Clutha thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

Clutha

Vase
ca. 1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This shape is sometimes called 'double gourd'. Dresser was keenly interested in Japanese art and design and this shape derives from Japanese (and Chinese) vases. Mottled, bubbled glass became popular as excavated Roman glass took hold of designers' imagination. Like most 'art pottery' this is a sculptural work first and foremost.

Place
'Clutha' is the ancient, Roman name for a river god and the River Clyde. This vase was made by James Couper & Sons in Glasgow, which stands on the Clyde. Dresser's bubbled, Roman-style 'Clutha' glass was sold exclusively through the avant-garde shop, Liberty's in London, which registered it in 1888.

People
Dresser's glass was sold by the London shop Liberty's, founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty as an emporium, importing goods from Asia. Soon Liberty's turned to British design, pioneering the Aesthetic style and then the shop's own version of art nouveau, known abroad as Stile Liberty.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Blown coloured glass
Brief Description
'Clutha' vase, designed by Christopher Dresser, for James Couper and Sons, Glasgow, ca.1899.
Physical Description
Vase of pink with yellowish bands. The bulbous lower part narrows to the base of a tall thin neck, flaring slightly at the mouth.
Dimensions
  • Height: 46.7cm
  • Diameter: 19.8cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 05/10/2000 by ET
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'Clutha / Designed by CD / Registered' (etching (corroding))
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Dresser's blown 'Clutha' glass is deliberately bubbled and streaked in daring colours with irregular metallic streaks or foils, imitating the effects of Roman and Venetian glass. It was sold by the famous London department store, Liberty's, and attracted considerable attention in the press for its artistic merit and originality.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Designed by Christopher Dresser (born in Glasgow, 1834, died in Mulhouse, France, 1904); made by James Couper & Sons, Glasgow



Historical significance: 'Clutha' glass is deliberately bubbled and streaked in daring colours and is permeated with irregular metallic streaks or foils, imitating the effects of Roman and Venetian glass. Vases with elongated slightly bent necks were inspired by Japanese, Persian and Indian water sprinklers acquired by the South Kensington Museum during the 1870s and 1880s. Clutha glass was shown alongside Sowerby's Art Glass at an exhibition organised by the Art Furnishers' Alliance in 1882. The show attracted considerable attention in the press and the Cabinet Maker announced, 'A new kind of glass of English manufacture which in point of artistic merit and originality promises to rival the finest examples of the old Venetian glass-blowers.'
Historical context
Dresser's 'Clutha' art glass was retailed by Liberty's.
Summary
Object Type
This shape is sometimes called 'double gourd'. Dresser was keenly interested in Japanese art and design and this shape derives from Japanese (and Chinese) vases. Mottled, bubbled glass became popular as excavated Roman glass took hold of designers' imagination. Like most 'art pottery' this is a sculptural work first and foremost.

Place
'Clutha' is the ancient, Roman name for a river god and the River Clyde. This vase was made by James Couper & Sons in Glasgow, which stands on the Clyde. Dresser's bubbled, Roman-style 'Clutha' glass was sold exclusively through the avant-garde shop, Liberty's in London, which registered it in 1888.

People
Dresser's glass was sold by the London shop Liberty's, founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty as an emporium, importing goods from Asia. Soon Liberty's turned to British design, pioneering the Aesthetic style and then the shop's own version of art nouveau, known abroad as Stile Liberty.
Bibliographic References
  • Halén, Widar. Christopher Dresser. Oxford: Phaidon, Christies, 1990. pp.189-199.
  • Trumble, A. and Wolk Rager, A (eds.) Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.p.306
  • Arwas, Victor and Newell, Susan. The Art of Glass : Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Windsor, England : Andreas Papadakis Publisher, 1996No. 9A303
Collection
Accession Number
C.146-1977

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record createdDecember 13, 1997
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