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Whitefriars

Geoffrey Baxter 9689

Founded as early as the seventeenth century City of London (1680 (-1720 on part of the site of the former medieval 'White Friars' monastery)) on the banks of the Thames south of Fleet Street (Acquired by James Powell & Sons in 1834, later registered Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Limited in 1919); Whitefriars was of course later named after the medieval 'White Friars' (reference to their attire) that had once occupied the site before the company moved to Wealdstone, Greater London in 1923. Best known for their church stained glass windows, lines such as Opalescent glass, Art Deco tableware and Millefiori paperweights into the 1930s, the company had been financially successful between the wars steered by designer James Hogan (d. 1948). Glass production, however, was limited following outbreak of World War II to aid the war effort and Whitefriars struggled. The business endured following WWII up until the Festival of Britain in 1951 and prosperity saw a major improvement for industry, followed shortly afterward by the inspired appointment of Royal College of Art graduate Geoffrey Baxter in 1954 (d. 1995).

The Geoffrey Baxter textured 'bark' range of coloured soda-lime vases – manufactured using deep-relief moulds cased in hand blown clear glass – many with a fire polished rim (e.g. 9689–9691). Designed 1966, available from 1967, they are very popular with collectors including, in particular, the Banjo and Drunken Bricklayer for example. Prices vary of course, have levelled off in recent years, may depend on the number of each colour produced, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds for some of the rarer Banjo vases.

Tangerine orange and Kingfisher blue were added to the range in 1969. An example in nice crisp condition may simply mean that it was made from a new mould with more definition and therefore a little more desirable perhaps, but not to be confused with potentially very good Chinese fakes (not repro. or in the style of…) impacting on the real value of genuine pieces. *Pieces referred to as Full Lead Crystal (FLC) will be coloured to the base, i.e. no clear glass casing and typically heavier (sometimes (not pictured)).

Whitefriars closed in 1980 and were bought by Caithness Glass the following year. Caithness Glass is a Scottish artistic glassware manufacturing company established in Wick, Caithness, Scotland in 1961 by Robin Sinclair, 2nd Viscount Thurso. The company was founded to help create additional employment in the face of continuing decline in local fishing and agriculture, and to further take advantage of the proximity of sand for glassmaking in the area. They acquired Whitefriars in 1981 though themselves went into liquidation, with only a very small workforce relocating to Crieff, Perthshire, in 2006.

Geoffrey Baxter 9689

Left to right above: Willow, Cinnamon, Indigo, Ruby, Kingfisher Blue, Meadow Green, Aubergine and Sage, cat. 9689. There are fourteen in total in the cylindrical range of textured bark vases, twelve clear cased colours (CCC) and two full lead crystal (FLC), as follows:

Cylindrical Range 9689-9691

Clear Cased Colours (CCC) '67 >'80
01. Cinnamon '67 (9690, 9691 >'69)
02. Indigo (Blue) '67
03. Willow (Green) '67
04. Flint '68
05. Ruby '68
06. Kingfisher Blue '69
07. Tangerine Orange '69
08. Meadow Green '70
09. Aubergine '72
10. Pewter '72
11. Lilac '74
12. Sage '74

Full Lead Crystal (FLC) '78 >'80
13. Aqua
14. Gold



Texture Colours / Dates

From 1967 >'80
Cinnamon (Brown (9690, 9691 >'69))
Indigo (Blue)
Willow (Green)

Other colours '67/'68 >'80
Flint (Clear)
Golden Amber
Ruby (Red)

From 1969 >'80
Kingfisher Blue
Tangerine Orange

From 1970 >'80
Meadow Green

From 1972 >'80
Aubergine
Pewter (Silver Grey)

From 1974 >'80
Lilac
Sage

From 1978 >'80
Aqua (FLC)
Gold (FLC)



Numbers Manufactured (Unconfirmed)

Banjo
Cinnamon ('67), 304
Flint ('67), 006
Indigo ('67), 228
Willow ('67), 212
Kingfisher Blue ('69), 500+
Tangerine Orange ('69), 683
Meadow Green ('70), 189
Aubergine ('72), 84
Pewter ('72), 164

Drunken Bricklayer
Aubergine ('72), ?
Cinnamon (Brown ('67)), ?
Golden Amber ('67), ?
Indigo (Blue ('67)), ?
Kingfisher Blue ('69), ?
Meadow Green ('70), ?
Pewter (Silver Grey ('72)), ?
Tangerine Orange ('69), ?



