Antique Legacies

Mary Gregory

 Mary Gregory & Her European Relatives

“Mary Gregory” style and European Relatives

Who was Mary Gregory and did she really paint little children on Victorian era glassware? No, she did not!

The popular tale that started in the 1920’s, was that Mary Gregory was a glass decorator who worked for the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company in Sandwich, Massachusetts in the late 19th century, from 1880 to 1884.  It appears her job was to decorate Gone with the Wind style lamps., but nothing involved children.  In fact, she died in 1908, and extensive research revealed that the decoration known as “Mary Gregory” was not produced in this country prior 1957.

Painted Cameo, Poor Man’s Cameo, Quarkmanl (white people) or Curd Statuettes (white enamel painting of people)

White enameled glass originated in Europe, and was not sold on the American market until long after Gregory retired from the glass decorating business.  White enameled glass, especially those with hair, faces and hands painted in color originated from Europe. It is now known to have started in the mid 19th century and it was extensively exported to England and the United States well into the 20th century.

The Bor Region (Haida in German) was the hub of the glass decorating industry. One thing the industry was depended on was timber to fuel their furnaces. When the supply was exhausted, the glass makers would move to a new location. The decorators of Haida were different, they preferred to stay in one place (Bor Region). Glass from all factories was shipped to Bor to be decorated. Several thousand decorators worked in small shops or at home, each specializing in their style.

Almost all of the “Mary Gregory” glass that was produced in Europe was made at the Hahn Factory at Gablonz (Bohemia). The factories in other regions of Bohemia also produced this type of glass, even the highly regarded factory of Moser at Karisbad. There is no evidence of ‘Mary Gregory’ glass originating in England.

The two major glass schools (Kamenicky Senov (founded 1856) and Novy Bor (founded in 1870) taught all versions of designs and the art of painting on glass. Prior to 1918, in the southern and western sections of Bohemia, decorators concentrating on flowers, birds, and Rococo motifs were found. But the area around Bor was the place the Quarkmanl was painted. Why? No other decorators knew how to do the style.

This type of glass was well received in the Great Exhibition (the Crystal Palace Exhibition) in Hyde Park (London) of 1851 and the 1853 New York Exhibition.

It appears that most of the collection came from the Muhlhaus Company.  Julius Muhlhaus erected a modern glass refinery in Haida (Novy Bor) and in 1872, he was granted the right to incorporate the coveted imperial eagle on his seal. (#2666 presentation piece). Muhlhaus brought high quality glass blanks from glass makers (ie. Harrach).

Carl Hosch also established a firm encompassed glass refining, manufacturing and exporting. From 1868 it was located in Haida (Novy Bor). It purchased glass from local glass factories and painted it in a large factory or contracted with individual painters for specific designs (perhaps like #4637).

This means the pieces collected by my Grandmother, both the pieces collected by her family in 1880-1904, wedding presents in 1905 and their trips were from Europe. The detail on these older pieces is very fine compared to the later pieces generated in 1920’s and beyond. Those that belong to the family prior to 1910 are marked.

The earlier pieces will have a light feel since they were mouth blown into a mold. They will usually a pontil mark on the base, although these may be ground down.  Machine molded like the pieces produced by Westmoreland in 1950’s until 1985 when the company went out of business.

The older pieces will have the enamel work painted in several delicate layers with greater intricacy of detail than the newer pieces. This requires multiple firings. The figure is oddly old-fashioned in its presentation and the enamel is fired onto the glass (1829-1900’s) once, twice or more to create the depth. The Victorian children are dressed in their Sunday best and are portrayed as playing games, holding a ball, or holding a staff of wheat, branch or leaves. Sometimes, they are playing a trumpet or blowing bubbles. The trees and foliage often have a typical ‘feathered’ look.

The value is also affected by the colour of the glass, which is by most collectors (less expensive to most expensive) ranked as clear, clear with amethyst, dark green, light green, amber, light blue, turquoise, cobalt blue, champagne (rare) amethyst (rare), ruby or cranberry.

There are three major considerations that may be helpful:

  1. Categories of decoration
  • Classical
  • Realistic
  • Stylized
  1. Details in the painting
  • White-on-white build-up
  • Firing techniques
  • Animation and posture
  • Color
  1. Overall skill and appeal

My expertise in this system is quite new, however, I will try my best to guess as to Glass and Decoration.

