The Nailsea glasshouse factory was based near Bristol and was established by John Robert Lucas in 1788 producing glass until its closure in 1873. The factory predominantly produced glass bottles in shades of green and crown window panes in clear and pale green. Being built in close proximity to a coal mine and having all the available materials for production nearby enabled Nailsea to become one of the most prolific glass producers in the country.
The glass bottles were typically flecked, mottled and striped being decorated with white or coloured splashes and trail lines or combed to produce a feathered effect. Although distinctive, these techniques were not in fact new but stemmed back to glass produced during the Roman Empire period.
Nailsea style glasswares
The Nailsea glassworks were highly prolific and one of the first to decoratively produce such examples in Britain. However, the name Nailsea over the years has become adopted to describe a wide variety of similarly decorated novelty glass produced all over the country notably in Newcastle, Stourbridge, Shropshire and Alloa in Scotland.
Unlike the less versatile original Nailsea Glasshouse produced wares, Nailsea-style glass differentiates itself by typically being brightly coloured in shades of green, red, blue and yellow. The range of Nailsea style novelty items is also vast. Collectible examples include glass bells, walking sticks, pipes, bottles, hats and swords.
Being very recognisable, Nailsea and Nailsea-style wares remain popular amongst collectors. Although most of the later Victorian wares were relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire, the rarer late 18th and early 19th century examples (typically being the functional glass bottles) are highly sought after and achieve much higher prices at auction.
If you have any glassware you would like to have valued, please contact Robin Newcombe of Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.