John Saville [1834-1926], was a native of Sheffield. His father of the same name was for many years proprietor of the Red Lion Inn in the market town of Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
John Saville junior founded one of York's longest lasting retail & pharmaceutical chemist businesses, first established just a stone's throw from the City's medieval gateway, Monk Bar, at No. 4 Goodramgate (Monk Bar Within) in May 1876.
In late 2011, the York Castle Museum decided on the need to refurbish its famous long-established Victorian street, known as Kirkgate, and originally created in 1938 and now an iconic part of the Museum, comprising a cobbled street, hansom cab, as well the original facades and recreated interiors of several shops and emporiums, together with a police cell and Victorian schoolroom. Several of the shops have taken the names of long-established York businesses such as Banks Music, Sessions Printers and Terry's sweet shop, so it was with considerable excitement that the decision was made to resurrect the Saville name alongside several other new shops, and to recreate the interior of the druggist's and chemist's premises as it would have looked at the turn of the 20th Century.
With the assistance of local historian and former Saville's Photographic employee, Peter Stanhope and with the backing of Saville family members & the then curator, wendolen Whittaker, the interior of an original Victorian druggist's & chemist's premises in Kirkgate was wonderfully recreated. Features include an impressive high counter, tiers of original Victorian mahogany shelving forming a striking backdrop to the counter itself and upon which are displayed a striking array of original Victorian tallboys and chemist's jars, with incomprehensible latin drug names adorning each of their fronts. Copies of original Victorian Saville labels add an important aura of additional authenticity to many of these.
In June 2012, the newly refurbished Kirkgate was re-launched amid much public excitement & enthusiasm.
Whilst looking through the family archives in preparation for the above, we came across an old photograph of the original interior of the Goodramgate premises, probably taken circa 1900. The counter is piled high with an assortment of drugs and neatly packaged products. My great grandfather, Walter Perfect Saville, stands to one side, his assistant to the other. Behind the counter, hanging on the back wall of the shop can be seen a wonderful piece of original late Victorian advertising art – a large engraved glass, its fine lettering and decorative embellishments promoting the efficacious benefits of one of the business's longest lasting and most popular products, Saville Golden Liver & Stomach Mixture.
So it was that we were fortunate to make contact with David Smith in Torquay, one of the few craftsmen with the skill and ability to enable us to recreate (as far as was possible from the information provided in the photograph) that now sadly long lost piece of original Victorian advertising art. This wonderful piece will put the final & definitive Saville stamp on the York Castle Museum's chemist's and druggist's premises in Kirkgate and provide something as close to the Victorian original as is realistically possible, not least in using the same labour-intensive techniques, skills and craftsmanship of those late Victorian engravers and glaziers. It is a beautifully designed work by a truly unique modern artist and craftsman.
Great great grandson of John Saville [1834-1926]
August 23, 2014
Hand sketched artwork for a Gastronomy Grocer shop in South Devon, England.
May 23, 2014
category: Glass Signs
Made for Sky Sports channel and Premier League Productions. This glass sign was produced for the show which shows the making of the glass sign for the Manchester United V Liverpool game.
April 24, 2014
This is a design I made for a dear friend’s 60th birthday. Someone I met over 20 years ago at Rick Glawson’s California Conclave. Dave has been a huge inspiration to me and many others. Dave has such a lovely family, his daughter Shiloh Butler O’rourke organised his friends to make artwork in different mediums for him to open on his birthday. Happy Birthday David Butler!
April 22, 2014
category: Glass Signs
Hand made gilded Boulangerie glass sign for a private clients London kitchen.
These sets of gilded glass door surrounds are hand signwritten and water gilded to give the charm of a French boulangerie feel. Made for a bespoke kitchen surround in central London in 2014.
Photos courtesy of cabinetery / kitchen design by Increation.
April 21, 2014
Hand sketched artwork for Eco Soapia based in London. Glass Sign to follow.
April 14, 2014
This glass sign was made for John Mayer in 2013 as a thank you gift.
The glass is deep sand carved and water gilded in 24crt Gold Leaf ,12crt silver and 18crt lemon gold . The outer edge has brilliant cut facets and acid mica border with a bright gold and silver mirror finish . The shadow and outline is hand painted with a deep traditional colour of maroon enamel. The glass was slumped (heat curved) over a stainless steel ring inside my kiln to a temperature of 680 degrees. The back of this glass sign was hand sign written and the mahogany frame was french polished.
September 15, 2013
A commemorative glass gilded plaque commissioned by The National Library of Egypt, The Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and Dar al-Kutub Manuscript Project in 2012
The piece is made of 6ml toughened glass with deep sand carved lettering, mica acid stippled Islamic Design, water and matt gilded gold leaf.
Such lovely professional people to work with, and very patient.
It's now displayed in The National Library of Egypt.
March 28, 2013
Born & Raised Glass Signs - John C Mayer, Singer/Songwriter USA
Reverse Glass Signs made for John Mayer USA
March 28, 2017
Acclaimed glass artist Dave Smith toasts St. Patrick's Day with a limited edition bottle for Jameson 2013.
