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T.G. Hawkes Glassmaker Of Waterford Crystal

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T.G.Hawkes and Company, established in 1880 at Corning, New York, trace their glass heritage back through some of the world's finest cut glass to the "Old Singing Waterford," an earlier product of Hawkes, which name is also associated with the first fine Waterford flint glass in 1783. Unquestionably Hawkes led the Americans in cut glass prestige at the close of the nineteenth century, as attested by Hawkes' capture of the grand prize at the 1889 Paris Exposition. At present, although Hawkes largely confine their activities to decorating, their specifications dictate the clarity of the crystal they use.

All this glass tradition is reflected in Hawkes' modern cut crystal and the amazingly transparent colored glass they use; also true craftsmanship is evident in their sumptuous pieces decorated with applied precious metals and their occasional fine work in enamelling. Amidst all this gorgeous glass, however, Hawkes' outstanding work is their rock crystal cutting, ranging from heavier cut old Waterford reproductions to the more modern types, cut in lighter and more figurative designs. Hawkes' faithful reproductions of old Waterford are surpassed only by their modern glass in its greater deference to that crowning attribute of "rock crystal"-its inherent transparency. Geometrical designs, so often running into the almost banal star pattern of the late nineteenth century cut glass, have given place to more animated irregular lines of leaves, flowers, vines, et cetera, in Hawkes' modern cut crystal. And their reproductions for the most part are taken from specimens of old glass which were not the playground for abstract meandering of the cutting wheel, but rather of pleasing lines of full prismatic effect. Ruskin's castigation of cut glass and its users might have been less acrid had the cutting on Victorian goblets been as restrained as on these Hawkes' reproductions.

The artistic genius of Samuel Hawkes is chiefly responsible for the designs and decorative ideas of Hawkes' glass. In all their glass one senses this guiding mind so open to innovation though tempered with sane conservatism.

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