Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dorothy Thorpe Designs

Recently we've seen Dorothy Thorpe's glassware designs regain popularity, due, in large part, to AMC's Mad Men featuring Don Draper and other cast members regularly sipping out of Thorpe's roly poly Silver Band glasses. Thorpe's designs are timeless. So, it's no wonder Mad Men has selected her designs to feature, but further, that many viewers watching have realized just how special her pieces are.

Dorothy Thorpe ca 1938.

Don Draper, of Mad Men, with a Thorpe roly poly glass.

Though much before the recent attention her pieces have garnered on television, Thorpe's designs have long been sought after and collected. Thorpe worked out of Los Angeles from the 1930s through the 1950s, a self-taught designer, developing much of her ideas through sketches and more carefully rendered drawings. 

Dorothy Thorpe Silver Band glass

As she wasn't a manufacturer of glass, Thorpe embellished glassworks first made by companies such as Tiffin and Heisey. To be clear, Thorpe purchased large lots of glass, and then added her designs to the pieces. Amongst her projects were materials such as glass, lucite, and ceramic dishware with signature designs in etching, sand-blasting, and silver overlays. Her lamps, windows, linens, and museum commissions are amongst the more rare designs.

Lucite Candlesticks by Dorothy Thorpe

In our own shop we recently put out several authentic Dorothy Thorpe designs, alongside other pieces in the manner of Thorpe. Although the silver banding was rather tarnished on the glasses, we were able to clean up the silver beautifully! We've found Thorpe's pieces have recently become incredibly popular as wedding gifts. A lot of people interested in Thorpe designs are leaning towards giving these gifts, since they are unique, classic, and collectable.

Many of Thorpe's pieces were unsigned, although this platter is signed underneath.

You can begin to make out Thorpe's signature on the underside of our platter.

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