James Derbyshire vase

James Derbyshire Glass:
from Manchester, UK

Brought to you byThe Glass Encyclopedia

James Derbyshire was one of three brothers (James, John and Thomas) who operated glassworks in the Manchester area in the mid-19th century. James Derbyshire & Brother, of Hulme, was established in 1858; in 1867 the three brothers opened another glassworks and traded as J.J.& T. Derbyshire; and in 1876 the name changed again to James Derbyshire and Sons. Although they only operated for a few decades, this company produced some very high quality pressed glass tableware. They do not seem to have registered any new designs after the 1870s.

The vase on the left was sold as a "celery vase" and was registered in 1865 to James Derbyshire;s company. The greek key pattern on this vase was a popular motif at the time, and reappears in glassware by all their main glass manufacturing rivals (George Davidson, Moulineux Webb, the Derbyshires, and Percival Yates and Vickers plus many others). Of all the versions, this one is the highest quality, and has been described as setting the standard for those that followed.

In 1873 James's brother John set up his own glassworks, the Regent Road Flint Glass Works, Salford. Several of John's designs are very famous and highly sought, like the winged sphinx paperweight, the "Landseer" lion paperweight, the figure of Britannia, and the Punch & Judy figurines, all registered in the 1870s. John Derbyshire designs often carry his trademark, the initials JD on either side of an anchor. This company closed in 1876.

above: greek key vase by
James Derbyshire of
Manchester, c. 1865.

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Manchester was the second great center producing pressed glass in England during the 19th century. The first was the North East (Gateshead, Sunderland, and Newcastle) with three giant companies Sowerby, Davidson, and Greener, and several smaller ones. There were five glassworks in Manchester producing high quality pressed glass which today is highly collectible, plus several lesser known ones. The main five were:

  1. Burtles Tate
  2. James Derbyshire
  3. John Derbyshire
  4. Molineux & Webb
  5. Percival Yates & Vickers

Pressed glass designs from Manchester were popular in the 1860s and 1870s, slightly earlier than most of the pressed glass innovations from the North East of England where the first pressed glass designs were registered in the 1870s.

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References, Sources & Further Reading:

Click on the book covers or titles below to read more about these books.

British glass book British Glass Book 2 English Pressed Glass 1987 English Pressed Glass by Thomson 2000 19th C British Glass 1982 Victorian Decorative glass book

1: English Pressed Glass by Raymond Slack (Oct 1987). Still an excellent reference book on glass factories in the early years of pressed glass.

2: The Identification of English Pressed Glass, 1842-1908 by Jenny Thompson (Jan 1990).

British Glass 1800-1914, by Charles R. Hajdamach, (1991).

4: Nineteenth Century British Glass by Hugh Wakefield (1982).

5: Victorian Decorative Glass 1850-1914, by Mervyn Gulliver, (2002).

6: The Manchester Glass Industry by Roger Dodsworth (article in The Glass Circle No 4).

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