Seeing red (and green): Whimsical holiday items on display at Chattanooga's Houston Museum

Seeing red (and green): Whimsical holiday items on display at Chattanooga's Houston Museum

December 23rd, 2012 by Clint Cooper in Life Entertainment

An 1897 ruby-stained tankard water pitcher made by the Duncan & Miller Glass Co. is among the pieces included in the holiday glass exhibit at the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts.

An 1894 miniature St. Nichiolas lamp made by Consolidated Lamp and Glass Co. of Pittsburg, Ohio is among the pieces included in the holiday glass exhibit at the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts.

IF YOU GO

* What: "A Holiday Glass Celebration."

* When: Noon-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday or by appointment through Jan. 6.

* Where: Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, 201 High St.

* Admission: Free with museum admission of $9 adults, $3.50 children under 17 (half-price admission on Jan. 6).

* Phone: 267-7176.

* Website: www.thehoustonmuseum.org.

More than three dozen items with whimsy, history and dazzle have come out of boxes, off shelves and onto display for just a short time at the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts.

"A Holiday Glass Celebration," an exhibit of some 40 items in holiday colors of red and green, interspersed with a sparkle of gold, is on display at the Bluff View museum through Jan. 6.

"They don't get to see the light of day very much," says Amy Autenreith, museum manager. "They get to come out and play for a few weeks. We wanted to highlight some pieces not normally seen."

The holiday display is a little different than the cranberry and green glass exhibits the Houston has had in recent Christmas seasons.

"We have included some other things," says longtime board member Marilyn Hoke. "I would be comfortable in saying many of these have not been exhibited before."

"There are not a lot of things related to each other," Autenreith says, but "people have remarked what a wonderful collection it is."

All the items were part of Anna Safley Houston's lifetime collection of glass objects gathered from 1876 to 1951.

In the exhibit, the items run from the rare to the common, from everyday tumblers and sugar shakers to eclectic art glass baskets, she says.

"They're not making a lot of art glass in the States," says Autenreith, and since many of the items are either handpainted or otherwise have a particular artist's mark, they "end up being one of a kind."

Among the dated pieces are an 1894 miniature St. Nicholas lamp made by Consolidated Lamp and Glass Co. of Pittsburg, Ohio, an 1897 ruby-stained tankard water pitcher made by the Duncan & Miller Glass Co. of Washington, Pa., an 1899 green gilt banana bowl made by U.S. Glass Co. and a Steuben gold Aurene vase made in the early 20th century.

Whether the pieces were purchased new or by Houston from another owner is not clear.

"There are no original records available," says Autenreith. "She collected for a great deal of her life. The collection covers a great many years."