Leerdam vase by Lanooy

above: Leerdam vase
designed by Lanooy 1927

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Leerdam Glass from
The Glass Encyclopedia

A short explanation of Leerdam Glass:

The Royal Dutch Glassworks at Leerdam in the Netherlands, has been making glass since 1765. Traditionally they made table glasses, decanters, tableware, ornaments and containers, using traditional designs that are difficult to trace to any one glassworks.

Leerdam was one of the first Dutch factories to collaborate with artists and architects in order to produce beautiful, high quality factory-made glass products. P.M.Cochius became director in 1912 and from 1915 the company were commissioning designers to prepare suites of modern glass tableware and drinking sets, as well as vases and ornaments. These designer sets were acid etched with the designer's mark and marketed under the artists' name. Their designers included K.P.C.De Bazel, Andries D. Copier, C.J. Lanooy, Hendrik P. Berlage and Floris Maydam. The vase on the left was designed by Lanooy in 1927, and entitled Orange Apple.

Andries Dirk Copier (1901-1991) became the most famous of the Leerdam designer-artists. He began his career at the Leerdam glassworks as an apprentice glassblower in 1914 at the age of 13, attending training in painting, graphic design, and photographic printing during his appreintice years. After a half year of military service Copier returned to Leerdam in their design department, and by the time he was twenty Copier was supervising the manufacture of designs by the architect De Bazel and others. He was appointed the first full-time designer for Leerdam, and became one of the greatest Dutch glass designers. It is no exageration to say that his glass can be found in every Dutch household.

As General Artistic Director of the Leerdam factory from 1927, Copier had wide ranging responsiblities for developing the designs as well as organising exhibitions and publicity. His glass designs can be divided into two groups, firstly mass-produced, utilitarian glassware (mould-blown and hand-finished or press-moulded). And secondly his unique designs made at the furnace in collaboration with a master glass-blower. This was a completely new method of production for Leerdam. Copier as designer and Gerrit Vroegh as glass-blower experimented together at the furnace producing unique designs which were exhibited at Leerdam exhibitions from 1924 onwards. The public reacted well to this new kind of Leerdam glass, and the company marketed it from 1925 onwards as Leerdam Unica in company catalogues.

Leerdam Unica glass was so successful that other artist designers also produced Unica pieces, Chris Lanooy, Chris Lebeau and Rudolphe Strebelle. But their proportion of unsaleable items was too high, and by 1929 onwards only Copier was allowed to experiment at the furnace making Unica glass.

Leerdam Serica was the name given to short run limited edition designs usually derived from particularly successful Unica designs. Even these limited editions were expensive to produce. In 1940 Copier founded the Leerdam glass school, where some of the best glass artists of the next generation were trained. Copier continued to design Unica and Serica pieces for Leerdam until 1967. He retired from Leerdam in 1971 and did not work with glass until 1977, when he started collaborating with the glssblower H F Feunnekes and Piet van Klei at the art glass studio of Willem Heesen. In his eighties he went to Italy to collaborate with some of the great Italian glass artists. He died in 1991. But many of his designs continued to be produced at the Leerdam factory.

References and Further Reading

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Copier Ideas in Glass 20th Century glass book Millers Antiques book Millers Understanding Antiques book

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