PYRAMID Gallery is hooking up again with its first glass artist for a summer show that celebrates a partnership stretching to 25 years.

After buying the business in 1994, owner Terry Brett realised that glass would play a big part in his life when he sold a beautiful vase on his first day at the gallery in Stonegate, York.

The vase was made by Peter Layton, of London Glassblowing, one of Britain's foremost contemporary glass studios. "I took over Pyramid Gallery 25 years ago on May 31 1994," recalls Terry. "I can remember clearly the first item I sold on that day: a German collector bought a beautiful white flask by Peter Layton. It was about 40cm tall and quite pricey.

"My passion for this art form was born on that day. Since then, Peter Layton has shown his glass continuously at Pyramid and been part of many exhibitions.

"At 82, Peter is now regarded as the doyen of studio glass blowing in the UK, having celebrated 40 years running London Glassblowing and helped some 40 or so glass makers establish themselves as artists in their own right."

London Glassblowing refers to its favoured gallery outlets as "partner galleries", Pyramid Gallery being one of them. "To me this has always felt a privileged position, far more important and satisfying than any usual business relationship," says Terry. "So it seemed very appropriate that for our celebration of 25 years as a partner, Peter and his team of ten glass makers should co-operate in an exhibition to be known as Partners to honour a remarkable relationship."

Layton is exhibiting 30 pieces of glass alongside "some very special pieces" by his resident team of Jochen Ott, Cathryn Shilling, Laura McKinley, Layne Rowe, Louis Thompson, Bruce Marks, Elliott Walker, Tim Rawlinson, Hanne Enemark and Anthony Scala.

Born in Prague and brought up in England, Layton studied ceramics at the Central School of Art and Design in London before chancing on glassblowing while teaching ceramics at the University of Iowa. Since returning to Britain, he has been at the forefront in promoting this versatile medium.

In 1969 Sam Herman conceived and set up the Glasshouse in Covent Garden, where Layton helped to build the first furnace. Subsequently, Layton established his own small glass studio at his pottery at Morar in the Highlands of Scotland; a glass department at Hornsey College of Art (Middlesex University) and, in 1976, the London Glassblowing Workshop in an old towage works on the Thames at Rotherhithe.

Layton produces decorative glass in sculptural and functional forms. The work is free blown, permitting a greater degree of involvement and attention to detail than is possible on standardised production and ensuring the individuality of each piece.

In 2016, London Glassblowing marked 40 years in business and Layton celebrated his 80th birthday, visiting York to open a show at Pyramid Gallery and give a talk to the York Artworkers Association.

His new show will run until July 21 and is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and midday to 4.30pm on Sundays. The exhibition also may be viewed online at

Meanwhile, Terry Brett, now 63, is to renew his lease on the shop premises for a further 15 years. "I couldn’t retire," he says. "I would feel bereft without the gallery. The stock rooms are full of magnificent art that I love to handle and bring out on display.

"Everyday is a joy because the customers tell us such wonderful tales. Some have been buying presents for each other for over 30 years.

"Maybe I will retire eventually, but I will make sure that the business can continue without me. My staff, Fiona, Sarah, Ruth and Sammy, are quite capable of running the business. I hope they will want to carry it on in 15 years' time, so that I can pop in for a chat and look at wonderfully inspiring art every day."

Charles Hutchinson