English Mid-Century "Controlled Bubble" Blue Glass Bowl by Whitefriars (LEO Design)

One of England’s best-respected glassmakers was James Powell and Sons.  The company started in 1680 as Whitefriars Glass in a section of London which formerly housed a Carmelite monastery (The Whitefriars, from which the neighborhood got its name).  In 1834, wine merchant James Powell bought the glassworks.  Though he knew nothing of glassmaking, Powell wanted a business in which he could set-up his sons.  Over the next 75 years, the company grew nicely.  Besides making glassware for drinks and serving, Powell started supplying special glass to churches for stained glass windows.  The company reached its artistic peak in the late Victorian era, making decorative glassware (vases, bowls) as well as stylish artglass lamp shades (for the new electric lighting).  They also made strictly functional glass for lightbulbs and radio tubes.  In the Twentieth Century, Powell successfully re-invented itself again, this time making Modernist glass objets—vases, wall decor and bowls.

Shown above, a “controlled bubble” bowl by James Powell/Whitefriars from the 1950’s.  It would be perfect for rings, cufflinks, keys, or any other little thing you hope to locate again. Learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.


LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).

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