Tudor Crystal Glass

Tudor Crystal Glass
from the
Glass Encyclopedia

Tudor Crystal glass

Wheatsheaf design
suite by Tudor Crystal
made c. 1935.

"Dial Art" vase
2002 Spring collection

Tudor Crystal Glass: A short explanation:

Tudor Crystal was the name used for their glass by Stourbridge Glass Company Ltd who opened their glassworks in Audnam, Stourbridge in 1922.

This company had its origins during the previous year, when a number of senior staff of Thomas Webb & Sons (Stourbridge), including the long-serving Managing Director Congreve Jackson, became discontent with changes at the newly formed Webbs Crystal Glass (with its London Head Office).

Several artists, craftsmen and officers left Webbs in 1922 to join the Stourbridge Glass Company, and more followed in the next few years. It would be fair to say that the new company started out with the stars of the old firm, a highly skilled and motivated team, intent on producing the highest quality crystal glassware.

The new team included craftsmen and artists who had worked and trained with some of the greatest names in English glass. They had worked with or been trained by Frederick Carder and his brother George, who were both involved in teaching at the Wordsley School of Art and Technical Institute, before Frederick left for the USA in 1903. George and Thomas Woodall and William Fritsche had also worked alongside some of the Tudor Crystal craftsmen at Thomas Webb's during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Harry Cuneen, who joined the Stourbridge Glass Company shortly after it opened and became Artistic Director, had been George Carder's assistant at the Technical Institute just before the first World War. Jack Lloyd joined the company in 1927 and stayed with them until the mid-1970s, still working at the age of 95. His career as a designer/engraver started in the early 1890s, when he was an apprentice at Stevens & Williams.

The Company certainly succeeded in their aims of the highest quality crystal glassware. "Tudor Crystal" came to be used in royal households and government houses around the world, including for example, King Feisal in Baghdad.

In the 1950s, when John Walsh Walsh glass company closed down, some of that company's craftsmen also joined the Stourbridge Glass Company.

In 1972 the company changed its name to Tudor Crystal. Recent takeovers and mergers have resulted in a reversion to using the name Tudor Crystal to describe the glass, while the company has a different name. Tudor Crystal is currently made by Plowden and Thompson, making their glass at the Dial Glass Works, Stewkins, in Stourbridge.

Tudor Crystal can be identified by the trademarks shown on the left. The paper label shown at the top of the page was used in addition to an etched mark reading Made in TUDOR England.

Some superb cased and engraved glass was made by Jack Lloyd and signed J. Lloyd. Carolus Hartmann reports another trademark of a star with BRILLIANT CRYSTAL in the central circle (it looks rather like a sheriff's badge).

In 2002 the company introduced a new range of colored cased crystal glassware, like the vase shown above left. This range is named "Dial Art" and Herbert Dreier the master glass craftsman leading the production team. Herbert was formerly with Caithness Glass and was associated with members of the Ysart family in Scotland. Dial Art is the label used for their colored art glass range.

The Dial Art vases are very much in the Monart-Vasart-Strathearn tradition. They have a layer of clear lead crystal over the colors, with a white internal lining. In some color combinations the internal lining is also colored. These neo-Monart designs are popular.

The company (Plowden and Thompson) also developed skills in producing technical and specialist glass and in 2012 were taken over by ET Enterprises, a subsidiary of a Texas based corporation Ludlum Measurements Inc. Plowden and Thompson gave up art glass production and concentrated on such products as capillary glass tubing, precision bore tubing, special glass formulas and prototypes for supply to other glassworks, and a range of products for medical, scientific and aviation clients. They no longer make their beautiful vases nor their high quality cut crystal designs.

It is always interesting to see the Tudor Crystal Glass that others are selling, and the prices they ask. To see what there is just now, click Tudor glass.

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