Monday, 28 July 2008

Tony Kuepfer Tall Glass Bottles from the 1980s

I have mentioned before my enthusiasm for the distinctive tall bottles Tony Kuepfer made at his Inglewood glass studio in the 1970s and 1980s. From time to time when one becomes available I will add it to my collection, which now numbers about 35 of them.

In March I presented three of these bottles to the New Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt following my loan of the bottles for their Doreen Blumhardt exhibition last year. The Dowse did not have an example in their collection, so they were pleased to accept them.

Sadly, I also broke one, an early example I have had for a while. But in May a TradeMe dealer from New Plymouth, from whom I have bought glass previously, offered this piece, which I was pleased to buy. It seemed to me to be a later piece, with the elongated neck not so dysfunctionally thin as in Tony's early examples. The mis-shapen lip is a distinctive Kuepfer feature, and the colour is also a favourite of Tony's.

As with most of these bottles, it is not signed, though it is unquestionably Tony Kuepfer's work. However, I was delighted when only a couple of weeks later this very similar signed bottle appeared on TradeMe. It had what I considered an unreasonably high reserve, but after it was passed in a couple of times, the trader put it on again with a much more reasonable reserve, which I was pleased to accept - I was the only bidder. It has the engraved signature AWK '85, as well as a stick on paper label from a previous owner. This is one of relatively few dated tall bottles, but the date confirms my opinion that this wider necked form without surface decoration is later than the very thin necked pieces with the palmate designs.

The unsigned piece, top left, is 38 cm tall, while the signed one, right, is 33cm tall. I have another couple of similar but smaller examples, which I don't yet have good photos of (see my last post on photography!)