Because many of the pieces belong to my grandmother, either as wedding gifts or trips to Europe the dates are fairly well known.  (1900 – 1920)


Highly detailed paintings in the Victorian and Art Nouveau  styles.  A sense of depth was created by applying enamel in varying thicknesses. The enamel was built up a period of several days and involved 2 or more firing: “points” are evident.

1920s-1930 ( between the wars )

Simpler designs in compliance with geometric and Art Deco styles. The details flow smoothly into the base coat of white enamel.


Simpler overall designs with details created by “taking away” some of the enamel.


Truitt, Robert and Deborah.  Mary Gregory Glassware 1880-1990.  2nd Ed.  Image Graphics Inc.  Kentucky, pp.105,  2008.

 x ‘Mary Gregory’ Style or Painted Cameo
Emerald Green Vases

This stunning pair of Emerald Green vases were a
wedding gift from Europe for my Grandmother’s
and Grandfather’s marriage in early 1905.

The girl is beckoning to the young man who a holding
his hat behind his back and a walking stick in his right
hand. The young lady is holding basket with flowers in
her left hand. Both of their costumes are intricately
done, the trees are in bloom. The garment worn by the
girl around the waist and hips is called a “honzik”
fashionable at the turn of the century. Both of the
heads and arms are painted in delicate colors.

The vases a clear rigaree (ornamentation on the glass
in early vases and decanters consisting of narrow
applied band forming parallel ribs) down the sides of
the vase. Mulhaus catalog shows the rigaree trim down
the sides and the figures are similar to the work done 

They are in perfect condition, 10.75” tall. As they are
family heirlooms, there is a letter describing their origin
from my Grandmother.

Decoration: 7-8

263            $550          
  ‘Mary Gregory’ Style Champagne Glasses
In a leather presentation case - 1904

This leather case and rich red lining frames a set of 11
glasses (1 broken) are a champagne in color. The
glasses are individual girls and boys in varying poses of
play. The actions are wonderfully portrayed.
The brush work is excellent and very delicate.
They were another family wedding gift to my grandmother. 

They are 3.75” tall , gold rimmed and in mint condition.
I don’t think they were ever used. 

All eleven of the glasses are shown.

They are not the usual amber color and it is
described as ‘champagne’. A rare find.

Decoration: 8

Glass: 8 

265            $1,000       

‘Mary Gregory’ Style Perfume Bottle 
with Fancy Stopper c.1880-1920.

The perfume bottle was on my Grandmother’s vanity 
but I don’t know if it was a wedding gift or later. 
The enamel work is very beautiful and depicts a 
young lady holding a leaf or flower and foliage like 
suspiciously like palms. There are three birds on the right. 
The painting is very delicate and shows multiple 
layers and “point”, it is typical of early work.

The bottle is in perfect condition except for two 
very small chips on the top of the bottle. 
The top stopper has a small chip on the bottom 
of one of the facets. The bottle is 6” tall and
the stopper is 3”. 

Decoration  7-8

267            $250    



‘Mary Gregory’ Style  Electric  Blue Tumblers -

This stunning of electric blue tumblers depicting a girl and boy, are 3.75” in height. Their faces, hair, and hands are well painted. They are typical of early painting. The girl has a collar that appears to be sailor-type, the cuffs and bow tie are nicely done. Her shoes are secured by narrow ankle straps. The little boy is reaching out with a branch and he has a similar collar and Victorian style jacket and short pants. The foliage is typical of the earlier type of style.   The glasses are eight sided in the interior but smooth on the outside.

The glass with the girl has the gilt worn on the rim of the glass, otherwise, is in perfect condition. The boy is also perfect but for the gilt on the rim of the glass. There are 2 tiny imperfects in the top of the glass associated with manufacturing.

Glass   6

Decoration 6-7

452   $125        


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Water Pitcher  and 6 tumblers

This set is hand blown and a pontil mark on the bottom. The setting is atypical and features a sailboat in clear glass pitcher that has a ruffled top topped with gilt. It is smooth on the outside and has 12 ruffles on the sides and the six prominent ruffles on the top and a reeded handle. It is 8.5” tall.

