January 16 2010
It was lust at first sight. The object of my passion: a set of six hand-made tumblers, in Murano glass with humbug-pattern black and white swirls (first picture), which I spotted last weekend in the Strand Gallery on Aldeburgh High Street.
Ron Howell, proprietor of this delicious store in the Suffolk seaside town, describes his stock as “all the things I collect”. His eclectic enthusiasms range from prints by Prunella Clough to jewellery by Wendy Ramshaw, but for me the highlight of the gallery is an enticing selection of Italian and Scandianvian glassware for the table. Howell travels between Copenhagen, Venice and East Anglia, truffling out vintage examples from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and commissioning new pieces.
Among the classic Scandinavian gems are the “Princess” red wine glasses, with distinctive solid cone-shaped stems, designed by Bent Severin in 1958, for Danish foundry Holmegaard (second picture; £90 a pair). And my humbug glasses, made to Howell’s design by a Venetian craftsman, are earmarked as a gift for some very stylish friends who celebrate their civil partnership this summer. They’re a steal at £45 each, or 10 per cent less, should you buy four or more.