Haworth Art Gallery is best known for its collection of Tiffany art glass. Unusually, the collection of American glass was gifted by Accrington born Joseph Briggs, who after training as an engraver, immigrated to New York. He started work as an errand boy but ended up as Managing Director of the world famous glass company.
Fortunately for Accrington Joseph never forgot his home town and between 1932 and 1933 he sent over three crates of Tiffany Studios glassware and decorative objects. Briggs selected pieces of Tiffany glass after the company was pronounced bankrupted in 1932.
The original Tiffany glass collection is made up of 69 glass vases, seven mosaics samplers, seven watercolour designs on paper, 50 glass tiles, glass tiles, glass products and five ceramic vases.
During World War II 42 Tiffany glass vases were transferred to Haworth Art Gallery for safekeeping. In 1951 Oakhill Museum in Accrington closed and the vases transferred to Haworth Art Gallery’s collection. At the same time a collection of social history items were transferred from Oakhill Museum to Haworth Art Gallery.
During the early 1970s two crates of Tiffany glass were discovered in Accrington Town Hall’s basement which contained vases, pressed tiles and jewel and mosaics and related objects. They were then transferred up to Haworth Art Gallery and the original collection became whole once more.
The collection has been added to since the 1970s and acquisitions include a library lamp, three flower form vases, a salt cellar, two ink well inserts, a bronze bust of Joseph Briggs stamped Tiffany Studios and an oil painting of Joseph Briggs by O’ Segall.