by Dr. Lori Verderame
History of Mary Gregory glass
There are some reports that indicate that Mary Gregory glass was produced by the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company of Sandwich, MA in the United States of America and painted by a decorator of that same name, circa 1880s. It has not been confirmed that Mary Gregory existed but the collectible glassware called Mary Gregory is amassed by many collectors in many forms such as pitchers, lemonade sets, glasses, etc. Mary Gregory designs originated in Europe sometime before 1880 and were introduced to the United States in the late 19th/early 20th Century. There is still many pieces of new Mary Gregory glasswars still being made in Europe and in the United States.
Westmoreland Glass Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania introduced Mary Gregory designs from 1957 thru 1984 and many of these designs were on black glass supports or black glass backgrounds. In New York, the Jeanette Glass Company produced Mary Gregory pieces too. The Fenton Art Glass Company produced pieces with painted cameo decorations in the Mary Gregory style, too.
What to Look For
When it comes to identifying a piece of Mary Gregory glass, it is not as easy as looking for a white figure painted onto a colored glass body. It is important to look for some tell-tale signs of authenticity.
A distinguishing feature of Mary Gregory glasswares is the stylized white enamel painting on the surface of a piece of colored glass. Subjects typically refer to the late 19th Century interest in pastoral landscape scenes and often feature young children. Children may be depicted alone or in groups of two or three children. The Mary Gregory imagery usually depicts a child in an outdoor setting, playing with a butterfly net or a hoop, frolicking with friends, or blowing bubbles. Often times, trees, streams, flowers, and foliage are prominent within the composition in the white enamel paint, too. This type of glass decoration developed from painted cameo glass produced in Europe circa 1870.
Request an online appraisal of your Mary Gregory glass piece from Dr. Lori.