James Powell & Sons, Whitefriars Glassworks
The original Whitefriars works were established in London in the late seventeenth century, They were acquired in 1834 by a wine merchant, James Powell (1774-1840), to provide employment for his three sons. The firm was managed from 1840 to 1894 by Arthur Powell, an outstandingly able and imaginative manufacturer. lmportant producers of stained glass, the firm experimented with the revival of medieval techniques under the direction of the glass historian Charles Winston from 1853, D.G. Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown were approached to design for the firm. The Waltham Abbey east window made by Powells was commissioned by William Burges and designed by Burne-Jones. With the foundation of the Morris firm the connection with Powell's was continued. ln 1859 Morris commissioned Philip Webb to design table glass for the Red House. His simple Venetian-inspired designs were made by Powell and stocked by the Morris firm, along with those by Thomas Graham Jackson (1835-1924), previously an assistant of G. Gilbert Scott. Powell's supplied glass liners for Liberty, W.A.S Benson and C. R. Ashbee's Guild of Handicraft. The firmís designs were sold by the most avant-guard retailers of the day, from Tiffany in London and New York to Siegfried Bing in Paris. They exhibited at Philadelphia in 1876, Paris in 1878 and 1900, and Turin in 1902. The South Kensington Museum bought examples of glass for the collection in 1876. The production of artistic domestic glass was continued in to the twentieth century by their chief designer Harry Powell (1853-1922). Harry was best known for developing in 1877 two new heat reactive glass colours which revolutionised the glass blowing industry -- straw opal and blue opal -- these he had based on a traditional sixteenth-century Venetian technique.