'Jack In The Pulpit' Glass Vases

by

David M Issitt ~ Leading Expert on English Coloured Glass


A selection of Jack in the pulpit glass vases from the John Alvino collection
A selection of Jack in the pulpit glass vases from the John Alvino collection
Press moulded jack in the pulpit vase in uranium/vaseline glass with opalescence
Press moulded vase in uranium / vaseline glass with opalescence.
Most Americans know of the wild toxic woodland flower, 'Jack-in-the-Pulpit' but how many also know it is the name given to an art-glass vase which imitates that flower. If we look at the actual plant that is very common in certain areas of the United States, we see the back part of the trumpet duly stands upright but then it comes forward as if a canopy to shield the 'Spathe' or 'Jack.' One can also liken this to a Pulpit in a church, which has a canopy to assist in the acoustics when a sermon is being preached. Enamelled clear amethyst glass jack in the pulpit vase by Moser
Enamelled clear amethyst glass vase by Moser.
Contemporary opaque amethyst glass jack in the pulpit vase, maker unknown
Contemporary opaque amethyst glass vase.
Maker unknown.
The name in itself was given to the style of vase originally created by Louis C. Tiffany around the turn of the century, but we all know such glassware, by this famous glassmaker from the turn of the century, now commands very high prices. However because of the importance of such a style, many other glassmakers have made this style and they by no means cost those of Louis C Tiffany. Boston and Sandwich red edged white milk glass jack in the pulpit vase.
Boston and Sandwich red edged white milk glass vase.
Thomas Webb Queens Burmese glass vase c.1880 - Decoration by Jules Barb.
Thomas Webb Queens Burmese glass vase c.1880 Decoration by Jules Barb.
Some nine or ten years ago I was fascinated by a vase in this style and shape and found it so attractive. The workmanship that our forefathers or even their ancestors put into producing such an item was bewildering to me. This started my long quest to find out more about these vases and so I began a research program into their history in the world of glass. This first 'Jack-in-the-Pulpit' vase had been bought for my by my late mother as a birthday present and I wonder if she ever realised the fact from that glass vase I began my personal interest in glass. Stevens & Williams Cranberry and Uranium / Vaseline glass vase
Stevens & Williams cranberry opalescent & uranium / vaseline glass.
Czechoslovakian red and yellow striped jack in the pulpit glass vase
Czech red and yellow striped glass vase.
I have said that Tiffany created the style, well that is now known to be incorrect, as the archive pattern books of Stevens & Williams reveal a Jack-in-the-Pulpit styled vase is shown as being made in 1854. The reason behind this fact is that English glassmakers of the last century never or rarely ever named a style of vase, most were just given pattern numbers. However, we know that most American glassmakers have always described styles of vases or bowls. Dugan marigold carnival glass vase.
Dugan carnival glass vase in marigold.
Contemporary Alum Bay Glass blue mottled vase
Contemporary Alum Bay Glass blue mottled vase.
The first vase, that was discovered in my endeavour to find who made this style of vase, was in Stevens and Williams pattern book dated 1854, I believe, now to be the first example of the style now known as 'Jack-in-the-Pulpit.' From that date I found various styles that all had the basic common theme of a vase with an upturned back and a turned down front, some even had pinched in sides and/or pulled in backs. Stevens and Williams Cranberry trailed glass vase
Stevens and Williams Cranberry and trailed clear glass vase.
Fenton white milk glass red 'Prayer Rug' vase
Fenton white milk glass
red 'Prayer Rug' vase.
From Stevens and Williams, my research took me to find the old pattern books of other major English 19th Century Glassmakers. My list was pretty comprehensive with the likes of Thomas Webb & Sons, Richardsons, Webb-Corbett, Stuart, and many smaller British Companies. Some of the vases have rounded backs and pointed fronts, others have crimped edges to the trumpet and the earliest ones all seem to have the back pulled in as per the 1854 style found in the Stevens and Williams pattern book for that year. Gibson irridescent blue glass toothpick holder
Gibson irridescent blue glass toothpick holder.
Gunderson Peach Blow glass vase.
Gunderson Peach Blow glass vase.
The first evidence of a Richardson, Jack-in-the-Pulpit was found against reference number 9165 for the year 1876. This showed a vase with both a rounded front and rear to the trumpet as well as having both the front turned down and the back flipped up. The height was given as 6 inches. Contemporary black milk glass vase
Contemporary black milk glass vase.
Opalescent green glass ocean shell whimsy
Opalescent green glass ocean shell whimsy.
The English made Jack-in-the-Pulpits command nowhere near as much in price as those of Tiffany, but they are just as beautiful, and in the eyes of some are more artistic. The vases were made in a multitude of colours and some had very attractive applied chainwork with applied petal leaf bases. Not only being found as having been made in England and America but also in most glass areas of Europe. Some of the latter day pieces are very often Czechoslovakian and they are usually priced within the reach of most pockets. Richardson opalescent uranium / vaseline glass vase
Richardson opalescent uranium / vaseline glass.
Opalescent peach glass Jester's Cap
Opalescent peach glass 'Jester's Cap'.
The natural Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a poisonous plant and that alone, apart from the fact one is animal and vegetable whereas the other is wood or metal, is the only difference. The fact that we find such vases dating back to 1854 in the archive pattern books of Stevens & Williams clearly indicates that the idea of such a style could well have been taken from the common wild flower similar to a Jack-in-the-Pulpit, which is found in the British Isles and commonly called 'Lords and Ladies'. Again this style of vase had been produced for more than 50 years within the glass making areas of England, a good forty years before any of those produced by Louis C. Tiffany. Purple slag glass vase. Maker Unknown.
Purple slag glass vase.
Maker Unknown.
Large irridescent glass trumpet vase by Terry Crider
Large irridescent glass
trumpet vase
by Terry Crider
At this point one can find no previous American Glassmaker making this style subsequent to Tiffany. We know of the likes of Nash, Northwood and Carder all starting up in the States and it is very evident that the design produced by both Tiffany and Steuben was gained from their knowledge of the style they had left behind in England. Thomas Webb blue Coralene glass vase
Thomas Webb blue Coralene glass vase.
Gold Aurene glass vase by Steuben
Gold Aurene glass vase by Steuben
And so, inspiration of our forefathers and our forefathers fathers has given something of beauty for all to enjoy and marvel at. The Art of the Glassmaker is tested to his highest degree in producing this style of vase in glass. Carl Radke of Phoenix Studios in California said, 'Jack~in~the~Pulpit' vases are extremely hard to make. 'Making a Jack iridescent, is ten fold more difficult!' Carl became intrigued with the technical difficulty of making Jacks, hundreds of them make it no further than the floor, hundreds more sold off as seconds, even today his success rate is only about 80%. It is people like Carl who are reviving the art of our ancestors and may they continue to do so for many years to come. Stevens and Williams trailed glass vase. Dated 1854.
Stevens and Williams trailed glass vase. Dated 1854.
Contemporary Abelman Art-Glass Studio vase.
Contemporary Abelman Art-Glass Studio vase.
Many glassmakers in the US have also made this style in varying styles and perhaps the most notable apart from Tiffany and Steuben must be those made by Fenton Art-glass. Frank Fenton has been very helpful in researching these vases and it was Fenton who initially called them 'Tulip' vases in their earlier catalogues. Now they are both referred to as either 'Jack~in~the~Pulpit' or 'Tulip' vases. Fenton archive records show many fine examples of this style being made throughout their history and some lines are still in current production now. Fenton Heart Optics glass vase.
Fenton Heart Optics glass vase.
Fenton opalescent striped cranberry glass vase.
Fenton opalescent striped cranberry
glass vase.
In the UK the art of making this style has not gone, with Okra Glass of Stourbridge and John Ditchfield under the company banner of Glasform, both making some fine examples in varying iridescent finishes. The main problem these days confronting the Glassmaker is that they are forced by law not to use ingredients that were used in the latter part of the last century and the beginning of this one. Lundberg glass vase in Quetzal style.
Lundberg glass vase in Quetzal style.
Murano glass vase.
Murano glass vase.
In my own collection I have so many styles both old and new, free blown, blow moulded and pressed versions. It is not only glassmakers of England, America and Europe that have continued to produce this style of vase, and a special note should be taken on those made by 'Murano'. The style and workmanship that goes into these vases must have impressed even the Italians and hence they took up the challenge and started to produce them in the heavy glass we have come to know as 'Murano'. Likewise we see current vases being made in Czechoslovakia and I am sure it will not be long before the Far Eastern countries follow suit. Richardson oplaescent striped and trailed uranium / vaseline glass vase
Richardson opalescent striped and trailed uranium vaseline glass vase
Tiffany Gold Favrile glass vase 1
Tiffany Gold Favrile glass vase.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit vases come in a full range of shapes, sizes, colours and finish and possibly the most sort after are those in Cranberry or in Peachblow. However it matters not what colour, or style adaptation it is a vase with a long history and stands proud in the cabinets of many glass collectors world wide.

