One final task to undertake before we can properly consign the festive season to memory for another year,

but one which is far more edifying that teasing yet another pine needle out of the cat’s paws or unwrapping six feet of tinsel from the revolving brush thing on the vacuum cleaner – this one is a genuine pleasure.

We need to announce the winner of our Festive Prize Competition, for which we invited folk to submit pictures and information about their favourite pieces of antique glassware or porcelain – things that were still in use, albeit sparingly, as an illustration of our enduring trope that antiques are best enjoyed if put to their originally intended use.

It’s taken us a little while to sift through the entries – so thank you to everyone who took the time to submit pictures, all very much appreciated – but by the time they’d all be circulated around our team there was one clear winner: step forward and take your accolades, Mr Ivars Taurins from Toronto in Canada. Here are the notes that Ivars appended to his pictures which are, of course, also reproduced for your edification and delight, and which set the standard to which others might like to aspire should we set any similar competitions in the future:

I have a modest collection of Georgian and Victorian glass, and 18th century blue and white Chinese porcelain. A good deal of the glassware was purchased from (, while other pieces were unexpected “finds”. The latter includes a 1740’s engraved gin glass that I found in a London (Ontario) antiques mall for just £2.50 ! It now has a partner glass obtained from Scottish Antiques, and I enjoy a wee dram of scotch, port, or vin santo from them.

Every special family occasion, but especially over Christmas and New Year, I set the dining table and side tables with pieces from my collection: The monteith/bonnet glasses are filled with chocolates, sugar plums, florentines, marzipan fruit, and fruit jellies, or used on the dining table as salts (together with the Edwardian sterling silver George II pattern pepper shakers). Other regency strawberry/waffle-pattern glass salts are used as tea-light candle holders.

A late 19th century tazza holds fruit, and a prized sweetmeat glass c.1745 (another find in a dusty antique store in Victoria, British Columbia) as the top-piece, holding our now traditional orange. Other Victorian sweetmeat glasses hold cranberry sauce for the meal, or other delectables on the side table.

And the Chinese porcelain “porridge” bowls and plates are brought out for fruit – apricots, figs, and clementines.

My collection of jelly glasses are enlisted for either a New Year’s Punch à la Romaine (as described here: or a Georgian syllabub, again presented on a tazza.

When the whole place is lit by candlelight, the scene is magical – a “port-key” in to another century. Using these pieces on a regular basis is a joy – their beauty and elegance of design, combined with their hidden histories, makes my heart sing!

With thanks to you, Alex, for your expertise and advice in developing my collection, and broadening my love and knowledge of Georgian glassware , I wish you and your family all the best for the New Year!

We’re sure you’ll agree that Ivars’ pieces when set out in this way really do make for a magnificent display, and think that you’d be hard-pushed to find a better example of how 18th and 19th century antiques can be used to their best effect. It’s a tremendous effort, Ivars, thank you for your kind words about us, and we hope that you find something which will further complement your collection on which can now spend your £100.00 prize !