In April this year, I was lucky enough to be able to secure the central exhibition space at the Spring Antiques For Everyone fair at the National Exhibition centre in Birmingham to promote Skrdlovice glass. Although the accompanying book ‘Berànek & Skrdlovice: Legends of Czech Glass‘ was launched later that month, we were able to mount the first exhibition of its kind in the UK, covering glass made at the factory from the mid 1940s until it closed in 2008. The glass was generously provided from the private collection of glass historian and collector Robert Bevan Jones, who organised it into sections and created the display. Along with along with Jindrich Parik, he is one of the two authors of the accompanying book – the first on the factory and its designers.
As you can see from the photographs below, the display made an immense visual impact. As a result, it was visited by many thousands of people who visited the fair – comments were extremely positive and everyone came away having learnt many new things about this previously largely ignored factory. New collectors emerged and many discovered that a piece of glass they had at home was by this highly important postwar Czech factory.
Running from left to right, each cabinet contained either glass from one specific decade, or glass profiling one designer such as Frantisek Vízner or Jaroslav Svoboda. A number of the pieces on display were unique and had never been seen in public before, and many have been included in the book. The cabinets containing glass from the 1940s designed by Emanuel Berànek together with the wooden glassmakers tools used in the factory were particular popular, as weere the cabinets containing the organic, flowing designs of the 1950s by Milena Veliskova and Marie Stahlikova, and those containing glass from the factory’s ‘golden age’ during the 1970s.
The hugely positive response this glass received at the fair makes me feel sure that the future for this collecting area is strong, and will only continue to rise as more begin to collect and as more information is found. For more information about the book, which is available now in a limited edition of 1,000 copies, please click here.
The authors and I would like to thanks Clarion Events, the organisers of Antiques For Everyone, for their support and the opportunity. All photographs with thanks to and © copyright Robert Bevan Jones.