INNOVATIVE Oxfordshire dealers The Country Seat may be best known as furniture specialists, but they are increasingly turning their focus towards 19th and 20th century design.
Now regular exhibitors at specialist glass fairs for instance, they will be showing Whitefriars glass at the fourth Cambridge Glass Fair at Chilford Hall Vineyard, Linton, Cambridgeshire this Sunday (September 12). Amongst the items they will be offering are this Whitefriars amethyst vase designed by James Hogan, patent no. 8975 for which they are asking £595.
This follows their series of three highly successful selling exhibitions of Whitefriars glass held at their premises at Huntercombe Manor Barn, near Henley over the last couple of years. Harvey Ferry and Willie Clegg, who comprise The Country Seat, brought together hundreds of vases, bowls, ashtrays and other objects from the Whitefriars ranges from the 19th century right through to the final closing of the glassmakers in 1980.
The most recent exhibition was entitled Glass Act: Act 3, a show staged last autumn which focused on the final phase in the 300-year history of the British firm, covering the post-war period and through the 1960s and 1970s.
Whitefriars' style and creativity for this period was dominated by Geoffrey Baxter, a designer trained at the Royal College of Art who joined the firm in 1954.
His imaginative ideas spawned such memorable design statements as the Banjo vase and Drunken Bricklayer, combining psychedelic hues of tangerine, kingfisher, indigo and ruby with new textured surfaces.
Scandinavian style endured, using simple shapes, like a plump penguin rendered with colours such as ocean green, arctic blue, twilight and others redolent of northern climes.
By the 1970s new subtle colours became technically feasible and we were offered lilac, marine and heather. Sometimes the colours were streaked or cased, which means putting one colour inside another in the manner of cameos.
Wave patterns and bubbles were created and a new knobbly texture was developed by glassblower Harry Dyer who worked with the designer William Wilson in the 1960s.