Many would say that the newer pieces out there in the market place are 'reproductions', but so what. Any vase of this style will always appeal to the lover of them, no matter if old or new. With those of Tiffany, Steuben, Stevens and Williams, Richardsons and Thomas Webb & Sons commanding the highest of prices, the current market place still allows one to build a collection at a very reasonable price considering the artistry which goes into making them.
Tiffany Gold Favrile glass vase 2
Tiffany Gold Favrile glass vase.
Victorian Uranium / Vaseline Glass Vase
Victorian Uranium / Vaseline Glass Vase.
So whether you be an avid collector as I am or you just enjoy the beauty of art-glass there is a Jack-in-the-Pulpit to suit all pockets. Mostl of the modern ones command a price of around 30/75 (US$ 50/125) whereas the high end of the range such as Tiffany or Steuben will be in the tens of thousands range. So I can advise that an item of beauty need not cost a fortune. The inspiration this flower has given to all artists alike can be seen in other non-glass items, which depict the flower. A copper sculpture, a tile trivet and even paperweights are all out there to be added to collections. One can only wonder at the legacy this natural wild woodland flower has left for all. Victorian White Milk Glass Vase
Victorian White Milk Glass Vase.
Leading Glassmakers who we know have produced this style of vase include:
Stevens & Williams
L.C.Tiffany
Mount Washington
Stuart
Blenko Glass Company
Phoenix Glass Company
Moser
Gundersen
Quetzal Art Glass
Gibson Glass Company
Thomas Webb & Sons
Steuben Glass
Pairpoint Glass Company
Webb-Corbett
Boston and Sandwich Glass Company
Numerous Czechoslovakian Glassmakers
Various Murano Glassmakers
Imperial Glass Company
Lundberg Studios
Alum Bay Glass
Fenton Art-Glass
Loetz
Okra Glass
Terry Crider
Glasform
Richardsons
Ozarks Glass
Gibson Glass
Abelman
Mount Joye
And many, many others who have taken such a style and adapted it to their own unique style.


Click here for an article with an excellent photo sequence of all the stages in the manufacture of a Jack in the Pulpit glass vase


David M Issitt

The author of this article may be contacted at:

glasswriter@crowfans.net


This article is copyright protected and cannot be used in any form without the expressed permission of
David M. Issitt the author.
Copyright 2005

Some of the illustrations within this document are copyright Tony Hayter (1st.Glass) Copyright 2005


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