Chrysler Museum Acquires Woodall Glass Cameo Plaque

Photo: Ed Pollard

George Woodall (English, 1850–1925) and Thomas Woodall (English, 1849–1926), Thomas Webb & Son, Stourbridge, England, “The Attack,” 1896, blown, cased, acid-etched and cameo-carved glass. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., museum purchase.

NORFOLK, VA.. — The Chrysler Museum of Art has acquired an exceptional 17-inch glass cameo plaque created by George and Thomas Woodall. Titled “The Attack,” the piece dates from the late Nineteenth Century and is the Woodall brothers’ last artistic collaboration. English cameo glass was some of the most expensive glass ever produced. Large plaques like “The Attack” were difficult and time-consuming to create and a piece the size and quality of this one is especially rare.

The museum’s acquisition of “The Attack” marks the reunion of this piece with its companion, “The Intruders,” from which it had been separated for decades. When the museum acquired “The Intruders” in 1999, the pair of works had already been separated for many years. The museum’s glass collection, considered to be one of the finest in the world, also includes a set of pendant vases by the Woodall brothers, “Before The Race” and “The Race.”

Separately, it was reported that “The Attack” was bid to a record $263,500 at Bonhams’ May 1 auction of British and European glass in London by US dealer Leo Kaplan, who was bidding on behalf of the Chrysler Museum..

“The addition of this significant plaque enhances our outstanding collection of glass, and we’re excited to reunite these two long-separated works,” said museum director William Hennessey. “We’re looking forward to presenting these visually stunning masterpieces together in our expanded and renovated galleries opening in the spring of 2014.”

“The Attack” features a scene of a female figure dressed in diaphanous drapery fending off an “attack” by intruders — flying putti. The figures are under a canopy of drapes, with landscapes framing classical architectural elements. “The Attack” and “The Intruders” represent the height of the Woodall brothers’ skill and contributed considerably to their reputation as England’s most important carvers of cameo glass. Remarkably, photographs of the work in process survive and provide important historical documentation of the intricate process of cameo carving.

The Chrysler Museum is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion project that is enabling the museum to completely reinstall its collection and develop new exhibition and interpretive strategies. The acquisition of “The Attack” marks the continuing growth of the Chrysler’s nationally recognized permanent collection.

The Chrysler Museum of Art is at One Memorial Place. For information, www.chrysler.org or 757-664-6200.

Photo: Ed Pollard

George Woodall and Thomas Woodall, Thomas Webb & Son, Stourbridge, England, “The Intruders,” circa 1893, blown, cased, acid-etched and cameo-carved glass. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., gift of Rebecca W. Hitt, in memory of Billy Hitt, and museum purchase with the assistance of Mr and Mrs John S. Shannon.

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