The dolphin bowl first appeared in Sowerby’s Pattern Book IX, produced in 1882, pattern number 1544.1 Initially it was not a registered design but, after several modifications, it was finally registered as design number 7870482 on 9th October 1933.3
The bowl was often manipulated, whilst the hot glass was still malleable, into different shapes. The late 19th century bowls came, not only as shown above, but square4, tricorn5,11, ruffled6 and flanged7. In addition to the common colours produced at the time, the bowls also came in black, canary yellow, olive-green, rubine,4 aesthetic green11, flint, opal, malachite, turquoise, patent queen’s ware and blanc de lait1.
In the 1920’s Sowerby’s introduced new colours; rainbow lustre, ruby and sunglow, which were used in the production of the dolphin bowls.8 Although the original 1880’s moulds were used, the plunger had been reworked to impress a circular design into the interior of the bowl.9 This was most commonly used on the new carnival glass colours, rainbow and sunglow. The original smooth plunger had the Sowerby peacock incorporated into the centre, so that when the bowl was formed the trademark was impressed into the centre of the interior of the bowl.
The 1927 pattern book shows the dolphin fruit bowl was available in three shapes; flanged, crimped and cupped, with an illustration showing the crimped edge.8 However carnival glass variants have been found in square and hexagonal.10
During the 1930’s the dolphin bowl evolved again. The 1933 pattern book shows a flanged bowl which was available in green, powder blue, rosalin or amber.8 A frosted, matt finish, achieved by using acid, was utilised on the raised floral pattern and the dolphin feet.2 It was at this time the design was officially registered.
The further available pattern books and lists do not show the dolphin bowl in any format.8 It is unclear when the production of this bowl stopped.
- Sowerby Gateshead Glass by Simon Cottle; ISBN 0 905974 27 1
Page 111 – Sowerby Pattern Book IX, Page 10 showing design #1544
- The Glass Museum : English Pressed Glass by Sowerby: part two
- Great Glass : Registered Design numbers 750,000 to 799,999
- The Peacock and the Lions by Sheilagh Murray; ISBN 0 85362 197 7
Plate 31 – Rubine dolphin bowl, c.1882
Plate 32 – Sunglow (carnival) dolphin bowl with embossed interior, c.1930’s
- English Pressed Glass by Raymond Slack; ISBN 0 7126 1871 6
Page 38 – Tricorn Queen’s Ivory Ware dolphin bowl, c.1880
- English 19th-Century Press-Moulded Glass by Colin R. Lattimore; ISBN 0 214 20598 3
Page 56 – Translucent pale green dolphin bowl with ruffled top, c.1885
- The Identification of English Pressed Glass by Jenny Thompson; ISBN 0 9515491 0 3
Page 81 – Amber flanged top dolphin bowl
- 20th Century Glass : Glass Manufacturer Product Catalogues
- British Glass Between The Wars, edited by Roger Dodsworth; ISBN 0 900911 22 0
- Carnival Glass Worldwide : Sowerby’s Diving Dolphins
- British Glass 1800-1914 by Charles R. Hajdamach; ISBN 1 85149 141 4
Page 352 – Tricorn Aesthetic green dolphin bowl, c.1880