New England glass men... ‘went art’.  MOST of the foundation move from... glassware... to... art... glassware... is riddled with Victorian influence ‘in design’.  No surprise for a design innovation ... of a pure expression... ‘takes time’.  BUT... MAY WE... discern a... ‘pure expression’ right THEN; a ‘stand alone’ “YEAH THAT” of an art... design... ‘in glassware’ from the 1880’s; a right THEN?

Is there ever a
For the knowing eye (I). 

This ‘sweetheart it is’... is a ‘comes with’ a long and ...within collector circles... of American Art Glass (AAG)... respected... design heritage.  The ‘sweet heart’ is the “Lily” or “Trumpet” “vase”.  In... ‘Amberina’ glass.  This means TWO design innovations; the Lily vase glassware FORM and the Amberina glassware COLOR... of a glass... ware... NOT IN THE HOME.  The Lily vase form is a ‘tall’ blossom-at-the-top free-blown... rib molded (on a true early Amberina Lily)... free-form, ‘stretched’ with its opening and hand pulled blossom at the top above an ever widening vase body all set upon a classic ‘disk base’ bottom... IN a ‘gold’ color beginning at this bottom and rising to turn in color to a rich... rich, rich (the richer the better)... deep... CRANBERRY... red... at the top.  Polished pontil on the bottom.  Appearing in many sizes (“tiny” to “giant”) but ALWAYS the same... form... and color...

            After visual introduction the next ‘step’ is ‘handling’ and that handling carries a glass student’s “I” (eye) back in time to the earlier era of New England glassware... in the home... of the pre-blown-mold era.  But ...here-now (1880’s)... we, in our hands... feel... ‘wonderful’

            Again... it is not ‘in the home’.  It was made for the home; to be in the home, but... very few homes ‘did that’.  I mean... like... zero.  What does that mean?  I have been going into homes for fifty years looking for Lilies and... ‘never find them’.  Like... once... like a quarter of a century ago... one woman who I’d SHOWN ONE TO (a lily) showed up before me ‘with one’; a small and ‘of weak color’ one.  That’s it.  NO ONE... unless they are an ‘I KNOW’ dealer or collector who... ‘is around’ ‘in lilies’.  PURE BLIND CHANCE... is the... of there being one to “FIND” in a HOME.  I mean:  “FORGET IT”.  But they are out there.  But, again, even those are... “MOSTLY BEEN” ‘collected’.

            “You gotta be crazy in the old houses” to find one.  What does THAT mean?  It means you (the antiquarian picker at work in the... well to do undisturbed single family ownership Victorian home) come through the dining room into the front parlor and across the room to, when you glance back at the fireplace and its mantel, YOU (and only you) spy a “small one” lily on that mantel and
            Say nothing... and don’t need to ‘go over and pick it up’.  “Steady boy”.  That’s about it.  A true ‘giant’ one... would be, like, on the ‘turtle top’ (scalloped oval) marble top LARGER THAN USUSAL Victorian ‘walnut’ ‘occasional’ ‘table’.  Like sitting dead center on that in the window so to... catch the light... and blow that picker’s art eye ‘away’.  We are not talking juice glass here.  Early American Art Glassware ‘in the home’ is a proclamation of its self and THAT ALONE.  No one’s lips touch the rim of a lily vase.  Only the eye dances with the color.  That eye tells tales of all of what one will feel... should one ‘handle it’.

            Then it is over; done.  That is what (early) American art glass (AAG) does.  That:  Decorate American Victorian parlors.  Until the cat knocks it over and it is smashed.  And the broken pieces are thrown out.  On the dump.  Up in the corner of the pasture ‘over’ the stonewall.  This never happens.
            There was never an Amberina lily vase in that home. 

            One modest addition to note:  The lily form is ‘anticipated’ as a design form in Early New England glassware... in the home... well before the Civil War.  The vase form... of the lily ‘shows up’ as an equal sized CLEAR GLASS but ‘more open’ free-blown rib molded tall ‘table vase’; an Empire style decorative table center ‘flower vase’.  They came in many sizes.  The ‘big ones’ are the rarest survival.  They... ‘got broken’.  They are, unless one finds the ‘base’ piece, difficult glass fragments to discern on the dump.  The pieces look like ‘clear glass nothings’.  Anyway; the point is that the lily form was ‘anticipated’.  It; the true Amberina lily form... is... (notice this) a ‘radical’ “interpretation” of this early vase.  The whole thing (the lily vase) is ‘ramped up’ in form so it has a ‘real arty’ ‘stand alone’ and a “vah-voom” ‘presence’.  That’s enough art (?)... boy and girls(?) 

            Just ‘go with it’; it’s easier.  IF... you should... chance upon one... look at it, handle it, try to buy it (presuming it IS an ‘early one’ and one does know that).  IF... you should... chance upon... a ‘collected’ one... look at it, handle it, beg to be indulged by the owner and... ‘pick’ the owner’s ‘brain’.  IF ONE is...
            In one’s lifetime
            A ‘steps out’ (buys a real one from a real dealer for a ‘real money’ price) and owns one...
            “Don’t worry you’ll be fine”.
            ENJOY IT.
            And don’t expect anyone... ever... to “that”.
            Unless, of course, if one is ‘in and about’ an “I KNOW” collector-dealer people moment.
            They are; the lilies, a ‘precious cargo’ of the antiquarian “New England Decorative Arts”.  Just file this away.

