Four Prince of Wales Facet Cut Wine Glass c1762
Heading : An Engraved 'Ich Dien' Facet Cut Wine Glass
Period : George III
Origin : England
Colour : Clear
Bowl : Round funnel, engraved with ICH DIEN, the feathers of the Prince of Wales and their accompanying coronet; petal cuts around the lower part of the bowl. Good pucella marks
Stem : Thick tapered stem with diamond scalloped facet cuts.
Foot : Conical
Pontil : Snapped
Glass Type : Lead
Size : 12.7 cm height, 5.9 cm diameter bowl, 6.6 cm diameter foot , some minor variations
Condition : Two foot rims have been polished
Restoration : None
Weight: 533 grams
Notes : The use of the Ich Dien device - motto, feathers and coronet in isolation - incontrovertibly identifies this glass as being designed to honour the incumbent Prince of Wales - the heir apparent to the throne of England, or - more recently - of Great Britain; the title has been used in this manner since the fourteenth century. The sources for two of the emblem's constituent parts - the feathers and motto - are ill-defined and - at best - an amalgam of several hypothetical derivations; take your pick from Edward I, Edward II, The Black Prince, King John of Bohemia, the Battle of Crecy, Philippa of Hainault or sundry other figures/events from medieval history. The coronet is less contentious - it's a crown, pure and simple, one to be worn by a nobleman rather than a monarch - a prince prior to his coronation.
Where fact and fiction become somewhat easier to disentangle is the attribution of the device - in the context of Georgian drinking glasses - to the Jacobite cause; this is a link which is somewhere between extremely tenuous and laughable when used alone and not in conjunction with established Jacobite motifs. By the time that facet-cut stems began to account for anything other than a minuscule proportion of glasses in circulation - the 1760's - the last, legitimate Jacobite Prince of Wales of any consequence had been divested of his title for over 100 years (Charles Stuart, later King Charles II). Four decades later, James Francis Edward Stuart (The Old Pretender, as framed by adherents to The Cause) was a fully accredited Prince of Wales for just over five months, from his investiture up to the point that his father (King James II) was removed from the throne. There were three further legitimate Princes of Wales between the usurpation and the one this glass represented.
It may well have been a fanciful notion amongst the dissenters, who railed against the Hanoverian tenure of the throne, that Bonnie Prince Charlie should be referred to as Prince of Wales whilst his father was rightful king (in their eyes at least), and one can only imagine that this is where suggestions of some degree of Jacobite currency for the use of an Ich Dien motif in the 1760's may come from. We do also wonder about the use - in an implicit message of support for one regime - of a phrase couched in the common cant of the 'opposition'; Ich Dien is German - the first language of the Hanoverians - whereas The Stuarts and their champions were unequivocally French in their predilections.
In our opinion, these glasses are no more than early 'royal souvenirs', made and decorated to commemorate the birth and investiture of George Augustus Frederick - later King George IV - in the August of 1762, born to the reigning royal family and a legitimate Prince of Wales in the eyes of the vast majority of the population. There are numerous museum-curated examples of similar pieces, including those enamelled by the incomparable Beilbys of Newcastle, none of which are sullied by any hint of seditious double-entendre or scurrilous apostasy. There is never any suggestion that glasses engraved for the service manufactured by Perrin Geddes and engraved with the same emblem have any Jacobite inference at all.
It may be attractive to invent such spurious claims to those who seek to benefit by perpetuating them - inflating the price of items labelled with such a fictitious attribution, for instance - but the Jacobite cause itself was little more than romanticised delusion, so there is at least a degree of historic resonance to be discerned there, even in the absence of anything of credible or non-risible use...
When it comes to any well-intended analysis of Jacobite glassware, one must always defer to Seddon's magnum opus, Jacobites and Their Drinking Glasses, and it is interesting to note that he stops some way short of attributing any use of the Prince of Wales' device as unambiguously pro-Jacobite without reservation. He notes that examples which he is prepared to catalogue use only incomplete versions of the motif which tend to be placed on the foot of glasses, rather than being fully emblazoned on the bowl. One example has only engraved feathers, another the coronet and feathers without he motto. He shows just one complete example with the caveat " rarely the complete badge of the heir apparent is displayed"
It would be a brave man - or a fool - who chose to ignore the observations of this most complete and respected of sources.
- Product Code: 22051104
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