Decoration  5

The glasses are 3.75” and feature six boys dressed as sailors, three facing left and three facing right. The glasses are smooth on the outside and have eight ribs on the inside. Each of them has an oar in one hand and is gesturing with the other hand. The boys are painted with blue caps with hair, faces, and hands nicely done. They are dressed in Victorian sailor’s suits. The background includes cattails. Originally the glasses were all topped with gilt, but it is worn on most of them.  The glasses are eight sided. There are very small imperfects in the glasses. All are hand-blown with pontil marks. C. 1880-1899.

Decoration  7

1527                   $800 the set        


‘Mary Gregory’  Style Pitcher and Tumblers

c 1880-1920

This deep blue pitcher depicts a windmill, the style is similar to that of Muhlhaus Company (1888 catalog). The blades and structure of the mill are the same.  The only other color beside white is trim on the mill (deep yellow). The pitcher is 8.75” tall and 6” wide (included the handle). The trees and landscape are nicely done. The top of the pitcher is deeply ruffled. 

The accompanying glasses are approximate 4” inches in height and 2.75” in diameter. They mirror the windmill in the pitcher include the three birds.  One glass has a two tiny rim chips.

Decoration  7

1704      $400      


‘Mary Gregory’ Style  Emerald Green Pitcher

This 6.5” tall, emerald green pitcher features a little girl holding out a leafed branch. She has a dress of Victorian style and shoes with straps. Trees and ground foliage is typical style. There is a band of thin gold gilt around the base of the neck. The pitcher is smooth on the outside but has 12 interior ribs.  There is a pontil mark on the bottom.

c. 1880-1899.

There are small imperfects in the glass that occurred during the blowing of the glass.

Decoration  6-7

1927                   $ 95       


‘Mary Gregory’ Style  Clear Pitcher 6.5 inch

The clear glass pitcher is 6.25” tall and is of the old ( 1880-1899) era.  There is a pontil mark on the bottom and the usual glass imperfects resulting in the blowing of the glass.

This young lady is shown holding a cone containing flowers(?) or some thing. The girl has a dress that is not Victorian in style, otherwise the foliage and trees are typical.

c. 1900- 1920.

Decoration  5

1928          $75        


‘Mary Gregory’ Style  Electric Blue Presentation Piece 1895

This is a electric blue presentation piece dated 1895. It measures 3.75”  and has a crest on the front that is the Imperial Crest of Germany. This may be a Muhlhaus Company product. The one side is written “Lucie Brodthagen c Italien Hambury 1895”.  There is gold gilt around the rim, the base and the handle. The outside of the piece is smooth but the interior has 8 ribs.   

Decoration  8-9


2666          $140        


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Very Old Hand Blown Decanter with Inverted Thumb  

This is a very old (c. 1860-1880) clear glass decanter and a

magnificent  hand blown top.  There is a pontil mark on the bottom. The top and the sides of the decanter have the inverted thumbprint.  The base is 5” tall and the top is 3.75”,  overall the height is 8.5”.

The little girl is delicately painted. She has a light type of dress and is holding a bouquet of leaves or leaves and flowers.  

Decoration  6-7

2848                   $225     


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Clear Glass Reeded Pitcher

This clear glass pitcher stands 7.25” tall.  The handle is ‘reeded’ in shape. The little boy is playing a trumpet and has an excellent detailing, especially  the  boy. The surface is smooth on the outside and has 12 flutes in the interior. C 1880-1900.

The pontil mark is present on the base and gold gilt is in excellent condition on the rim. There is a crack due to packing on the interior by the handle it does not interfere with the figure and it does not appear to go thorough.

Decoration  7

3094          $125        


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Pair of 12” Colbalt  Blue Vases

This stunning pair of vase stands 12” in height. They were a anniversary gift for my Grandparents.  The vases are topped with a deep ruffle and flared out near the bottom.  The figures are two little girls, who holding a flower and a basket and the other a ball. The dresses, faces, arms and hands, and legs are painted a light yellow-beige. This color is carried over to the trees, foliage, and fence behind them.

There are pontil marks on  the base. The site of origin is Europe, c. 1890-1910, or before. I believe that this may be a Carl Hosh vase, no. 6785,( or one like it) located in Novy Bor.

Decoration  5

4055          $600 for the pair     


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Cranberry Juice Glass

This cranberry juice glass is 4.25” in height. There is a tiny rim flake present. There are tiny marks associated the blowing the glass and gold gilt rim is almost gone. The little boy is elegantly dressed in a waistcoat and breeches. He is extending a stalk of wheat (a gesture of friendship) to a little girl ( not shown – sold ). The foliage is elegant and delicate. The overall work is excellent. This is very old c. 1880-1899.


