Glass collector Richard Burtonshaw, who is launching a new glass fair at the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge, pictured with Lorraine Kenny, the heritage and outreach manager for the Ruskin Mill Trust.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

A new ‘glass act’ is set to blow into the spiritual home of British glassmaking with the start of a new glass fair. As Premier Glass Fairs, Richard Burtonshaw is launching the already sold-out event on Sunday, October 22, at the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge.

Along with many others in the glass world, Burtonshaw, a passionate collector of Czech post-war glass, was deeply disappointed when Specialist Glass Fairs announced in 2020 that its long-running and well-supported events were closing.

The cancellations and future uncertainties around the Covid pandemic were to blame.

However, Burtonshaw was reluctant to accept defeat. As background to the launch, he told ATG: “I am being made redundant next year from my job as a quality assurance manager in the food industry and - approaching 60 - didn’t want to go back to full-time employment.

“Speaking to glassmaker Vic Bamforth, whose studio is at the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge, I learned that the centre was keen to hold a glass fair. The word went out to the glass community and the available space quickly sold out. We have 57 dealers and makers taking 74 pitches and I’m still getting enquiries.”

In the mix

This will be a mix of the contemporary, the vintage and the antique. Dealers in the line-up include Nigel Benson, Andrew Lineham, Marris Antiques, Richard Stephenson and Stephen Hazel Smith.

Internationally known studio glassmakers exhibiting at the fair include Ewa Wawrzyniak, Siddy Langley and Timothy Harris of Isle of Wight Glass.


Timothy Harris of Isle of Wight Glass pictured in his workshop.

“The studio glassmaking community is in desperate need of this fair so here’s to new beginnings and hoping it’s a huge success for all involved,” said Harris.

Glass artist Vic Bamforth agrees, saying: “It’s great news that Richard Burtonshaw has taken the initiative to set up a new glass fair. There will be a wide cross-section of glass spanning the centuries.

“The Ruskin Centre is a perfect venue as not only is it the former site of Webb Corbett but also hosts the British Glass Biennale, the flagship exhibition of the International Festival of Glass.”


Bob Marris of Marris Antiques, dealer in antique English and Irish glass, offers this 1863 Pepe Port bin label priced at £150. It is one of 23 bin labels from Kentwell Hall in Suffolk.

Design too

Burtonshaw said: “If it’s a success, I hope to hold a glass fair every year. Looking forward, I’m looking to host a larger fair along the lines of a design fair to include ceramics, art and interior design and am actively looking at venues.”

Specialist Glass Fairs was run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Christina Bishop for close to 20 years. They started their first fair with collector Graham Cooley at the Cambridge Guildhall in 2003 as Oxbridge Fairs and in 2008 took over Patricia Hier’s Specialist Glass Fairs.

The National Glass Collectors’ Fair at the National Motorcycle Museum, established by Hier in 1991, ran until 2019. Other fair venues used by the Bishops included Chilford Hall Vineyard, Knebworth House and Ickworth House.

Paul said: ‘We wish the new glass fair well and we will certainly be going along to support it.”