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Balustroid Stems

Georgian balustroid wine glasses are the stylised 18th century descendants of the baluster glasses, but with more elongated and some would say elegant forms. They are lighter in weight and have a wider diversity of bowl shapes than balusters. To my eye they are amongst the most beautifully balanced glasses ever made with a simple understated elegance.

You may read elsewhere that the stimulus to develop the balustroid was the glass tax introduced in 1746 by Henry Pelham’s Whig government. This is completely unrelated to the earlier “window tax” of 1696 which purely by coincidence is the year that Sir George Barclay’s Jacobite assassination attempt was made on the life of the usurper William 111 in Kew. No Stuart King would have taxed “light” and definitely not drinking. I digress.

Following the introduction of the glass tax products were taxed according to their weight. The assertion that balustroids developed as a result is a fallacy. Some balustroid glasses pre-date the introduction of the glass tax by twenty years and possibly more. Pure hollow stem glasses, not just extended tears and the engraved “No Excise “ glasses can be attributed to the Glass tax more readily and obviously.

I also do not entirely subscribe to the view that the smaller more elongated balustroid glasses were a result of increased demand and were correspondingly speedier to produce. We have placed balustroids into the safe hands of collectors with multiple complex knops above and below a plain stem.

The knops are smaller than balusters and they did start to disappear almost altogether with the vogue for plain stems and later “twists”. But if speed of production and simplicity were the sole commercial drivers how can anyone explain the Newcastle light balusters whose production spanned the introduction of the glass tax and whose complexity in both multiple knops and engraving is unsurpassed.  

Two piece drawn trumpets on plain stems were made before and after the glass tax. Commercial considerations alone never totally overcame aesthetic ones in Georgian glass production, despite the government !

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A Georgian KIt Kat Wine Glass c1740

A Georgian KIt Kat Wine Glass c1740

A Georgian balustroid Kit Kat wine glass from c1740. Available from Scottish Antiques online store.

£375.00

Very Fine Georgian Triple Knop Balustroid Wine Glass c1745

Very Fine Georgian Triple Knop Balustroid Wine Glass c1745

The producers of the 'Outlander' T.V series commisioned reproductions of this form prior to filming the 'Wedding scene', but this is the genuine article

£475.00

A Fine 18th Century Balustroid Wine Glass c1740

A Fine 18th Century Balustroid Wine Glass c1740

The position of the knop is reminiscent of Kit Kat glasses, however, the Godfrey Kneller portraits of the members only depict glasses with drawn trumpet and conical bowls.

£360.00

Engraved Georgian Balustroid Gin Or Cordial Glass c1760

Engraved Georgian Balustroid Gin Or Cordial Glass c1760

This is such a rare and unusual form that bringing this back to good display condition with a resin fill was the best option to retain the integrity of the glass

£185.00

Pair Engraved Georgian Balustroid Gin Or Cordial Glasses c1760

Pair Engraved Georgian Balustroid Gin Or Cordial Glasses c1760

See more 18th century Georgian wine glasses, tankards , tumblers and table glass at the Scottish antique store online

£370.00

Georgian Balustroid Stem Cordial Glass c1735

Georgian Balustroid Stem Cordial Glass c1735

In the 18th century cordials were more intoxicating that the current versions of clove, anuseed and shrub

£165.00

An 18th Century Balustroid Wine Glass c1740

An 18th Century Balustroid Wine Glass c1740

Eighteenth Century English drinking glasses an Illustrated Guide. By L.M Bickerton – Page 112 Plate 238.

£225.00

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