The Mt. Washington Glass Company was the largest American maker of Art Glass, that is, pieces that were designed to be more decorative than useful. This vase is of a type of glass marketed as “Royal Flemish” although it has nothing to do with royalty or Flanders. But the Mt. Washington Company created a number of romantic sounding names for their glassware, like Burmese and Lava glass, and this is one of those. Similarly, a number of the art glass pieces were enameled with foreign scenes. There was a certain amount of fascination with Egypt in the late 19th century, partly because the Sphinx had recently been completely uncovered from sand and travelers were fascinated by it. The Mt. Washington Glass Company also made Burmese ware with a similar Egyptian scene. This design was #1208 in the Mt. Washington records, but several of those known have slightly different borders and backgrounds although the basic scene is the same. This may be because different artists did the enameling. The reverse of the vase has a design which is in sections and has gilded medallions. Royal Flemish glass was only made for two years, as art glass was beginning to go out of fashion by 1895.
The vase is a gift from Barbara Olsen, who gifted 40 pieces to the Museum this year from the collection she and her husband formed in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Beginning in 1990, the Olsens have given the Museum 98 pieces of European and American late 19th and early 20th century American glass, all of the highest quality.