A Boot Shaped Coaching Glass c1800

Heading : Georgian coaching glass
Date : c1800
Period : George III
Origin : English
Colour : Clear
Bowl : Drawn round funnel with applied hollow handle "toe". Rigaree seam at the back of the boot
Pontil : Snapped ( on the sole of the heel)
Glass Type : Lead
Size : 10.7 cms tall
Condition : Excellent
Restoration : None
Weight : 136 Grams

References : Coloured Glass By Derek C. Davis & Keith Middlemas – Page 79.

Old Glass By O. N. Wilkinson – Plate 102.

 A fabulous piece of antique novelty glassware. The standard texts all claim that these were first made to ridicule John Stuart 3rd Earl of Bute but this fails the common sense test. His relationship with Frederick Price of Wales and as tutor for his son who was to become George 111 was widely ridiculed at the time.  Bute was seen as moving in elevated circles and to have been promoted above his station. He was the first Scot to act as Prime Minister following the act of  Union. He is also alleged to have had an affair with the Dowager Princess of Wales, the widow of prince Frederick. Enough reasons to be satirised for decades. If only our dalliance with Scottish PMs had ended with Ramsay MacDonald. Bute was PM for just one year 1762-63 and died in 1792. The ridicule would have ended with his fall from grace and not half a century later.

The truth is that boot shaped trick glasses are known from the 16th century and were made in Venice and the Netherlands. They were still being made in England in the middle of the 19th century, not as trick glasses nor items with a satirical purpose. It is rather more mundane.

Coaching glasses were first produced in the latter decades of the eighteenth century. As the name suggests, they were used at coaching houses, or staging inns if you prefer that were situated at regular intervals along major routes. By the late 18th century, stagecoaches and mail coaches in particular, ran with significantly increased average speed, reliability and efficiency. The changing of horses had been refined to an exact science and was typically accomplished within three to five minutes of arrival. 

With such short stopping times it became increasingly difficult for the passengers to take advantage of refreshments and vittles on offer. Thus Innkeepers, not wishing to loose this valuable passing trade would send beverages out to the coach.

Coaching glasses taken out to the passengers on a large tray, brim down. The glasses were handed around to the passengers wishing to partake in refreshments, at a cost. The passengers held the glass whilst it was filled by an attendant. The beverage was consumed and the glass returned to the tray. Coaching glasses could not be set down inside a carriage as they were highly unstable thus increasing the likelihood that they would be returned after its contents were consumed.

This "Boot" was intended for the well "heeled “to use on their travels and with such a pedigree this glass really does have a "sole".

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  • Product Code: 20100128
  • Availability: 1
  • £55.00

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