gray-stan glass

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Gray-Stan Glass


Graystan Glass: A short explanation:

Graystan or (later) Gray-stan glass was made at the London (UK) studio of Mrs Elizabeth Graydon-Stannus between 1922 and 1936. It is usually clearly marked.

Elizabeth Graydon-Stannus was born in Ireland in 1873, married and moved to London in her late twenties and set up a gallery selling antique glass (in Earls Court). She wrote a book "Old Irish Glass" in 1920, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and in 1922 set up her glassmaking studio initially specialising in what she termed "New Irish glass".

Her book was criticised for inaccuracies about Irish glass, and she was also criticised for reproducing old glass. Even in recent times Charles Hajdamach wrote (1987) that she "confused collectors by making deliberate fakes or 'enhancing' original glasses with new cutting or engraving".

This may be unfair, as she was at pains to point out that her glass used traditional Irish recipes and designs, but modern "Irish" creativity. And so far as we know, it was always marked, either with the studio name or the name of the glass artist.

Old Irish recipes and designs were only the start of the Graystan production. In 1925 Elizabeth Graydon-Stannus moved her glass studio to Battersea and widened the range of glass made. This studio made coloured art glass in keeping with current fashions for glass design coming from France. She started with around 12 glassworkers making hand-blown pieces to their own designs, and soon grew to a staff of 37. Her policy of encouraging employees to design their own pieces resulted in a very broad range of styles in both crystal and coloured glass. Some of their pieces resembled Monart glass, some resembled historical Venetian designs, and there was the continuation of cut and engraved crystal glass. Noel Billinghurst, her chief designer, signed his pieces (mostly engraved crystal) with his own name.

Gray-Stan glass was popular in the USA, but when the Depression affected that market in the 1930s the studio struggled to survive and finally closed in 1936.


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References and Sources:

Here are some books which contain information about GrayStan glass. Click on the book cover or title to read more about that book.

  • 20th Century British Glass (Nov 2009) by Charles Hajdamach. The follow up to Charles' earlier book on British Glass. Even bigger and thicker, full of wonderful information and pictures about British glass. This is a book to treasure. Elizabeth Graydon-Stannus and her Gray-Stan Glass get a chapter and several other mentions.

  • 20th Century Factory Glass by Lesley Jackson (May 2000).

  • British Glass Between the Wars (Jan 1987)

  • "Gray-Stan Glass, 1926-1936" artricle in The Spinning Wheel magazine, May 1963, by Albert Christian Revi.
British Glass Book 2 British Glass Between the Wars 1987 20th Century glass Jackson




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