Geoffrey Baxter (1922-1995) was a trailblazing British glass designer whose idiosyncratic designs now have a worldwide following at auction.
Having entered the Guildford School of Art aged 14, British glass designer Geoffrey Baxter had already shown considerable potential before his progress was abruptly halted by the advent of WWII, during which he briefly served in the RAF. Amongst the fevered efforts to rebuild Britain and the push towards modernism encapsulated by such proceedings as the Festival of Britain, Baxter picked up his studies with a place in the newly established Department of Industrial Glass within the Royal College of Art, excelling to such an extent that he was immediately hired upon graduation by William Wilson of the storied glass firm Whitefriars.
This proved to be a masterstroke for a company striving to be at the forefront of glass design in Britain, indeed Baxter was their first ‘outside’ hire following their founding in the 19th century as James Powell & Sons. A new range of organic forms in stylish blue and green colourways was soon released displaying a marked Scandinavian influence – however, Baxter soon imposed his own unique vision on the factory’s output, creating a series of wares known as the “Textured” range in 1967 which would cement his legacy as a visionary in glass.
‘Cement’ is actually an apposite term for Baxter’s best known creation, his “Drunken Bricklayer” vase, affectionately named according to the construction of the vase from three, rather precariously layered blocks; there is also the “Mobile Phone”, the “Totem Pole” and the “TV” vase amongst others.
For the collector form is crucial but so is colour and indeed this as well as any damage is a determinant factor regarding auction value; a combination of complicated form, vibrant colour and good condition will bring a premium. The most desired shape is generally that known as the “Banjo”, an imposing piece, and the most popular tones being “Aubergine”, “Meadow Green”, “Kingfisher Blue” and “Tangerine Orange”, and results can reach mid-four figure sums for the best examples.
Wilson55 feature works by Geoffrey Baxter in our Modern Art & Design auctions held four times a year covering a wide selection of furniture, studio pottery, ceramics, glass, print & multiples, paintings and more. For a free, confidential auction valuation of your collection, to enquire about any of our lots or to enter your own collection into one of our specialist sales, get in touch: email@example.com or fill in our online valuation form below.
Auctioneer and valuer specialising in Modern Design. James has recently returned to the North West after spending the last few years as a valuer in Scotland, during that time James also featured on Paul Martin's Auction Showdown for Channel 5 as a 'Rival Auctioneer'.