Catalogue Numbers

9099 Bowl; Controlled

9308 Paperweight, 3.0, 3.5; Controlled (cat '69)
9377 Bowl; Controlled (cat '69)
9391 Bowl; Controlled

9514 ?Dish, Asymmetrical
9515 ?Bowl, Oval
9516 ?Bowl, Three-sided
9517 ?Bowl, Four-sided
9526 ?Bowl, Three-sided, 10 inch
9527 ? 9584 ?Flared

9612 Knobbly (Wilson & Dyer)
9667 Basket Weave
9668 Nuts & Bolts
9669 Bamboo
9670 Mobile Phone
9671 Totem pole
9672
9673 Drunken Bricklayer
9674 Pyramid
9675 Cello
9676 Sunburst
9677 TV
9678 Shoulder
9679 Cucumber
9680 Hooped
9681 Banjo
9682 Waisted
9683 Nail-head, Square
9685 Nail-head, Rectangular
9686 Coffin 5.25
9688 Bowl, Cylindrical
9689 Cylindrical Bark, 6
9690 Cylindrical Bark, 7.5
9691 Cylindrical Bark, 9
9697 Paperweight, Door stop – 5 3/4 (cat '69)
9698 Paperweight, Door stop – 5 (cat '69)
9699 Paperweight, Door stop – 3 3/4 (cat '69)

9702 ?Spot
9709 ?Ribbon Trail
9717 Volcano
9729 Cylindrical Bark (Finger (Pre '74)) 5.25 – See also: 9834
9730 Bottle
9731 Pinecone
9733 Candle Holder
9734 Cylindrical Bark (Fluted/Lip base), 10.5 – See also: 9689-9691
9758 Onion
9759 Double Diamond
9760 Traffic Light
9761 Zig-Zag
9777 Lobed; Controlled

9801 ?Random Strapping
9810 Greek Key 7.5
9811 Stitched Cube
9815 Greek Key 4.5
9816 Aztec
9817 Chess Board
9818 Mallet
9819 Cylindrical Bark Tapered (Pre '74 (?)) 7.5
9825 Rocket
9826 Tulip 11
9827 Tulip 9.5
9828 Nipple
9829 Haemorrhoid
9830 Flared (Cooling Tower) 8
9831 Flared (Cooling Tower) 6.5
9832 Pot Belly (Pot Bellied)
9834 Textured Cylindrical Tapered 'Bark' Vase ('74 Onward 6.25 (Flint; Kingfisher; Ruby; Tangerine, Other?), 7.5 (Lilac; Sage; Other?)) – Note (6.25): unconfirmed – I have a few of these with flat top including Flint, Ruby and Tangerine, had a Kingfisher with a more slimline thinner neck and bevelled (fire polished) rim. See also: 9729.
9835 Chalice
9836 Waisted
9871 Hourglass
9845 Ovoid

##?? Rugby Ball



Colours Pre-Textured

From 1949
Amethyst
Flint
Golden Amber
Ruby (Red)
Sapphire-Blue
Sea Green

From 1954
Twilight

From 1957
Aquamarine (Crystal)

From 1960
Arctic Blue
Midnight Blue
Ocean Green
Shadow Green

From 1963
Streaky Brown (Crystal)
Streaky Green (Crystal)

From 1965
Cinnamon (Brown)
Indigo (Blue)
Willow (Green)



Other Non-textured

From 1969
Old Gold (Crystal)
Orange (Crystal)
Peacock (Crystal)

From 1972
Silver
Streaky Purple Blue (Crystal)

From 1974
Antique Blue
Aurora (Streaky Brown Tangerine)
Heather (Streaky Purple Green)
Lichen (Streaky Green Pewter)

1980
Aqua with Sky Blue Streaks
Cirrus Colour Technique – Gold with Aqua Streaks
New Studio – Ruby with Kingfisher and Silver Chloride Overlay
Sky Blue

Any further Whitefriars / Geoffrey Baxter information, insight or correction much appreciated.