TRIBUTES have been paid to an influential Stourbridge glass designer who enjoyed a sparkling career with Stuart Crystal.
Renowned post-war British designer John Luxton, who spent his career with the world famous glassmaking firm based in Camp Hill, died in hospital on Sunday (September 29) after a short illness. He was 93.
Charles Hajdamach, one of the country’s leading glass experts, described Mr Luxton’s passing as a “great loss to the industry”.
He said: “He was a major figure. Along with Irene Stevens and David Hammond, he was one of a triumvirate of very important post war British designers who drastically altered the cut glass scene in this country.
“John would be going to places like Sweden and Italy looking at what was happening there and a lot of glass he designed is now very much sought after.”
Mr Hajdamach, who devoted a section to Mr Luxton in his book 20th Century British Glass, said Mr Luxton was a “lovely personable character”.
He added: “He was a true gentleman, very polite and well-mannered and very self-effacing.”
Born in August 1920 in Old Hill, John went to school in Halesowen and at 16 he went on to study at Stourbridge School of Art where he became interested in glass.
He later won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London but his first term was interupted by war. Called up to join the army - he served in Egypt, Iraq and Italy before being demobbed in Germany in 1946.
After this he returned to the Royal College and in 1949 he joined Stuart Crystal where he remained until his retirement in 1985.
During his glittering career Mr Luxton, who lived in Hagley, met the Pope and actress Grace Kelly.
He also designed a lead crystal trophy for the ultimate bodybuilding competition - the Mr Universe contest run by the National Amateur Bodybuilding Association (NABBA) - which resulted in his works of art adorning the mantlepieces of some of the world’s top musclemen.
Even after retiring - such was the interest in his designs that he was enticed back to work, in his 70s, to develop a new range based on a piece he designed in the 1950s for Stuart Crystal.
Marketed under the Waterford Wedgewood brand, which took over the Stuart name, it was known as the Luxton Collection and proved a successful seller.
Aside from his professional achievements, Mr Luxton was “loved by all who knew him” - his granddaughter Katrina Luxton told the News.
She said: “He was a wonderful father to Peter and my dad Martin, grandfather to me and my cousin Dominic and my mum says he was the best father in-law anyone could wish for.
“He never asked for anything, he gave generously of his time, attention and love to us all, was always there for us and was the sweetest man who always said he 'didn't want to be a bother to anyone'.
“He loved his wife Betty very much and they spent their lives together working in the community until her death, aged 86.
“They worked for 'meals on wheels' for 40 years, manned the local community helpline and worked for it giving lifts to those who needed transport to doctors, dentists - in fact anywhere in the locale.
“John also supported Betty in her role as chairperson of the WI and spent 25 years as the floor manager and host of the local Hagley Play Group."
Tributes to Mr Luxton can be paid on a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/G.J.Luxton) on which Katrina plans to post designs by her grandfather that have never been seen publicly before.
Mr Luxton's funeral will be held at 3.30pm on Friday October 11 at Stourbridge Crematorium.