Raise a toast to Georgian glass

Words by:
William Gregory MRICS Golding Young and Mawer
Featured in:
December 2012

During the eighteenth century, glass was widely used in England for domestic purposes. The development of glass from ancient and Roman times was transformed by the invention of English lead crystal in the late seventeenth century. This new method improved the decorative appearance and made handling the glass in production easier.
The range of Georgian glasses, both in size and shape, is immense, although the Georgians were not as particular as say the later Victorians as to which glass they used for which drink.

The two main categories of drinking glasses to be found from this period are wine glasses and goblets. Goblets were used mainly for ales but were of a smaller size than we are used to today, as the beer was produced stronger and served in smaller servings.

The style and decoration of Georgian glass is an important feature to collectors. Engraving and enamelling were used to add family crests, commemorate events or add decoration such as fruiting vines and ale hops. One of the most decorative parts of the glass is often the stem, which in its many forms can be enhanced with the use of air and opaque twists. These interlaced patterns add a dazzling effect, spiralling and catching light from the bowl to the foot of the glass.

Glasses of this period also vary considerably in price at auction, with condition and decoration being the most important factors.

Illustrated is one example recently sold by Golding Young and Mawer.

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