David Smith, a traditional glass artist, has designed a special edition bottle for Jameson on St. Patrick's Day. The contemporary bottle design was inspired by the intricate glass etching and ornate gilding synonymous with the décor of great Dublin pubs where Jameson has been enjoyed for generations. David's design reflects a classic back bar mirror and encourages you to "Embrace Your Irish Spirit" as part of the March celebrations.
This special limited Jameson bottle is the second edition in a series of annual releases by different artists. Designed to celebrate St Patrick's Day, the bottle is available in 24 markets around the world from February 2013. The uniqueness of the design and limited availability of the bottle means this is a must have for those who want to embrace their Irish spirit with friends on St Patrick's Day.
The limited edition St. Patrick's Day bottle forms part of Jameson's St. Patrick's Live celebrations. The Jameson Live Broadcast will take place in the Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin, while Jameson St. Patrick’s Live Dublin will be the flagship event for the worldwide celebrations.
Whether you are enjoying the celebrations in Dublin, Moscow, Johannesburg, or New York, Jameson brings the St. Patrick's Live celebrations to you.
Included in these photos are pictures of the day at the distillery in Dublin with family and friends. Some of the images also show how the artwork was created. Many thanks to everyone at Jameson Whiskey, Ireland
February 23, 2013
Torbay's most luxurious and bespoke beauty salon and spa. The work consists of an Ornate gilded reverse glass sign 16ft x 42", Water gilded in 24crt gold leaf and 12crt gilded numbers with matt burnished bevels on a deep brown background.
Wrought iron gilded bracket with water jet lettering and gilded finial, hanging sign 2ft x 18'' water gilded.
Front door glass and shop number above gilded 23crt gold-leaf.
Lovely clients to work with on a project like this. Thanks Roy and Sarah Ricketts.
January 8, 2013
London's second smallest museum can be found above this Notting Hill bar. The museum has included a vintage copper still, Prohibition-era bottles of the stuff and antiquarian cocktail books. It also contains the Ginstitute, where Mr Jake F Burger holds well-researched classes on the subject.
Lubricated by several glasses of Tom Collins, students learn about the history, the botanicals used to flavour gin, and create their own blend to take away in a personally signed bottle.
These three gilded opulent glass signs were made to give the atmosphere of a traditional London bar, common throughout London at the turn of the century.
The craftsmanship in these panels were all hand created using traditional methods from the Turn of the Century.
December 18, 2012
'Knowsley Alphabet' by Gordon Young, commissioned by KMBC Leisure & Cultural services for Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, Huyton, Knowlsey.
The glass is 6ft by 4ft and is half inch laminated. (it was heavy!) I was commisioned to design an elaborate quirky style letter L with under text saying (is for LEAR). The glass was brilliant cut into using rotating stone wheels ,this technique is called Brilliant cutting, each cut was blended from 12crt Gold Leaf to 16 ,18 and then finally 24crt. The panel has various tones of acid etching and mother of pearl inlay. Various glazes in colour's of reds and browns were applied and then matt gilded in 18crt goldleaf.
The painting was all hand signwritten using signwriting quills. Enjoy the pictures. Thanks..
November 22, 2011
Monogramme Glass Sign . A decorative reverse glass sign with various techniques inluding brilliant cutting and acid etching.
November 1, 2011
This piece of reverse glass gilding will be exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum London. The show will run from September 2011 to January 2012 in the V&A's Porter gallery. The V&A and Crafts Council will retain ownership of the piece after the show.
For more information on the exhibition visit: www.vam.ac.uk
August 10, 2011
This is one of two mirrors recently completed. The mirrors were hand made using the traditional Embossing and brilliant cutting techniques from over 100 years ago.
The design was hand sketched ,work was then started in March of 2010 . I took longer than usual to make these mirrors as I wanted to capture the richness of a genuine Victorian piece ,and the wide variety of techniques that the original craftsmen would of have employed. I have put together a lot of photos from start to finish to show the procedure , some are taken from different angles to show off the light on the faceted cutting , please excuse the amount of pictures taken.
These are the exact kind of mirrors you would see in Lavish surroundings ,opulent grand Houses and Beautiful Victorian Pubs around London and the British Isles. Not to mention places like Las Vegas, Dubai, Monaco where beautiful mirrors and furniture are the norm.
July 6, 2011
I was approached by a very nice client from Pennsylvania, USA to design him some artwork for his 1890's Carriage House.
This artwork was first thumbnail drawn and then rendered using illustrator and Photoshop.
June 5, 2011
I made this piece of glass art for my friends daughter who is crazy mad on anything to do with Michael Jackson .
There are three pieces of glass 4ml thick and in between each layer are frits of crushed coloured glass ,each layer has a different colour frit sprinkled onto the face of the glass, when fused (melted) in the kiln together it becomes one piece of glass. The coloured frits that are applied to the separate pieces of glass come out of the kiln as a different colour pallet. An endless creative art form, so much is possible from this kind of art.
May 30, 2011
Kiln Formed Glass and gilded with 24crt Gold Leaf using traditional water gilded gelatine size. Made for a vintage vehicles front headlights.
May 26, 2011
This is an Original turn of the century glass advertising sign that was restored back to it's former glory.
