Thursday, October 7, 2010

Object of the Day: An Antique Bristol Glass Vase

This elegant pedestal vase is in remarkably pristine condition. Of the many Bristol Glass pieces I’ve collected over the years, this is by far my favorite.

Porcelain-white Bristol glass has in an interrupted oval shape sits upon a delicately-turned base which has been banded in an antique silver-blue and gilt trim. The vessel is painted with a scene of brightly-colored birds amidst gold and white flowers and stalks. On the reverse, pale green palm trees in silhouette arc gracefully in a quintessentially Victorian pattern.

One of the things that most draws me to Bristol Glass is the architectural nature of its design. Graceful, yet solid forms such as this were the result of using a mold to shape the glass. I’m also attracted to the natural themes and scenes painted on these pieces. Victorian and Edwardian very much appreciated the beauty of nature and strove to bring the outside world into their homes. This took the form of painted and sculptural representations and, even, the slightly creepier, but nonetheless intriguing art of taxidermy. This was an era where “collecting” was a highly regarded sport. To surround yourself with beauty was a chief goal. I think that’s an ideal that we should strive to incorporate into our existence today.

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