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© Ester Segarra
© All rights reserved
© All rights reserved
© All rights reserved

Katharine Coleman

  • Glass engraver
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Master Artisan
Katharine Coleman Glass engraver
English, French, German, Spanish
By appointment only
+44 7976812660
© All rights reserved

A visual puzzle

  • • Katharine’s first career was in historical geography
  • • She was trained in glass engraving by Peter Dreiser
  • • She received an MBE for glass engraving in 2009

Katharine was taking her small children to the Museum of Mankind, when she passed a gallery in Cork Street, where she saw contemporary engraving by Peter Dreiser and Alison Kinnaird. Immediately, she was captivated by the way light played in the glass so that one couldn’t tell where the engraving lay - an optical illusion. Shortly thereafter, Katharine quit her first career as a historical geographer at the University of London and studied glass engraving at Morley College. More than 30 years later, she’s now internationally recognised and has won several prizes, including an Honorable Mention Prize at Coburger Glaspreis in 2006 and the People’s Prize at the British Biennale 2015. She’s described by the V&A as perhaps the leading contemporary glass engraver working in Britain today.

Read the full interview


  • © Katharine Coleman
  • © Katharine Coleman
  • © William van Esland
  • © Ester Segarra
  • © Adrian Sassoon
Photo: © Katharine Coleman

Katharine engraved this bowl for her 2015 solo show All the Year Round at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. Mistletoe is traditionally hung from the ceiling at Christmas in the United Kingdom and anyone passing beneath has to kiss. It is thought to originate from Roman culture which played an important part in Scotland's ancient history. It was her Christmas tribute to Emile Gallé, one of her glass heroes.

Height 22 cm
Diameter 19 cm

Photo: © Katharine Coleman

One warm July day, on her regular midday stroll along Leather Lane, round the corner from her studio in Cockpit Yard, a fruit stall caught Katharine's eye with its cascade of ripe red cherries. Hurrying back to sketch an idea for a little ruby overlaid bowl, it was soon clear she needed to have some to study, so out again, half a kilo in a leaky paper bag later, the race was on to draw the beauties before temptation took its toll.

Height 6.5 cm
Diameter 12 cm

Photo: © William van Esland
Hong Kong Dreaming

On the road to Beijing to give a lecture in 2010, Katharine stopped off in Hong Kong, which in her eyes seemed to belong both to the East and yet still to the West. The great dragon of China has lost the pearl from her mouth and now breathes fire over the roofs of the modern apartment blocks of Hong Kong, roaring in wild abandon and maddened rage at their impudence. This piece is an attempt to imitate the imagery of ceramics from a bygone age with a contemporary theme.

Height 21 cm
Diameter 19 cm

Photo: © Ester Segarra
City of London

The City of London forms a square mile of the oldest streets at the heart of London. It has its own police force, mayor and 8th century electoral system. Banks and financial institutions crowd its barely visible narrow streets. Even Her Majesty the Queen has to ask the permission of the Lord Mayor to enter this City on state occasions, a time honoured tradition, a city within a city. This bowl was selected for the final of the Coburger Glaspreis 2014.

Height 17.8 cm
Diameter 16 cm

Photo: © Adrian Sassoon
Papyrus Bowl

A visit to Kew Gardens in spring inspired Katharine to engrave this bowl, decorated with young papyrus leaf forms, as they start to sprout from the water, just before they fully open out. Following the award of a Crafts Council research visit to Japan in 2004, Japanese art and design have been at the heart of her inspiration and she has never since ceased to appreciate the sensitivity to every aspect of natural life and materials prevalent in Japanese culture.

Height 18 cm
Diameter 15.5 cm

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