I took a trace of the back side of the glass and then reproduced it using the tools in Gerber's Omega software. The original glass panels were all hand screen printed so I decided to make this restoration as close to the original sharpness for the text as possible.
The plotter came in very handy. Hope you like it.
May 26, 2011
Hand made reverse glass advertising sign using over 100 year old techniques. This Glass sign was first hand drawn and designed onto paper. I then took the design and built it on computer refining shapes back and fourth.
From sketching to scanning and vectoring the shapes with the mouse and keyboard. The final artwork was photographed and applied to screen and then the
glass was printed with black firing glass enamel which I had highly pigmented for density. The print came out crisp and sharp with excellent detail all over,this was then fired into the glass at high temperatures. I now let the glass cool to room temperature and applied a resist for the lettering to be acid embossed, I also brilliant cut puntie circles and edge cuts into areas of the design around the illustration of the girl, these were finished crystal clear from polishing with felt wheels. Once all the embossing techniques were finished I curved the glass round a stainless steel mould and then finally water gilded in various shades of gold leaf with some ver eglomise in areas to give depth and detail to the end artwork. Made in 2010 .
December 28, 2010
This glass was a private commission for a restaurant in Bath UK. Three of these panels were made, they are silvered and glue chipped. Size 3ftx2ft made in 1999.
October 14, 2010
This panel was designed for the 1997 front cover of Letterhead's magazine, USA It is an acid-etched glass piece, 3ft x 30"s which employs acid etching, glazes of transparent paint and gilding, finger blending was also used, the rose is watergilded over an acid stipple and then cross hatched and finally painted behind with black japan..
Please note: This piece was designed with the express internet of showing multiple glass decoration techniques in one design. Looking back, the word "Summer" has become unclear by the application of excessive decoration and connecting outlines. It is so easy to get carried away with these decorative designs… sometimes less is more…
We all learn by our mistakes!
October 14, 2010
The glass signs in this section were projects for Letterhead gatherings that I have attended here in the UK. In 1995 I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Letterheads 20 Big Ones meet in Denver, Colorado USA, hosted by Mark and Rose Oatis. This gave me the chance to meet Noel Weber, a top glass artist and signmaker from Boise, Idaho.
Noel and his family became good friends of mine and along with many talented signwriters in the states, he really helped me see what was possible in this art form and so at the meet in Denver, I enrolled in Noel's glass workshop for 4 days of gilding and painting.
Please read this short story about how the Letterhead movement started.
The Letterheads History...and some more good information!
Roughly 25 years ago, a magical moment in sign history, a group of extremely talented Denver craftsmen found each other and began having loosely structured meetings-get togethers more like it. They may have gathered just to have a good time and swap stories but eventually began intensive information and technique swapping. The old sign painting books such as Strong's Book of Designs became a cornerstone of their learning. As their talents and craftsmanship sharpened, they began entering the Signs of the Times annual design competition and generally swept every category. At the bottom of every entry, they wrote "member Letterheads". After the Letterheads were featured in a later Signs of the Times magazine, the rest of the sign industry learned of the Letterheads, with much envy.
In 1982, Noel Weber hosted the "Boise Bar-B-Q" in which he invited additional craftspeople from around the country. In October of the same year, Mike Jackson hosted the "Oklahoma Bash" in Moore, Oklahoma and roughly 135 sign makers showed up for an intensive weekend. Both Signs of the Times and SignCraft magazines sent their editors. As the next issues hit the streets, their articles and photos enlightened the entire industry. The movement was in full force with large meetings in Kansas City in 1983 and Memphis the following year. The rest of the growth is history. Literally hundreds of meetings have just "happened". The Denver group hosted the 10Th and most recently 20th anniversary meetings. While there is usually one National meeting a year, there are often four or five regional or area meetings a month scattered all over the country.
Amazingly, the Letterheads thrive, grow, and evolve without a true governing body. That's right-no president, treasurer, or even board of directors. The basic rule of thumb has been "if you want or have a Letterheads meeting-have one". That person or group decides the format, location, fees charged if any and all other variables.
At the center of the all the hoopla is the willingness to learn, share, and explore. Prior to the Letterheads, many craftsmen closely guarded their hard earned knowledge. Once, caught up in the movement, it becomes difficult not to want to share your knowledge, especially when even more experienced people are sharing theirs. While the earliest meetings in Denver emphasized the noble craft of sign painting, gilding, and designing, later meetings have acknowledged and accepted the introduction of the computer age. Even today, the blending of the old craft and state of the art technologies collect a crowd. Often, meetings have a theme, and attendees are encouraged to make a project showing off some of the person's talents or techniques.
If you ever attend a meeting, be prepared. Sleep a lot before you go because you won't want to when you get there. Some meetings have had all night episodes. Take your camera and plenty of film, flash, polarizing filter, and maybe some more film. Bring a portfolio and a notebook. Walking in the door, be prepared to feel intimidated-but that will soon pass as you get caught in the excitement. Ask the host if you can help out and they will certainly let you! Your first Letterheads meeting will probably change your life.
Mike Jackson, Jackson Hole, WY
October 7, 2010