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“Carder” Design Reassigned

All About Glass

Figure 1In 1959, The Corning Museum of Glass received a large group of objects as a gift from Frederick Carder, the retired director of the Steuben Glass Works. Most of these had been made at Steuben in Corning, New York, but some were English. Most of the English pieces came from Stevens & Williams of Brierley Hill, near Stourbridge, where Carder had been a designer from 1880 until 1903, the year he came to Corning to manage Steuben.

One of the English objects was a metal candlestick / flower holder with glass inserts, which the museum catalogued as having been made by Stevens & Williams [59.2.8] (Fig. 1). In 1998, when Royal Brierley Crystal, the successor company to Stevens & Williams, sold the collection from its company museum, we purchased a similar but much larger centerpiece / flower holder that was supposed to be a Carder design [98.2.10] (Fig. 2), and it has been displayed in our Carder Gallery since 2000. The design of this object matched that of the other flower center, but it was more elaborate, and we thought it was an outstanding sample of Carder’s English work.

Figure 2

However, a close examination of the flower center we received from Carder revealed a design number of 409769, which was registered to the firm of John Walsh Walsh of the Soho and Vesta Glass Works in Birmingham, England, in May 1903. The design was called “Water Lily,” and it was made in several sizes and variations. The Walsh firm advertised this design in the August 1903 issue of The Pottery Gazette, and the object shown in Figure 2 here was illustrated in the advertisement.

The candlestick / flower holder in Corning may have been a gift to Carder as he prepared to leave England for a new career in the United States. However, he may have purchased it as an example of good design.

Both objects are elegant works from the Arts and Crafts Movement and good additions to our collection. The Walsh firm was founded in Birmingham in 1850, and it lasted until 1951. It produced mostly blown table wares. While Walsh was never as large as the better-known Thomas Webb & Sons and Stevens & Williams / Royal Brierley Crystal, it did register a number of original designs in the 1880s and in the early 20th century.

Jane Shadel Spillman
This article was published in the Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. 51 (2009), 237–238.

Published on January 21, 2013

Jane Shadel Spillman
Jane Shadel Spillman joined the Museum in 1965 and in 1978 became the Museum’s curator of American glass. She retired from this position in April 2013. Spillman has published numerous articles and books, including European Glass Furnishings for...