Decoration 7-8

4311                   $75         


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Emerald Decanter c.1880-1895

The decanter is 7.5” in height and is thought to be c.1880-1895. The hand blown piece (pontil) is from Europe and is decorated with a elegant cupid. This cupid is in exquisite detail and is pictured in a garden of flowers. The reverse side also has a single flower depicted.

The ewer has a circular foot, a scalloped rim and an applied clear glass handle. The outside is smooth and the interior has 16 sides. This is old and very beautiful. A cupid resembling this one is present in Muhlhaus catalog in 1888.

Decorator  7-8

4332     $200        


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Juice Glass - Green

This darling juice glass stands 3.75” high. The little girl has a Victorian dress with traditional collar and belted waist. She is holding a stalk of wheat. The foliage is typical and very well pictured. 

The  glass is hand blown and has a tiny little imperfection associated. The gold rim is well worn but remains in one area. c.  1880-1900.

Decoration  6-7

4400     $75       


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Deep Green Juice Glass

The juice glass is 4” high and has a smooth exterior and an eight sided interior.   Like the ewer ( #4332) this cupid looks like the same artist(s) is/are responsible. It may be a companion of the ewer. The elegant cupid is depicted in a flower garden and has the same delicate artwork and style as the ewer in the Muhlhaus catalog issued in 1888.

Decoration   7-8

4401    $95      


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Clear Pitcher c. 1900-1920

This clear pitcher measures 6.5” in height. It has a smooth exterior and 12 inverted ribs, It has the usual hand blown glass tiny imperfections. The gold gilt on the rim is in very good condition. A little girl is depicted; she is holding a tiny bud with leaves. Her dress is somewhat newer as compared to the Victorian era, probably in a era of 1900-1920.  Her face, hair, hands and arms are painted. Her face is painted in old style features. The trees and foliage are represented in traditional style.

Decoration  5-6

4402     $155    


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Clear Pitcher

This pitcher stands 6.5” high and features a little girl holding a watering pot.  She is dressed in a 1900-1920 style later than the Victorian style. The shape of her face is somewhat different.  Her collar is raised and dress has short sleeves and her skirt is shorter as well. The foliage and trees are altered as well.

The outer surface is smooth and the inner surface has ten inverted ribs.

Decoration  5-6


4403     $155       


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Tumbler – Old 1880-1899

This tumbler is 4.5” high and depicts a boy holding a bird in has left hand and a cane in his right hand. His dress is Victorian in style, with a short, buttoned jacket, pants are just below the knee and they have buttons as trimming. His boots had four buttons.  The trees and foliage are done in the old style.

The tumbler is gold rimmed, but is worn. The exterior is smooth but the interior has 12 ribs.

Decoration   7-8

4406     $95     


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Clear Biscuit Barrel

This biscuit barrel is clear glass and topped by the dome shape cover.  It stands 7.75” high and is 4.25”.  The figure is a little boy holding a branch in both hands. His hair, face and hands are painted. The detail on the figure is not so fine as a earlier pieces. C.1889-1900.  The background appears to be sand dunes or mountains with palm trees.

Decoration  6-7

4545     $175     


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Cranberry Presentation Box

This little box is 2” high and 2.25” in diameter. I am told that Grandfather brought for Grandmother on one of their trips to Europe.(1905-1920).  The gold gilt is almost perfect. The little girl is wearing a head cover and that appears to be Dutch-like. The figure is very delicate and nicely done. The gilt that covers both the lid and box proper is in perfect condition. This box is beautiful and deserves a good home.

Glass   9

Decoration 9

4609    $200      


‘Mary Gregory’ Style Amethyst Vases


A pair of beautiful amethyst vases measures 10” in height with applied clear handles on each side. They look like they belong to the Muhlhaus Company collection (1888-1910). The exterior is smooth and the interior has 12 ribs.  The shape of the vases is very attractive and the color of deep amethyst captures your eye.

The subject is a beautiful lady with flowing locks. She looks like a real person rather than a stylized figure. She is surrounded by flowers (stylized tulips ?).

Who is she?

Glass         9

Decoration  9 

4637     $450