Georgian Table Glass

Antique Georgian table glass of the 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 the Hanoverian kings had ascended to the throne 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 Georgian period 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 a statement 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 – glass table salts and glass cruets, sweetmeat glasses, sucriers, creamers, punch bowl sets and some very fine glass candlesticks.

Georgian banqueting tables were also furnished with their own distinct range of newly-essential “essentials”. With the cost of wine glasses being comparatively extremely high and with there being a fashion for nunerous courses each to be consumed with a selected wine then wine rinsers were brought to the table such that a glass may be rinsed after each course. Glass bottles were also customised with a glass disc much like a wax seal, you will find many variations of seals and family crests applied to antique bottles. Sealed bottles are widely collected in their own right.

Glass punch bowls and serving rummers were produced to facilitate serving large numbers of guests at social gatherings. Toddy lifters are early 19th century oddities, used to” lift” a measure of punch from a punch bowl into a Georgian drinking glass

Although some sealed wine bottles will invariably have reached the dining table glass carafes were also developed. Georgian glass decanters proliferated and a multitude of shapes and syles evolved that are still reproduced by modern cut glass decanters.

Glass tazzas were brought to the dining room to give a final flourish to the dining experience. These were used to present jelly glasses and custard cups to the assembled diners. Tazzas were stacked to present a pyramid of savoury of sweet confections and smaller stemmed sweetmeat glasses completed the display, all hand blown glass that was made to compliment the flame mahogany dining table and cellarette.