Cluth glass According to the Collins Encylopedia (1974), Dresser designed these three vases, the tallest of which is 16 inches high, for J. Couper and Sons, Glasgow glass manufacturers who developed Clutha (or cloudy) glass around 1885. These examples date from about a decade later.

Dresser's designs for Clutha glass are especially featured in the anonymous Studio article on his work in 1899 (see bibliography). The designs illustrated in the Studio reveal a particular sympathy for the medium of blown glass and they show the consummate understanding of techniques that is Dresser's hallmark.

Dresser, writing on glass in the Technical Educator (1870-73) has the following to say: '. . . Glass has a molten state in which it can be blown into the most beautiful of shapes . . . this process . . . is the work of but a few seconds . . . if a material is worked in its most simple and befitting manner, the results obtained are more beautiful than those which are arrived at by any roundabout method of production.'

The shapes of Dresser's glass are frequently original. But sometimes based on the forms of ancient models. One of the shapes illustrated in the Studio article of 1899 derives from an early Peruvian vase, a shape that is used in some of the Linthorpe pottery designs (see cat. nos. 27 and 28) . Clearly Dresser was as interested in the colouring of glass as he was in experimenting with glazes, he appears also to have been influenced by the colouring of Roman and Middle Eastern glass.

It is assumed that Dresser's designs for James Couper & Sons' Clutha glass date from the mid-1890s.

(George Walton, 1867-1933, architect and designer, also produced designs for Clutha glass. Nikolaus Pevsner suggests WaIton's designs — far less inventive than Dresser's - as probably dating from the years 1897-98, Dresser's designs are probably earlier than this — see Nikolaus Pevsner, George Walton, Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 3rd series, vol. XLVI,1939 reprinted in Nikolaus Pevsner, Studies in Art, Architecture and Design, London, 1968.)


Victorian Web Homepage Visual Arts Victorian Design Christopher Dresser

Last modified January 2000