            The lilies are ‘all over the place’ in museums.  EVERY ‘New England’ (American) glass collection “HAS TO HAVE ONE”.  And do.  And they are usually in plain-sight-obvious on display.  YOU... will notice them now.  LIKE... in Maine... the Portland Museum of Art has theirs ‘on display’ with their ‘best in the state’ New England Glass collection... display... that is
            On the lower level...
            Down past the toilets.
            I know... you... went... (literally)... down there but... ah... ‘missed that’; the glass collection display.
            Better luck next time... and I add:  A REAL... REAL lot of what I’ve harped on in this essay is, by specimen, ‘on display’ ‘there’... TOO.
            And again:  The toilets are there TOO.
            One stop shopping.  I think they sell the food (“FOOD COURT”) there too... too.
            I have not ‘eaten there’.  But I ALWAYS look at the ‘old glassware’.

            I’m, like, “THE BENNINGTON MUSEUM!” too.  A lurking giant of ‘small museums... but... ‘disturbed’.  I’m not gonna spend a lot of time on this; just lay it out and ‘walk’.  “Bennington” used to be an old school display case cluttered ‘bailed in there’ display of ... among other design mediums, Early American Glassware but... has ‘since (I was a little boy) modernized’ to... make the displays less comprehensive and more educational so that means a real, real, real... lot of the “THEIR STUFF” is ‘put away’ and can no longer be viewed by the ‘crazy’ glassware collectors.  Sorry to be old school about this visit problem... but it is a problem.  I like old style cluttered museums with their ‘crud’ in ‘cases’ preferably having strain-to-read “OLD HAND WRITTEN” in ink “LABELS” from, like... “THE CIVIL WAR”.
            For example of clutter... Bennington ‘used to’ and ‘still does’ (?) have a multi-tier standing-in-the-round glassware display of just... EAPG... goblets.  JUST... (hundreds of)... EAPG... Goblets... with each having its pattern name and... nothing else.  OLD school antiquarians like I “KNEW THIS” so would “USE” this display to “IDENTIFY” the patterns of our EAPG by... GOING TO THE MUSEUM to ‘do that’.  OTHER (like ‘New England redware’) cluttered collections “AT BENNINGTON” were “one can too”.  Now, in line with ‘new’ museum schooling, they’ve ah... ‘fixed that’; their ‘cluttered look’.
            BUT, I be dammed, the... NEW-NEW-Newest... school is to...
            NOW again display the ‘clutter’ of the ‘cases’ jammed full style AGAIN so... LIKE... ‘the Met’ and “Deerfield” ...and “CORNING” (glass museum) all NOW have a special area of  their “EVERYTHING WE HAVE IS ON DISPLAY IN THE CASES WOW!” ‘study area’ for
            The crazy collectors
            To ‘be able’ to

            For the ‘such as I’ antiquarian... this is WONDERFUL.
            But away from the original point I was making:
            ‘The lilies are easily found on display at “ALL” top museum collections of ‘Early American Glass’... ware (“Don’t forget Toledo!”).

            And again, I ‘additional note’.  To no surprise and do please notice... OTHER ‘types’ of AAG too... have the lily form vase.  For example, one may find a ‘lily vase’ in ‘Burmese’ ‘glass’.  AND OTHER (art) “GLASS”.  Fine.  No problem.  Except
            That ‘Amberina’ ‘lily’ is the leader of the pack for...
            It does it best.
            The other glass types are ‘that’s very nice’ but the ‘Amberina’ (with the rich... rich, rich... (richer the better)... deep...  CRANBERRY... red...:
            It does it best.
            Again; just go with it, you’ll be fine.  Especially if one ‘owns one’.  Do not ‘come up short’ with a ‘ONE LIKE IT’.  One wants the real thing.

            Ok... now... we are at the rainbow end and the pot of gold that is, oddly affirmed by a tech note that ‘Amberina’ “GLASS” is “MAKES THAT COLOR” because there “IS GOLD IN THE GLASS”.  I don’t need to talk about that:  JUST STICK TO obvious (to the eye) QUALITY and... good stuff and good taste WILL FOLLOW YOU.
            This means ‘so here we stand’.  The lilies back-door-slam where the juice glass design glassware ‘New England Destiny’ comes from.  Art ...of glassware goes one way and New England glassware in the home goes... “THAT WAY” (recycle bin grade design).
To this day. 
And it is not
            Going away.

            Am I done?  Pretty much.  Except for lambasting one’s taste some more... or should I call it a ‘market’ (commercial) ‘survey’... of the whole of this (old New England glassware in the home) with this...coming along of its self to, oddly, be a sort of philosophical ‘expression’... when applied in the field (one and one’s ‘out and about with’ ‘old’ glassware ‘everyday’).  If that sounds like it has a little “Yikes!” in it... it does.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the words. For some reason, from days long gone by, I mainly remember the "strain-to-read, old, hand written, in ink, labels". They told me of the things that I wanted to know about, even if only a name. Today I cannot picture the objects yet I can picture the labels, another of my many failings.