Correlation of Selected Patterns in the 1998 ACGA Val St. Lambert Catalogue
With Patterns in American Brilliant Cut Glass Reference Publications
The Hobstar, Special Edition No. 3, pp. 11-14 (Feb 1999)
The world of cut glass pattern identification is not black and white but consists of varying shades of gray. Too often we try to make the world black and white because we feel more comfortable knowing exactly where we stand. This is not always the correct course of action to take regarding pattern identification and/or the company that may have produced the article.
This should not deter our attempt to identify patterns and the company that may have made an article. The ACGA issues catalogues to help us identify patterns but too often we lose sight of the fact that, within any company, they may have tolerated and/or deliberately made minor changes to the pattern presentation — for example, modifying a pattern to fit the shape. In addition, as Joan Randles recently pointed out in a letter to the ACGA Research Committee, “according to Hawkes archives material, OUR GUYS were squabbling back then about pattern plagiarism, hence some copyright protection laws and courts were used to help decide the issue. So within our own country there was not a clean and clear situation regarding who did what pattern all the time.”
Keeping these qualifications in mind, a small group of ACGA members has reviewed the 1908 and 1905 components of the 1998 Val St. Lambert (Val) catalogue in order to correlate, in so far as possible, the pictured VAL patterns with those in the available American Brilliant Cut Glass references. There are three groups of results as follows…….
The first group contains fourteen pieces in the Val catalogue which are identical in pattern and shape to pieces pictured in American Brilliant Cut Glass references with unidentified patterns. Pieces in this group are listed in Table A.
The second group contains nine patterns in the Val catalogue which are identical in pattern but not shape to pieces pictured in American Brilliant Cut Glass references with unidentified patterns. Pieces in this group are listed in Table B.
The third group contains eleven Val patterns that are very close — if not identical — to named American patterns. Care should be exercised when trying to identify a piece with one of these patterns as either Val or American. Weight, color, and blank shape should be taken into account. Numerous examples of these patterns are provided in American Brilliant Cut Glass reference books and no attempt has been made to cross-reference all the examples to determine that the piece illustrated is or is not a Val piece. Patterns in this group are listed in Table C.
This research information is provided as a guideline. It is strongly recommended that you review any piece or illustration carefully before concluding that it was made by Company X or is pattern Y.
In the first two groups, it is conceivable that the item pictured in the listed American Brilliant Cut Glass reference is a Val produced item, is an item produced by an American cutting firm, or is a Val item marketed by an American firm. For example, the three Pitkin & Brooks items in the first group are all acknowledged in the P & B catalogue as imported. No claim is made or implied that the pieces and patterns in the three groups are the only ones in the Val catalogue and American Brilliant Cut Glass references that can be assigned to one of the three groups. Also, the Val ID Research Group has not yet studied the Table Services pictured on pages 177-231 of the 1998 ACGA Val Catalogue.
In addition to the groups of items described here, there is a broad spectrum of Val patterns that are similar – but not identical – in motifs and layout, to patterns on items pictured in American Brilliant Cut Glass references. These are not included in this report. Further study and analysis are required to properly categorize these pattern and shape relationships.
Acknowledgements – The ACGA members who have contributed to this ACGA Research Committee report are Leigh Emmerson, Elizabeth Barber, Dow Mitchell, Tom Marple, Chet Cassel, Joan and Dick Randles, Bob Hampton, Nick Boonstra, and Craig Carlson. Craig Carlson edited and verified the IDs. Bill Barnett, as Chairman of the ACGA Research Committee, provided general guidance and support.