In 1970, Steuben Glass introduced the spectacular Great Explorers series consisting of only nine designs with each limited to an edition of 25 examples. However, only one piece was actually fully produced while the others were only issued in single digit numbers---making these extraordinary masterworks extremely rare and coveted by collectors of Steuben Glass and world history. Only four of the James Houston designed 9 3/4" long #0008 Lewis & Clark sculptures were ever made--this particular piece being #3/25. The sculptured and engraved crystal block depicts the final stage of the historic expedition, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean in 1804-1806. Paddling a dugout canoe, members of the expedition navigate the rapids of the Columbia River. Above them appears the map of their journey as drawn by Clark. Properly signed, numbered and in pristine condition with the original red leather case. A true museum quality masterwork.
Designed by the incomparable James Houston and introduced in 1969, the 12" high, 8 1/2" wide and 2 3/4" deep #0092 Rip Van Winkle was limited to an edition of only nine. This extraordinary copper wheel engraved exhibition piece is a free form crystal plaque rising to three fern fronds engraved with the sleeping figure of Rip Van Winkle from Washington Irving's legend of the Catskill Mountains. It is the early morning of Rip's awakening from his long sleep. A spider web stretches from fern to fern. Behind the web lies Rip with his now-ancient firelock, his beard grown a foot long. A bird sings on his knee--about to awaken him. Properly signed, in excellent condition and presented in the original red leather case. One of the all-time best Steuben Glass masterworks!!!
The 8 1/2" wide #0241 Raccoon is another superb James Houston design from 1978. This appealing piece is a blown crystal roundel with a wide polished rim---copper wheel engraved on the back with a Raccoon waiting alertly on a bare branch. In the background, snow is falling. The raccoon's shining eyes are cut. Its mask, tail rings and other furry markings are suggested by varying degrees of polish. The tree branch curves around both sides of the form--multiplying when seen through the rim. Properly signed and in excellent condition.
Introduced in 1979 as a companion piece to his #0241 Raccoon, the 8 1/2" wide #0262 Beaver is a James Houston limited edition of 20. This outstanding design features a crystal roundel--copper wheel engraved on the back with a beaver poised on a dam of sticks. Preparing to enlarge its construction project, the beaver gnaws on a tree branch. Its small, rounded ears are pricked, its eyes vigilant. A characteristic flat tail is partly submerged in a stream. Properly signed, in excellent condition and beautifully presented in the original red leather case.
Introduced in 1982 and designed by the legendary James Houston, the #0328 Kingfisher is a solid crystal form engraved by copper wheel on the back with the artist's interpretation of a young, female Belted Kingfisher perched on a bare branch over a stream, its eye trained on two small fish swimming below. The watchful bird is poised to make its characteristic headlong dive into the water in pursuit of a meal. With its tufted crown, sharp beak and feathered markings, this eager and persistent fisherman is portrayed to display the engraver's skill. A shallow, cut depression on the front of the crystal form provides an illusion of the surface of the stream. Three concave cuts on the underside give the appearance of stones on the streambed. Limited to an edition of 50. Properly signed and in excellent condition.
In the early 1970's, James Houston introduced the first three designs in his famous and popular Arctic Series. The 6 1/2" high #1023 Arctic Fisherman is the most recognized form in the seven piece Arctic Series and was produced until the end of the company. A sterling silver eskimo readies his spear to catch the copper wheel engraved fish on the back panel. Properly signed and in excellent condition.
In the early 1970's, James Houston designed the first three pieces for his famous Steuben Glass Arctic Series. The long discontinued #1033 Ice Hunter was one of these original items. Featuring a sterling silver Eskimo paddling a kayak through the arc of an iceberg, the Ice Hunter remains one of the most treasured Houston Major Ornamental Designs. Properly signed and in excellent condition.