Morgantown Gold Stencil Decoration


Bert Kennedy

A wonderful find came my way recently via Ebay. Most of us can say that. But this was an Ebay auction I lost. I had made a modest bid on a pair of Morgantown Belton tumblers with a seldom seen decoration. I figured not may bidders would think much of it so I did not bid high. As it turns out a lovely lady bidder, who did not know what they were, just liked them because of the delicate gold trim. I thought she knew what they were and that she might have just wanted one of the pair. So I contacted her to see if I could purchase one for my documentation of Morgantown decorations. Once I had told her what I wanted to do with the tumblers she said I could have them. So I paid the seller and sent the high bidder a copy of Share the Vision so she could identify more Morgantown product. The seller made a sale, the high bidder got a new reference book and I had my tumblers for documentation. This was a perfect Ebay transaction with all parties happy.

Now this is what I received. It was a 9074 Belton cone footed tumbler with a grey cutting and a gold tracery decoration. That decoration was Toulon.

Before we look at the Toulon decoration, let us go back and review this gold stencil decoration style. Morgantown produced a gold stencil decorated line on stem line 7654, Lorna. It was in the pattern of Mikado etch but it was not an etching. It was a gold painted decoration that was placed on a Ritz Blue bowl, seen below.

If it was placed on a Ritz Blue bowl, it is named Bohemia. If the same decoration was placed on Spanish Red, it is named Venetia. This explanation is found in the 1931 Morgantown catalog reprint on page 13.

The Spanish red version is shown courtesy of Leora Leasure.

These two gold tracery decorations do not seem to show up very often but they are very well received when found.

Now back to the Toulon decoration on the Belton tumbler. Toulon, as most Morgantown collectors know is not an easy find. But this was not an etching. It was produced just like the Bohemia and Venetia decorations. It is a gold stencil decoration. Since it is painted, and not a gold filled etching, it is not as durable and thereby more scarce than a normal Toulon etching. Below is the picture of this gold stencil decoration.

I wonder if we will find this gold decoration on Ritz Blue or Spanish Red bowls? Keep searching. If we do, should we have special names for it?

While doing this article I also found another gold stencil decoration that Morgantown did that I have not yet found an example for. It is found on the 7660 stem line, Empire. This decoration is mentioned in Jerry Gallagher’s Morgantown book on page 134. The gold stencil decoration is named Viennese if found on Ritz Blue, and Milan if found on Spanish Red. In the 1931 catalog reprint this stem line is labeled Venetian. But what does the decoration look like. For this link we must again refer back to the 1931 catalog reprint. It is found on page 13.

It is described in the catalog as "Bowls of glowing Spanish red or vivid Cobalt Blue decorated with fine tracery of gold." But what is that etching? This may be a little of a stretch but not too much I hope. The gold decoration appears to be the same as the one found on page 111 in Share the Vision. It shows a pair of plain Torches. An example of that is shown below.

If you add a chain swag, between the torches, then it looks very much like the decoration shown in the 1931 catalog on the empire goblet. Does anyone have an example of this gold stencil decoration that you might like to share? "Yes," replied Leora Leasure, "I have an example." We see below that example of Milan and Viennese gold tracery on the Empire stem.

All of these gold decorated treasures are the product of an active imagination that we so often find in our Morgantown glass.

Morgantown still has lots of secrets to reveal and the more we share the more pieces of this vast puzzle we can put together. Thanks for sharing.

A color version of this article will be on my website soon. Check my site at http://www.dealersdirect/Dealer/Kennedy/index.html