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Stourbridge glassmaker to donate Portland Vase replica to museum
8:00am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Local
STOURBRIDGE’S 2012 version of the most famous cameo vase in antiquity is to be donated to a group set up to preserve the area’s prized glass collection.
Ian Dury, of Stourbridge Glass Engravers, co-ordinated the town’s ambitious 2012 Portland Vase project which saw the iconic glass vase and associated similar pieces recreated by Stourbridge glassmakers to celebrate 400 years of glassmaking in the area.
The replica Portland Vase was unveiled to world museum bosses last August at the town’s International Festival of Glass and the associated artifacts - including a replica of the similarly important Auldjo jug - were finished off over the ensuing months.
Now all of the pieces are complete - Ian has announced that he intends to hand them over, on permanent loan, to the British Glass Foundation (BGF) for inclusion in a new Black Country glass museum.
Plans are afoot to build a new state-of-the-art museum on the old Stuart Crystal factory site in Camp Hill, Wordsley, to replace Kingswinford’s Broadfield House Glass Museum where much of Stourbridge’s historic glass collection is housed.
If the project goes to plan, Ian’s pieces would form the centrepiece of the new museum which glass fans say would be a world class heritage site.
Ian, who has a studio at Amblecote's Ruskin Glass Centre, says he would retain overall ownership of the priceless pieces, which were carved by Black Country glass engraver Terri Colledge, but he would like to see them housed in the proposed new museum.
He said: “It was always my intention that these pieces should remain in Stourbridge in recognition of our glorious glassmaking past and in testament to the skills that we still have in this area.
“The proposed new museum is the ideal home for them and I can think of no better custodians for these historic pieces than the BGF.”
Graham Knowles, chairman of BGF trustees, said: “This is a simply amazing gesture from a man who has the experience and knowledge of the local glass industry to put his faith in the direction that the BGF hopes to take it into the 21st century.
“It is not only us who are grateful; the entire world of glass will appreciate the sheer magnitude of this offer and what it represents.”
The original Portland Vase is the most famous piece of Roman cameo glass in the world.
Over 2,000 years old, it is housed in the British Museum in London where it is preserved by experts including Dr Paul Roberts who said Mr Dury’s replica pieces took his “breath away” when he saw them last summer.
The British Glass Foundation and developers Complex Development Projects are currently awaiting news of the success of a £2million bid for funding from the European Regional Development Fund which would help towards their proposed £5.5m project to transform the derelict old factory site into a mecca for glass enthusiasts.
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