Christopher Dresser (British, Glasgow, Scotland 1834–1904 Mulhouse)
James Couper and Sons, Glasgow (op. 1850/1-1911)
Height: 20 in. (50.8 cm)
Cadwalader Fund, by exchange, 1998
Not on view
Dresser came to glassware relatively late in his career. This vase belongs to the group of glassware trademarked "Clutha" in 1888 by the Glasgow-based glassworks of James Couper & Sons. From this date until 1896, Christopher Dresser was sole designer of Couper & Sons’ Clutha glassware, which was retailed by Liberty & Co. in London from the 1880s until around 1900. The name "Clutha" was deliberately historicizing, being the old, perhaps romanticized, Gaelic name for Glasgow’s river Clyde. In an article published in the 1870-73 Technical Educator, Dresser celebrated how "Glass has a molten state in which it can be blown into the most beautiful shapes" and the designs of most of Dresser’s Clutha vases depend upon this singularity of the production process; embracing irregular, organic forms and prizing the colored striations, as well as bubbles, particular to the medium, which Dresser also admired in Roman glass. Liberty & Co.’s publicities described Dresser’s Clutha glassware as "decorative, quaint, original and artistic".