Glass tazza, by James Powell & Sons


British Museum

British Museum

The word tazza means 'cup' in Italian, but in England it is used to describe a Venetian-inspired stemmed vessel which is a cross between a goblet and a shallow bowl. This example, with spirals of air in its long tapering stem, is particularly elegant. It was designed by Harry J. Powell and made by J. Powell & Sons, and was probably made specially for the Turin Exhibition of Decorative Arts, 1902. The fine threads of molten green glass trailed on the foot and bowl, pulled to resemble a spider's web, and the engraved seagulls on the bowl, demonstrate a high degree of craftsmanship.

James Powell & Sons (later known as Whitefriars Glass) had produced glass on behalf of William Morris since the 1860s, and subsequently supplied outlets such as Liberty, Tiffany and Siegfried Bing's Maison de l'Art Nouveau in Paris around the turn of the century. The factory's chief designer during this period was the talented Harry J. Powell (1853-1922), a leading protagonist in the Arts and Crafts Movement. He created exquisite historical revival designs inspired by glass from earlier periods, as well as modern designs in the Art Nouveau style. Although the form of this tazza is derived from Italian Renaissance models, its decoration is thoroughly contemporary and highly original.

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  • Title: Glass tazza, by James Powell & Sons
  • Date Created: 1902/1902
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 21.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: blown; engraved; applied; twisted; etched
  • Subject: bird
  • Registration number: 1988,0402.1
  • Production place: Factory in Tudor Street
  • Producer: Designed by Powell, Harry James. Factory of James Powell & Sons
  • Material: glass
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Reeves, Paul


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