The National Glass Collectors Fair

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Basket Weave Decoration
& Registration Number

By Dilwyn Hier

One of the rewards associated with glass collecting is to acquire an item of glass which can be positively identified to a particular factory and better still to the original
Flint bowl (120mm diameter).
Flint bowl (120mm diameter)
with detail of registration number.
design number and date of its first manufacture. Press moulded glass often carries a trademark or registration number, which makes this relatively easy. However, free blown items generally carry no marks to assist in their identification; but on rare occasions the item does carry a mark. In the case of the bowl illustrated (right), the relatively easy attribution of the basket weave pattern is supplemented by the registration number, scratched with a diamond point on to one of the few blank spaces on the item.

The number 38983 was assigned to Stevens & Williams (S&W) dated 1 December 1885 and is described as "Pattern for ornamentation of flint glass tableware". S&W also described it as "Square basket weave wheel decoration using a multi mitre intaglio wheel." A single cut with this wheel produced four parallel V grooves, which enabled a basket weave decoration to be cut relatively quickly into the surface of the glass.

Detail of registration.
Detail of registration
number 38983.

Assisted by the date of the registration, a trawl through the pattern books is rewarded by pattern number 10925, dated 1/1/1886. Yes, they did work on New Year's Day! (See Below).

The size (120mm diameter) and shape of this bowl would lead you to think of it as a finger bowl or finger cup but this bowl appears to be described as a "Coiner". Other items listed under this number are “Hair Brush & Comb Tray”, “Ring Stand”, “Candlesticks”, “Pin Tray”, “Tooth Brush Tray” and “Puff Box” all components associated with a dressing table set; so have I read this correctly? Does anybody know what it was used for?

Pattern book showing pattern number 10925.
Pattern book showing pattern number 10925. Details from S&W Pattern Book 10 courtesy of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

The bowl was found at the National Glass Collectors Fair at the Motorcycle Museum in May 2002 and is in remarkable good condition with not even a blemish on the delicately scalloped rim.

The design does not appear too profusely in the pattern books and normally is associated with decanters and other table glass. Joseph Keller illustrates a goblet cut in this manner in his Book of Designs.

As often with styles of decoration, the basket weave was not exclusive to S&W, but the use of a multi mitre wheel to achieve it, as far as I know, was. Thomas Webb & Sons (TW&S) produced a basket weave made up of several separate cuts, usually applied to part of an article, the top of the decoration finished by laying the vertical lines in an interwoven, undulating manner. These cuts were usually left dull, whereas the S&W multi mitre design was usually acid polished. Just to complicate things S&W also produced this type of decoration as well.

Stevens & Williams moulded wicker pattern vase.
Stevens & Williams moulded wicker pattern vase.
Pattern book showing pattern number 11068.
Pattern book showing pattern number 11068. Wicker pattern, Blue die away, Matted. (Details from S&W Pattern Book 10 courtesy of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.)

S&W also produced a range with a moulded wicker pattern (see below). These are an opaque ivory colour in combination with another die-away, or shaded, colour.

This article first appeared in The Glass Cone, Spring 2003, Issue No 63, (a periodic publication of the Glass Association). This attracted the following observations from Jenny Thompson:

(Illustration of table setting.)
(Illustration of table setting.)








“I think the bigger bowl is a centre bowl and the smaller a corner bowl. Several Stourbridge firms, and others, made mirrors for dining tables (Boulton & Mills registered these as plateaux of silvered glass with plated or gilt rims). These, depending on how elaborate the setting was to be, could be in the middle of the table with a central bowl and smaller ones in the corners. Like the Sowerby flower troughs, there were permutations. The mirror illuminated the effect and with candles made a pretty scene.” - See illustration above.

Stuart basket weave bowl with engraved detail.
Stuart basket weave bowl with engraved detail.
Picture courtesy of Halls Fine Art. Shrewsbury.

As stated above, the basket weave pattern was produced by various firms, the bowl illustrated (Right) is by Stuart & Sons Ltd and carries the registration number 556784 which was taken out in February 1910. The basket weave is made up of individual cuts and is left dull. It incorporates two oval cartouches each engraved with a bird in branches of blossom. Although reminiscent of their medallion cameo in style, the technique is quite different and the quality of the work significantly inferior.

Article written by Dilwyn Hier


Please note that the content of this article is the sole intellectual property of the author. No reproduction or reference to the text of this article may be made without the express permission of the author.

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