I realise now looking at my photo collection that I was probably overwhelmed by the glass collection in Room 131 because I don’t have many photos at all! After finishing Room 129, which was very absorbing, I must have put the camera away and floated through the wonderful cabinet-lined room. I remember opening very deep drawers of quirky little glass beads and ornaments (joy!), and catching my reflection from time to time in the well-polished glass, which is annoying when trying to focus on glass art!

So, I know there are not too many photos in this article but at least I captured the staircase in Room 131, which leads to the mezzanine floor of what feels like hundreds of glass cabinets containing thousands of pieces!

Staircase in Room 131, V&A

Staircase in Room 131, V&A

 

A few pieces of note in Room 131

The story of how Vienna-born Fritz Lampl came to London to eventually set up his Bimini glass studio, and enjoy a period of artistic self-discovery and marketing popularity, is quite remarkable. Lampl was a born poet and following an exhibition trip to Berlin where he came across the glass art of ceramicist Marianna von Allesch, he decided to learn new arts to infuse poetry into a material expression, and voila! His passion of glass fired him through Hitler’s manifestos, war-torn Europe and rebuilding bomb-struck art studios. He shared his love of glass with his family and fellow artist friends, all of whom contributed greatly to Bimini and then Orplid glass studios.

I love his blue unicorn under the sapling, as shown in the photo below.

 

Four lampwork creations by Fritz Lampl, 1923-38

Four lampwork creations by Fritz Lampl, 1923-38

 

I love the work of René Lalique and is it always a joy to see some of the commercial productions from the Lalique glass works in France, in the 1920s, which of course created limited editions of his designs. In the V&A, I saw this rather nice amber-coloured vase. I think it is called “Oran”, but the picture is missing from the V&A catalogue to confirm that. The colour achieved reminds me of his beautiful serpent vase.

 

VandA_Lalique_Vase

 

There are several Lalique pieces on the same shelf and definitely worth a visit to see them. In fact, the whole room is just an eye-opening collection of the glass industry through time, and the V&A have presented the collection with a blend of chronology and historical events.

Although not quite in the same class as Lalique in my opinion, these “jelly mould” productions shown below are great representations of the ‘pressed’ glass process developed from 1830 in the USA as a means to offer (much cheaper) imitations of cut glass. The technique involves pressing molten glass into a mould (usually made of iron) and in the UK this was primarily found in the north of England.

Apologies for my poor quality photography of the greyhound and lion paperweights!  For better quality, click the links.

 

Press-moulded glass paperweight

Press-moulded glass paperweight

 

Press-moulded glass paperweight

Press-moulded glass paperweight

 

One of my favourite classifications of glass work is Scandinavian design. It has a glacial purity and it seems to reflect light in a uniquely cleansing manner. The V&A collection is excellent. There are fine examples from 1920s – 1970s, as shown below, made by Strömbergshyttan, Eda Glasbruk, Gullaskruf, Johansfors, Pukeberg, Reijmyre and Orrefors (all Swedish glass works), and the Finnish Nuutajärviand KarhulaIittala, as well as the Norwegian Hadeland and the Danish Holmegaard. You can spend hours identifying these!

 

VandA_scandinavian glass

 

So now I need to schedule my next visit, one of many installments I imagine to complete the write-up on V&A’s complete glass collection 🙂

Originally published: Sunday, January 10th, 2016 at 03:48 in Celebrating Art, Inspiration

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