three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair

Foyer Exhibition:
September 2003

Mdina & IOW Glass

'Cut Ice' fish vase with polished facets
'Cut Ice' fish vase with polished facets

In acknowledgement of the deserved popularity of Harris glass the Cambridge Glass Fair is holding a selling exhibition entitled 'The Harris Dynasty'.

We are delighted that Elizabeth and Timothy Harris from the Isle of Wight factory and Jonathan Harris, who is based in Shropshire, will be attending the fair.

Michael Harris (1933- 1994) studied glass design during the 1950’s at
Large chalice
Large chalice
Stourbridge College of Art and at the Royal College of Art (RCA). In 1962 he was appointed Tutor in Industrial Glass at the RCA, where he taught for the next six years, setting up hot-glass facilities there in 1967.

In 1969 Michael left the RCA leaving Sam Herman to take his place. He moved to Malta where, with Eric Dobson, he established the Mdina Glassworks later in the same year.

Along with Vicente and Ettore Boffo, glassblowers from the Whitefriars factory, he trained local apprentices, making striking and richly coloured glass.

The distinctive shapes, including fish vases, winged-stem chalices and tall, narrow bottles, together with the vibrant colours of blue, green, amethyst and gold reminiscent of the sun, sea and sky of the Maltese landscape make these pieces attractive to collectors worldwide, especially as they can still be found at reasonable prices.

Blue Aurene bottle vase
Blue Aurene bottle vase

In 1972 Michael Harris left Mdina Glass to face a new challenge in setting up the Isle of Wight Glass works near Ventnor. Some of the shapes used in the 1970’s at Isle of Wight were similar to those developed at Mdina but are distinguished by the fact that they are more finely blown.

Early colourways include Tortoiseshell, Seaward and Aurene, with Azurene from 1979 using gold and silver leaf.

When Michael Harris died in 1994 his widow Elizabeth and their two sons Timothy and Jonathan carried on the tradition of glass design at the factory.

Today Timothy and Elizabeth Harris, based in the Isle of Wight, continue to design and produce high quality art glass, whilst Jonathan has set up his own innovative studio in Ironbridge, Shropshire.

Michael Harris's contribution to glass is immense and it is good to see his sons carry on their father's strong design ethos whilst upholding the innovation, quality and technical accomplishments for which he was also known.

exhibition highlights

•Unique pieces from Elizabeth Harris's personal collection

•Large free-form sculpture signed by Michael Harris