Sweetmeats and Jellies
Georgian glass sweetmeats, custard and jelly glasses, as befits the formalised nature of the Georgian dinner, glassware intended to service dessert courses was produced in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to cater for specific requirements.
Sweetmeats is a rather broad title for both a range of glassware and the comestibles it delivered to the table, generally - but not exclusively - being long-stemmed, bowl-shaped pieces which presented finger food for the delectation all one's dinner guests communally rather than on an individual basis. The foodstuff they contained was for the most part sweet in nature - candied and glacé fruits, marzipan, sugared nuts, crystalised ginger, comfits and Turkish delight - somewhat exotic fare that demanded serving pieces of a similar nature.
The glass sweetmeats were therefore often suitably ornate with spiralling twists to the stem, moulded fruit impressions to their lipped bowls, engravings and a variety of other fine finishes. They would also sometimes be augmented with lids or covers, although complete pieces are now as uncommon as you might imagine them to be. Only rarely were they made from coloured glass, with their content being sufficiently eye catching in its own right as to be displayed to its best advantage in clear glass vessels.
Similarly of clear glass for the most part - and for the same reason - we find jelly glasses and custard or syllabub cups. The former - mostly conical or bell shaped funnels with short stems and high, domed feet - tend to be relatively plain with large rib-moulded or panel-cut facets, although much finer examples with engraving and scalloped or hand-cut rims do come to light on occasion. Less tall, with bucket or cup-shaped bowls, we find custard cups, many of which have handles, though this distinction would appear to be no more than a modern convention rather than being based on any original precedent for usage or naming, and it should be noted that instances of what are clearly jelly glasses may be found, complete with handles. Custards also tend to be of more recent vintage than jelly glasses, dating from the early part of the 19th century onwards, although earlier examples dating back to around 1760 have been catalogued.