Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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[Harding Collection]
Old Irish Glass. The Walter Harding Collection. Including old English & other pieces.

Liverpool privately published: 1925.

An infamous collection within the small world of Irish glass collectors -though more through guilt by association than actual defect. Harding had been one of the best customers of Elizabeth Graydon Stannus, collector, glass factory owner, author of a well-known book on antique Irish glass, and antiques dealer. Unfortunately, Stannus has also been called "the greatest villain in the manipulation of the history of Irish Glass" (McConnell, Magazine Antiques, Sept.2004). In a talk in 1924 she seems to have obliquely admitted that she had produced some fake Irish glass using genuine old molds, and she was also thought to have "improved" some of her genuine old pieces with extra engraving and cutting. As if that was not enough to endear her to the hearts of local collectors, she also admitted to melting down pieces of antique Irish colored glass and using the metal to produce new pieces that would have the correct antique color. Such stories inevitably have endings, and this one came symbolically in 1936 when the Harding Collection was auctioned by Sotheby's for about 1/12th of what he had paid for it. The irony of that is that the collection is not known to have had an over-abundance of fakes, although in the auction, and in this earlier, private catalog, some of the date attributions are improbably early. Still, the collection was large and varied, and is presented elegantly, with most of the glass photographed against a black background. And if you are looking for a famous collection of Irish glass (for better or worse), this is it.

Hardcover. 6.5"x10", 108 pages, many b/w plates. Covers rather soiled, a little soil to the endpapers. Inscribed by Harding to HJC Grierson, the noted Scottish literary scholar and critic who wrote books about Tennyson, Donne, Blake, Scott, Byron and Swinburne and edited the Oxford Book of 17th Century Verse.

Inventory #: 8774
Price: $ 275.00      

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