A Possible Solution to The Thousand Year Old Mystery of The Portland Vase

Stephen Pollock-Hill

A possible solution to the mystery of the Portland Vase: Stephen Pollock-Hill, President of British Glass and a glass manufacturer for over forty years, will discuss his theory as to why and how it was made and who it was made for and who are the seven figures portrayed on this vase. The Portland vase is probably the most famous and priceless piece of glass in the world. It has intrigued and mystified scholars, historians and archaeologists for nearly 500 years, since its discovery in the tomb of Emperor Alexander Severus in 1582 . Famous artists like William Blake, and writers such as John Evelyn marvelled at its beauty and craftsmanship. It has been owned by a pope, a Princess and Sir William Hamilton; it inspired Josiah Wedgwood to create his jasper ware in pottery, was copied by a Stourbridge master glassmaker Philip Pargeter and John Northwood, the cameo engraver and designer, and, following ownership by the Dukes of Portland, and after being smashed into more than 200 pieces by a mad Irishman, was bought in 1945, repaired and is in the care of the British Museum. Understandably, it is one of the museum’s greatest treasures!


Stephen Pollock-Hill, Group Chairman and Managing Director of Nazeing Glass, has had a long and distinguished career in excess of 40 years in the glass industry started very early at the age of seven in the packing department of Nazeing Glass Works in the 1950's. After studying languages across Europe in France, Spain and Germany, he worked for The French Hand & Crystal Federation followed by St Louis Crystal in Paris. Quite aptly, his thesis in 1969 was on "The Future of the British Glass Industry". Working for a year in a major American Management Consultancy in 1969/1970 he was headhunted to work as European Liaison Officer in London by founder and Chairman John Carney. Stephen started the first factory shop at Nazeing Glass and moved through the ranks becoming Sales Manager, Export Director, Sales Director, Joint MD and onto his current position of Group Chairman and Managing Director. Nazeing Glass is the largest and one of only fourteen remaining such glass manufacturers to have survived the difficult trading conditions of the last thirty years. He has been the Chairman of the British Glass Educational Trust since 1999 and has held Chairmanships of several other bodies during this time. Since the beginning of this year he is President of the British Glass Manufacturers' Confederation. September 2007 saw Stephen open "The Museum of 20th Century Domestic British Glass" displaying part of his collection of 3000 British glass items, along with histories on the majority of the 90 or so British Glass companies of the twentieth century. A committed environmentalist and Vice President of CPRE-Herts he is currently developing a new formula of non
toxic crystal to replace lead crystal.