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Davidson's Pearline - but what is the shape?

 

 

 

This is a piece of Davidson's blue pearline; it is part of a range of items with the RD number 96945 for 31 March 1888, but the question is, what was this shape used for? It is just over 3.5" high, and initially we thought it could be the top of a nightlight (the cover), but there is no hole in the top, so a candle would just die out for lack of oxygen.

It stands quite happily on either end, although it is less stable with the opalescent "feet" at the top - as in the picture on the far right. It has strange little horizontal ribs, or pegs, which might suggest it sat in some sort of holder, and the pegs were to stop it falling in further? Maybe some sort of epergne?

It is definitely part of the RD 96945 range - the design of the diamond panel with ribs and a fan top is identical to the design of a known piece of 96945, as shown below. On the far left is a milk pitcher that is confirmed as 96945, and next to it, to its right, you can see the same design elements on our "mystery" shape. Also, the shape and style of the "feet" on our mystery piece is also the same as Davidson's used on other pearline pieces, as shown on the two spill vases on the right. To confirm it, we can see parts of a very light, but nonetheless discernible "RD No 96945" on one of the ribs of our mystery piece.

 

Now we know! Thanks to glass collecting friends around the world we know that it is a posy vase, designed to sit in a circular metal holder, that would have been attached to a mirror or suchlike. The pegs around the middle were indeed designed to stop the vase from falling through the holder - the pegs neatly sat on the rim of the metal hoop that held it. Brilliant!

 

We believe that the 96945 pattern must have been very popular, as it was made in a very large variety of shapes, some of them being quite unusual, as shown here. Clockwise, from the top left; creamer, oval platter, milk jug, biscuit barrel, large salad bowl and trefoil-shape handled dish.