updated February 2024

72 images

Old English Gallery

these pieces are not for sale!

Most of the paperweights that are called 'Old English' were made in Birmingham or Stourbridge, anywhere from 1850 to 1950. They were made in factories - not in small studios by one or two craftsmen. Several factories made paperweights, but not all of these have yet been identified. Nearly all designs are millefiori - the English factories did not make lampwork pieces such as fruit or flowers - and all are made of heavy lead crystal glass. They are usually large, with diameters over (sometimes well over) 3 inch / 76 mm.

The majority of Old English paperweights were made by Richardson, Walsh Walsh, and Arculus; the last two are not easy to separate from each other. Next come pieces from a couple of unknown factories, with a small number by George Bacchus & Sons, and a few from the Islington Glass Works.

There are some major misunderstandings and errors about the attribution of Old English paperweights, in part because books written before the late 1990s contain errors, and these older, outdated books are still being cited as evidence by some authors. The most common error concerns Old English paperweights with '1848' dates. These were made in the early 20th century by Arculus and later Walsh Walsh, who bought their factory in 1930. They are not Victorian pieces, and are not 'antique Whitefriars'. There is no evidence for any Whitefriars millefiori paperweights before 1938.

Attribution can be tricky, given the number of 'unknown' makers, but the following pointers may help:

  • foot rim - probably Richardson or Walsh Walsh;
  • low dome concentric - probably Arculus;
  • red / white / blue - consider Richardson first;
  • outer canes drawn down and under neatly - maybe Bacchus, but check Walsh Walsh and Richardson too;
  • '7/6' or window canes - Arculus or Walsh Walsh;
  • 'button' base - probably Arculus or Walsh Walsh;

There is a short article here about identification of Old English paperweights: Old English identification


Old English Arculus paperweight (ref. 0118)


OE Richardson paperweight (ref. 0134)

Walsh Walsh

Old English Walsh walsh paperweight (ref.0174)

Bacchus and Islington

Old English Bacchus paperweight (ref. 19263)

Other makers

Old English OE1 paperweight (ref. 0106)






I am grateful to all the collectors who have provided me with images.