From the Ar­chive

Ex­otic glass shades of the time.

Arts and Crafts Homes - - CONTENTS - —Bo Sul­li­van

Verde Iridile, Agalite, and Cuirass: These ro­man­tic trade names were the mar­ket­ing monikers for a pop­u­lar se­ries of Arts & Craftsin­spired light­ing shades of de­cep­tive beauty. See many more: ar­chive.org

IF IM­I­TA­TION IS the sin­cer­est form of flat­tery, then cer­tain mak­ers of high­end, la­bor-in­ten­sive Arts & Crafts glass shades (Han­del, Tif­fany) would have blushed with pride at the sight of this con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous shade lineup from the Mac­beth–Evans Glass Com­pany. More likely they were red in the face.

Com­bin­ing the rich­ness, de­tail, and warmth of hand-made art glass with the ef­fi­cien­cies of mass pro­duc­tion, shade com­pa­nies like this one found ways to evoke the char­ac­ter and beauty of ex­pen­sive iri­des­cent fin­ishes, fine leaded con­struc­tion, and del­i­cate pierced brass over­lays—with­out the costly “hand” part of the equa­tion.

Of par­tic­u­lar note, the Agalite line (pro­duced with Bournique Glass Co. and highly prized by home­own­ers and col­lec­tors to­day) fea­tured col­ored swirls of molten opales­cent glass pressed into tooled iron molds to pro­duce re­mark­ably de­tailed, yet cost-con­scious, fac­sim­i­les of ex­pen­sive mo­saic work.

A stun­ningly broad and stylis­ti­cally di­verse col­lec­tion—more than 350 Colo­nial, Crafts­man, Clas­si­cal, Gothic, Moor­ish, and Art Nou­veau de­signs— was show­cased in Mac­beth–Evans No. 42. By com­par­i­son, to­day’s mid-range re­pro­duc­tions ap­pear to lack in­no­va­tion, so­phis­ti­ca­tion, and art­ful­ness, re­flect­ing changes in man­u­fac­ture, mar­ket forces, and modern ideals of beauty. So: viva an­tique shades! a

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