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Paperweight - Lion after Landseer

Lion after Landseer

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Manchester (made)

  • Date:

    1874 (design registered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Derbyshire & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Press-moulded glass

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Michael Franklin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 123, case 7

Object Type
A paperweight must be functional, but most examples also show a strong decorative impulse. In the form of a lion a paperweight conveys a sense of importance and status, perhaps in relation to matters of Empire.

Materials & Making
The technique of press-moulding glass with the aid of a hand-operated machine was first perfected in the United States of America in the early 1820s. It took only two people to shape a measured quantity of hot glass in a heated metal mould. By simply depressing a lever, a metal plunger was lowered into the glass, forcing it into the patterned mould. By the 1830s this method had spread to Europe and Britain, giving rise to stylistic changes and revolutionising the availability of glassware. The technique made the mid- to late 19th century the first period of true mass production. In the 1890s the introduction of steam-powered presses improved quality while cutting costs even further.

John Derbyshire's Regent Flint Glass Works was at Salford, Manchester. John separated from his brothers James and Thomas, and left their joint works at nearby Hulme to set up his own company in 1873. This business was short-lived but during its few years of production paperweights featured heavily and the lion paperweight is one of the best-known. Derbyshire made other designs based on the paintings of Edwin Landseer (1802-1873), including a greyhound and a collie.

Physical description

Blue pressed glass lion paperweight

Place of Origin

Manchester (made)


1874 (design registered)


John Derbyshire & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Press-moulded glass

Marks and inscriptions

Anchor trade mark intersecting 'JD' in monogram, diamond registration mark for 7/1874
Diamond registration mark


Height: 12.3 cm, Width: 18.5 cm maximum, Depth: 10.8 cm

Object history note

Made by John Derbyshire (active 1856-1893), Regent Flint Glass Works, Manchester

Descriptive line

Paperweight, England (Manchester), made by John Derbyshire, Regent Road Flint Glass Works, 1874-1900

Labels and date

Sir Edwin Landseer's (1000-09??) design for the lions at the base of Nelson's Column inspired this design, and the piece was possibly intended to commemorate Landseer who died the year before its issue. []
British Galleries:
This was the most successful design produced by the firm of John Derbyshire. The lion was modelled on the bronze lions designed in 1858 by Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) at the foot of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The design was registered and the paperweights were produced in clear, frosted and coloured glass [27/03/2003]


Glass; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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