India - Bob's Great Revelation
Over twenty years ago, in 1996, we (Glen & Steve Thistlewood) took a phone call from a gentleman in Boston who we hadn’t previously met.
He introduced himself as Bob Smith, and he told us that he had been reading our Carnival NetworK journal and he wanted to chat to us about India.
Bob explained that he’d just returned from a research visit to India, and he felt convinced that Carnival Glass had been produced there. Initially we were sceptical: although back in 1996 there was talk of Carnival being found in India, authors at that time had attributed it to either Australia or to Czechoslovakia!
Bob’s enthusiasm was driven by the conviction that he was right, and his passion enthused and inspired us. Together we worked with Bob to get to the truth, writing letters, sending photos and drawings, to various contacts in India that Bob had established …
Carnival Glass was indeed made in India.
The revelation took the Carnival world by storm back in 1997.
Our NetworK journal and our first book (“Carnival Glass, The Magic and The Mystery”) carried the story of Bob’s experiences in India and the first documentation of the wide range of Carnival made in India. Over the ensuing two decades, many more examples of Carnival from a number of glass makers in India have been added to the growing list.
Above, left, Ganges Garden (Paliwal), and
right, Stars Over India Variant (Paliwal or Khandelwal).
Here’s how Bob described his experience in the Chor Bazaar in Mumbai, India.
“The Chor Bazaar just has to be the ultimate shopping experience. It’s a ten square block where the streets are unpaved and filled with dogs, goats, chickens and water buffalo roaming around freely amongst the people.
The shops are nothing more than eight by fifteen foot enclosures in the houses all along the streets.
When I found a blue Carnival tumbler, I wanted to take it out into the street to look at it in the sunlight. A water buffalo had stretched out in front of the entrance and I had to step over it (very carefully) to get out and back in. Nobody made an attempt to move it.
I think I was the first westerner to go in the Bazaar in decades. I hired a special guide to accompany me and to do the bargaining for me. I just stood back while the guide haggled with the Arabs in Arabic, Hindu and English.
It was hilarious. At one point they were actually shaking each other.”
Left to right: Diamante Stars vase (aqua), Shalimar tumbler, Monsoon tumbler and Diamante Rain vase (all three in marigold). All four items are probably from the Advance Glass Works.
Visit the Classic Worldwide Tumbler Room