David Peace, M.B.E., F.S.A. (1915-2003)
An Engraved Lead Crystal Glass Obelisk
Wheel engraved lead crystal
The glass probably by Orrefors
39.4 cm high x 7 cm wide x 7 cm deep.
For similar engraved obelisks and an illustration of the lettering on this example here see pages 110-111, David Peace, "Glass Engraving: Lettering and Design', London, B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1985
Private Collection, Wiltshire, U.K. (Mrs Wendy Bridgman)
Clear tall glass ornamental sculpture obelisk, wheel-engraved by hand. The lead-crystal glass probably by Orrefors. The Latin lettering on the sides reading:
("Sursum Corda" (Lift Up Your Hearts))
("Tecum Habita" (Live With Yourself))
("Ut Ameris Ama") (To Be Loved, Love))
("Ora Et Labora" (Pray And work))
A spectacularly brilliant piece of virtuoso glass engraving. The Latin maxims, each of eleven letters, perfectly alinging across the obelisk's four clear glass faces.
David Peace was one of the most important glass engravers of the 20th Century. Alongside Sir Laurence Whistler (1912–2000) and William Wilson, O.B.E. (1905–1972) he jointly revived the art of glass engraving in the 1930's. He was a Founder Member and the first Chair of the Guild of Glass Engravers, where the David Peace Prize is awarded annually in his memory.
Extremely knowledgeable about artistic inscriptions, as a young engraver he had corresponded with Eric Gill, Peace wrote various papers and publications on the subject of lettering (including "Eric Gill, The Inscriptions: A Descriptive Catalogue" [London, Herbert Press, 1994].
A very similar (though smaller (31.3 cm)) obelisk was commissioned from Peace by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1998 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Fitzwilliam Museum's opening in 1848 and presented to them by the artist in 2000. A further similar, smaller wheel engraved obelisk is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
There are seven pieces of David Peace's glass in the permanent collection at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. His first one-man show was held there in 1972 and the curator Jim Ede, creator of Kettle's Yard, wrote of his pieces: "The beauty of the glass itself is seldom obstructed by his markings, but instead vibrates and glitters."
Peace received many ecclesiastical commissions and his work can be found in Westminster Abbey and at St George's Chapel, Windsor (where he produced an engraved glass screen). A bowl engraved by Peace is used by the Society of Antiquaries of London for counting the votes cast in their ballots.
For similar obelisks see V&A [C.26-1995], Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge [C.22-2000]
Good condition. A very minor 'bruise' towards the top of the 'TECUMHABITA' engraved side. A small scratch between the 'B' & 'T' of the same side. Wear to the base commensurate with age.
Sold with a copy of David Peace, "Glass Engraving: Lettering and Design', London, B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1985
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