Georgian Table Glass
Georgian table glass of 18th and early 19th centuries can be said to constitute the archetypal “great leap forward” for English glassmaking. Although the technology had existed to produce good quality lead crystal from the latter part of the 17th century, it was not until the first of Hanoverian kings had ascended to thethrone that production issues that characterised (and blighted) earlier products were successfully addressed, and that a true “English style” began to develop.
The social climate in Britain also began it’s inexorable move away from the near-feudal structure that pre-dated the industrial revolution, and the novelty of significant disposable income was to furnish the nouvelle riche who thrived in these dilatant times with the wherewithal to accumulate trappings befitting of their status. The opulent dining experience became astatement of personal wealth which few hosts could resist the opportunity to embrace, and thus the demand for fine tableware grew as swiftly as did the facility to produce goods of an appropriate quality.
During the late 17th and early 18th century Britain was a feracious and ambitious ferment of ideas and influences, eager to embrace as many new processes and influences as could be brought back to the home front by those who travelled and traded abroad. Naturally, such innovations impacted on the already-thriving glassmaking industry that was eager to push the boundaries, and thus there was a veritable explosion of creativity to satisfy the peculiar cravings of the newly enlightened and monied consumer-caste. Ranges of tableware were produced to service requirements that had simply not existed previously – salts, sweetmeats, tazzas, sucriers, creamers and the like – and thus were the Georgian banqueting tables furnished with their own distinct range of newly-essential “essentials”.