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Vase - Clutha
  • Clutha
    Christopher Dresser, born 1834 - died 1904
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Clutha

  • Object:

    Vase

  • Place of origin:

    Glasgow, Scotland (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Christopher Dresser, born 1834 - died 1904 (designer)
    James Couper & Sons (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Blown coloured glass

  • Museum number:

    C.146-1977

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 125e, case 1

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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.

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.

Place of Origin

Glasgow, Scotland (made)

Date

ca. 1900 (made)

Artist/maker

Christopher Dresser, born 1834 - died 1904 (designer)
James Couper & Sons (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Blown coloured glass

Marks and inscriptions

'Clutha / Designed by CD / Registered'

Dimensions

Height: 46.7 cm, Diameter: 19.8 cm

Object history note

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 note

Dresser's 'Clutha' art glass was retailed by Liberty's.

Descriptive line

'Clutha' vase, designed by Christopher Dresser, for James Couper and Sons, Glasgow, ca.1899.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Halén, Widar. Christopher Dresser. Oxford: Phaidon, Christies, 1990. pp.189-199.

Exhibition History

The Art of Glass: Art Nouveau to Art Deco. (Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery 17/07/1996-23/10/1996)

Labels and date

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]

Materials

Clutha glass

Categories

Glass; British Galleries

Collection code

CER

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Qr_O2619
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