The Attack: an important cameo glass plaque by Thomas and George Woodall, completed in 1896
Lot 123
The Attack: an important cameo glass plaque by Thomas and George Woodall, completed in 1896
Sold for £169,250 (US$ 284,478) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Attack: an important cameo glass plaque by Thomas and George Woodall, completed in 1896
The circular, slightly dished plaque in dark amethyst glass overlaid in white, carved with a 'Pompeian' scene of a classical maiden standing on a terrace, her modesty protected only by a diaphanous veil, her discarded clothing and jewels scattered in the foreground amongst a water ewer and basins, her surprise caused by two mischievous Cupids, one kneeling on a wall, the other in flight above her right shoulder, majestic marbled columns and temples stand behind overlooking an idyllic scene of a distant harbour and bay, the border with four panels of delicate Romanesque ornament, signed lower left T & G Woodall, 43.5cm diam


  • Provenance:
    H C Ash, and by descent to the present owner
    British Private Collection

    Illustrated by Christopher Woodall Perry, The Cameo Glass of Thomas and George Woodall (2000) p.62
    Illustrated by Ray and Lee Grover, English Cameo Glass (1980), fig.64
    Black and white photographs of the unfinished plaque at different stages of carving taken by George Woodall survive in family archives and are reproduced by David Whitehouse, English Cameo Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (1994) p.14

    In late 1891 the brothers George (1850-1925) and Thomas Woodall (1849-1926) began working on exhibits for the Chicago Exhibition which was to be staged two years later. George Woodall produced Aphrodite and Cupid in Disgrace and collaborated with Thomas on Feathered Favourites, Diana and Endymion and Intruders.

    The Intruders plaque, the companion piece to the present lot is entered in the Thomas Webb & Son price book as ' W2794, 16 1/2" white on brown plaque: Intruders. Signed T&G Woodall'. The price of the Woodall brother's work came to £56.10s with a sale price of £160. This plaque is now in the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, object number: 99.19. It was previously in the H C Ash collection, along with the companion plaque of The Attack.

    The present plaque, which is larger than The Intruders, was given an inventory number in the factory archives as W2791. This entry was then later replaced with the number W3172, and listed in The Thomas Webb & Sons price book as:

    '17 1/4" white on brown plaque: The Attack. Signed T&G Woodall. Title Pompian scrawled in Price book'.

    The price of the Woodall brothers' work came to £190 and the original selling price was to be a massive sum of £350. It is not known when the plaques eventually sold or when they entered the collection of H C Ash. The Attack was shown at the Phillips' Exhibition of 1899 and so was presumably still owned by Thomas Webb & Son at that time.

    The Attack was to be the last work that the brothers collaborated on together. Although it had been intended to show at the 1893 Chicago Exhibition, it was not completed until March 1896. Relations between the two Woodall brothers had become strained of late, and George was heavily involved in work on The Moorish Bathers, perhaps his greatest achievement. There is one other possible reason for the delay in finishing The Attack. An article in The Lady mentioned that a flaw had been discovered in the final stages of a major plaque and the work had to be started all over again. It is possible that this flawed piece was an earlier version of the present design. If this is so, it may explain why the original number W2791 was replaced by a new inventory number
  1. John Sandon
    Specialist - Glass
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 8244
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