“Bryce Glass” Book Launch
Join authors Debra M. Coulson and Harley N. Trice for the launch of their book, “Bryce Glass: Art and Novelty in Nineteenth-Century Pittsburgh.”
Presented in partnership with the National American Glass Club Pittsburgh Chapter, this in-person program will explore the history of the Bryce Glass Company, one of the most successful designers and producers of pattern glass in the 19th century.
Authors Debra M. Coulson, a lifelong Pittsburgher and collector of American antiques, and Harley N. Trice, the great-great-grandson of company founder James Bryce, will share insights from their book and discuss the beauty and artistry of Bryce’s designs between 1850 and 1891.
Following their presentation, the authors will participate in a Q&A session and book signing. Copies of their book, “Bryce Glass: Art and Novelty in Nineteenth-Century Pittsburgh,” will be available for purchase before its release to the general public on April 25. Archival materials from the Bryce Glass Company collection will also be on view for attendees to peruse.
About the Book
Scottish immigrant James Bryce (1812–1893) began his glassmaking career at the age of ten as a child laborer on the floor of a Pittsburgh glasshouse working for $1.25 a week. In 1850, he founded his own glassware company just as pressed glass was increasing in popularity. Pressed glass transformed the lives of everyday people by making beautiful tableware widely available to those who could not afford the expensive blown and cut crystal enjoyed by their wealthy neighbors. Bryce became one of the largest producers of pattern glass in America and by 1878 was shipping its products all over the world. The company continued operations for 113 years, guided by second- and then third-generation family members.
With 190 newly commissioned color plates beautifully photographed by leading decorative arts photographer Gavin Ashworth, this volume celebrates the beauty and artistry of the naturalistic designs, colorful tableware, and whimsical novelties Bryce produced between 1850 and 1891. The book presents a vibrant study of the history and production of the Bryce Glass company, one of the most successful designers and producers of pattern glass tableware, novelties, and lamps in the nineteenth century.
About the Speakers
Debra M. Coulson is a life-long Pittsburgher, retired environmental attorney, and long-time collector of American antiques, with a particular interest in early Pittsburgh history. She began collecting Bryce glass in 1980 with the gift of a Tulip with Sawtooth celery, which sparked her curiosity about nineteenth-century pattern glass made in Pittsburgh.
Harley N. Trice has Bryce glass in his blood—he is a great-great-grandson of company founder James Bryce. Harley’s passion for Pittsburgh extends beyond glassware. He has actively engaged in the art and antiques communities, co-authoring publications, and organizing and cataloguing exhibitions highlighting the best of Western Pennsylvania art and antiques.
The book launch event is free with advance registration. The event will take place in the Detre Library & Archives, located on the sixth floor of the History Center. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Fourth floor exhibitions, including Glass: Shattering Notions, will be open for attendees to view.