New book about Bryce Glass
A new book investigates the history and production of the Bryce Glass Company, one of the most successful designers and producers of pattern glass tableware, novelties and lamps in the US in the 19th century.
Written by Debra M Coulson and Harley N Trice, Bryce Glass – Art and Novelty in Nineteenth Century Pittsburgh, tells the story of Scottish-born James Bryce (1812–1893), who emigrated to America and began his glassmaking career at the age of 10 as a child labourer at a Pittsburgh glasshouse.
In 1850 he founded his own glassware company at a time when pressed glass was increasing in popularity. Pressed glass transformed the lives of everyday people by making beautiful tableware widely available to those who could not afford the expensive blown and cut crystal enjoyed by their wealthy neighbours.
Bryce became one of the largest producers of pattern glass in America and, by 1871, was shipping its products all over the world. The company continued operations for 113 years, guided by second- and then third-generation family members.
The book celebrates the beauty and artistry of the naturalistic designs, colourful tableware, and whimsical novelties Bryce produced between 1850 and 1891. At its heart, this book is a highly illustrated work with 190 newly commissioned colour plates. It concludes with a compendium of authenticated Bryce products illustrated primarily with period line drawings – a valuable tool for both glass scholars and casual collectors.
Debra Coulson is a life-long Pittsburgher, retired environmental attorney, and long- time collector of American antiques, with a particular interest in early Pittsburgh history. Harley Trice is a great-great-grandson of company founder James Bryce. He is actively engaged in the antiques and art community, with a special interest in glass. Editor Gerald W R Ward is the Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Emeritus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The book is available in hardback for £49.95. ISBN: 978-1-913875-33-6. 256pp. Illustrations: 222 colour and 170 black and white. Publisher: D Giles Limited, London. Order via www.gilesltd.com
Main image: Novelty shoes and boots made by Bryce Glass. Photo: Gavin Ashworth