Mdina vase
above: Mdina vase
and sea-horse



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Mdina Glass from
The Glass Encyclopedia

A short explanation of Mdina Glass:
Mdina glass comes from Malta in the Mediterranian. It is easily recognised both for its distinctive colours and for the Mdina signature and paper labels. The vase on the left is flattened on one side and the other side rises to a smooth point running from top to bottom of the vase, almost like a spine. It has the Mdina signature in script on the base, like so many other Mdina items.

The little seahorse is very typical of Mdina, and must have been made by the thousand. The top is clear glass and the paper-weight base is coloured turquoise with gold and brown streaks. The colouring is similar to colours found in marine scenes, and is very typical of Mdina glassware. The company made numerous designs of vases and bottles most commonly in two colour schemes, turquoise with amber streaks, and brown glass with green and yellow streaks.

The company was set up by Michael Harris and Eric Dobson in 1968. Michael Harris was born in 1933 in Derbyshire and started his training at the Leeds college of Art, then Luton College of Art, Stourbridge College of Technology and Art,and the Royal College of Art in London, where he specialised in Industrial Glass Design. After two years in the army (national service), Michael married Elizabeth, returned to the Royal College of Art and graduated with First Class Honours. He was invited back to the Royal College as a Tutor in Industrial Glass and whilst there he worked with some wonderful people, including Ronald Stennett-Willson (Kings Lynn and Wedgwood Glass), Bill Heaton (Whitefriars), Geoffrey Baxter (Whitefriars) and Sam Herman (studio glass pioneer from the States). Michael became the pioneer of the studio glass movement in the UK, and together with Eric Dobson, set up the small Mdina art glass studio in 1967 on the Island of Malta in the Mediterraneum. This was partly funded and greatly encouraged by the Maltese government on the understanding that Michael and Eric would train local people in the skills of working with hot glass.

Mdina Glass was a great success for many years, and gave birth to a significant glass craft industry on the Island of Malta. Mark Hill's excellent little book "Michael Harris: Mdina Glass & Isle of Iwght Studio Glass" gives more details of Michael's career and the beautiful glass he designed (listed below).

Eventually the government changed, attitudes in Malta changed, and Michael left Malta in 1972 with his family. They established Isle of Wight Glass in the UK. Eric Dobson continued until the early 1980s working with the local glass artists that he and Michael had trained. Eventually Mdina Glass was taken over by Joseph Said, a Maltese glassworker who had trained at Mdina. The three glassworks currently operating in Malta all produce glass which bears the hallmarks of Michael Harris designs.




Here are some books which include information on Mdina glass that you may find helpful.


Michael Harris book 20th Century glass book 20th Century glass Millers 20th Century glass



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