The Cambridge Glass Fair
three hundred years of collectable glass in one day
Peacock and this is the only Whitefriars range in which some pieces are actually engraved on the base with the words 'Whitefriars Glass' and the pattern number. The Old Gold and Orange striped designs were cased in Twilight glass and were lined with opaque white glass as used in thermometers. This did on occasion cause difficulties during the production of these pieces due to the differing rates of cooling of the glass, which could result in cracking of the white inner layer.
However, each piece is unique, as the different effects and variations produced are almost limitless and this alone makes collecting these pieces a joy.
The Peacock colourway is reminiscent of some Mdina glass, both in the colours used and the applied 'random strapping' around the pieces. This is interesting because two ex-Whitefriars employees, Ettore and Vicente Boffo, went to work at the Mdina factory in 1969.
The stripes in the Old Gold and Orange ranges was a result of using silver chloride and this was also used to produce the iridescent effect on the strapping of the Peacock pieces.
There will be around thirty-five items in the exhibition including some experimental pieces and some from Peter Wheeler's time as a student at the RCA which is where he would have learned to work with hot glass. These were the early days of the embryonic studio glass movement which began in America with Harvey Littleton, Dominick Labino and Sam Herman.
On loan from two separate private collections, this display will hopefully be of interest not only to collectors of Whitefriars glass but also to anyone with a regard for the work of young, innovative designers bringing new ideas to manufacturing environments, and experimentation is something for which the Whitefriars factory was recognised.
Peter Wheeler did not stay at Whitefriars for long and little if anything is known of his career after he left the factory. It seems that he preferred to remain incognito which is sad for those collectors who would very much like to discover more about him and his work.
Note: All images supplied by Circaglass.