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A personal collection and
observations on Art Glass

Maltese Glass

Two very similar styles from factories situated very close to each other. In fact two brothers individually own the two concerns and the glass styles produced do resemble each other quite closely.

Mdina

Founded by Michael Harris (see also Chance Glass), with wife Elizabeth and Eric Dobson in 1968. The partnership lasted until 1972 when the political upheavals caused Michael to leave Malta and set up Isle of Wight glass. The factory continued in much the same vein until it was taken over in 1985 by one of the original apprentices, Joseph Said, and still remains in production today.

The glass invariably used colours inspired by the surrounding area, with earth, sea and sky represented by aqua blues and greens, with earthy and sandy browns combined in a striking manner.

Classic shapes also transpired; not least the famous 'Fish' (often called 'Axe Head') and 'Hammerhead' vases. Typical tourist-ware includes the seahorse paperweight.

 

Mtarfa

Founded by Paul Said (brother of Joseph, above) in 1981 and produce a wide range of vases, bowls and dishes, as well as animal figurines. Very similar to later Mdina glass with the use of colours, but have diversified to more vibrant choices since. One characteristic of later glass is a mottled effect using one or more colours with white.

Mtarfa also create many animal figurines, but mainly fish using a variety of sommerso effects.

Collecting tips

Mdina
Shapes and sizes are what to look for in collectable Mdina glass. The early Axe Head and Hammer Head vases are very popular shapes, but any vase with a slim tapering neck is well worth looking out for. Being mainly produced for the tourist trade, the smaller vases became very popular, but paradoxically are less collectable.

Most Mdina has a vibro-engraved signature on the ground base. Labels occasionally seen.

Mtarfa
Most Mtarfa has a vibro-engraved signature on the ground base and labels are commonly seen.

 

Other Maltese glassmakers are Phoenicia and Gozo, the latter started by Michael & Elizabeth Harris as a project.

   

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