Mdina glass, as the name suggests, was produced in Mdina, Malta originally by Michael Harris who was previously a glass tutor at the Royal College of Art. He founded Mdina Glass in 1968 alongside Eric Dobson, a former colleague, where it continues to thrive. Harris actually left Malta in 1972 and set up another studio on the Isle of Wight while Dobson remained and took charge of the factory.
Within a few years Mdina glass was exporting to Italy and America and exhibiting at international trade fairs. However, much of it was produced for sale to the tourist market and this was equally as successful.
They made an array of items including vases, bowls and particularly popular, perfume bottles. They were made of heavy, thick glass and generally have a signature or sticker on the base. Mdina glass is instantly recognizable due to the limited number of colours that were used; colours synonymous with the sea and beaches. They used turquoise, tan, aqua alongside other blues and greens. Orange, pink and white colours were introduced at a later date and do not hold the appeal to collectors as the original colours.
The majority of early Mdina pieces collected today are the smaller items as these were more popular with tourists. Larger pieces are rarer and thus more expensive. Early examples from the ‘60s and ‘70s are more sought after as are designs signed by Michael Harris himself.
Joseph Said, a promising apprentice of Harris’ progressed quickly after his departure and took over as owner in 1985 when Dobson also returned to the UK. It is a true family business now as his children are also employed in differing roles within the company.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
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