The Broadfield Lecture 2008

I was honoured to be asked – the annual Broadfield Lecture, part of the International Festival of Glass, is a rather grand affair. This morning I found myself standing in a beautifully appointed room at the Broadfield House Glass Museum, surrounded by oil portraits of the great and good of the Victorian British glass industry. And, of course, some 40 expectant faces staring at me, waiting for me to begin. After savouring the moment for a moment, I launched into my hour-long lecture on glassmaker and designer Michael Harris, the subject of one of my books and the exhibition I have organised and curated that stands on display in the room across the corridor.
With his widow Elizabeth, son Timothy, specialist dealers Ron & Ann Wheeler, and a number of other well known experts from the glass world in attendance, I was aware the pressure was on. But, you know what? I really enjoyed it! I always used to find public speaking rather scary, but if practise doesn’t make perfect, it certainly makes these events more bearable and even a little pleasurable.
After I had finished, Stephen Pollock-Hill, owner of Nazeing Glass, joined Roger Dodsworth, Keeper of Glass at the museum, in thanking me for the lecture and also for my contribution to British glass. I was indeed well and truly honoured! In addition to this, one of the most exciting aspects of the event was the audience, with a couple of notable exceptions as mentioned above, nearly all were new faces to me, meaning the Harris story spreads even further. However, with lunch and wine served afterwards, many of these new faces became new friends.

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