Victorian Drinking Glasses

Antique Victorian wine glasses, Victorian rummers, Victorian champagne, Victorian firing glasses, Victorian gin glasses, and assorted antique 19th century drinking glasses- Victorian glass a potted history- but a very long title!

The Victorian era marked a rejection of everything that had gone before in drinking glass design; it was a period of unparalleled self-confidence, particularly in Britain when the empire flourished and industrialisation swept all before it. Antique 18th century glassware – at the higher end of production – was all about hand-crafted excellence and limited numbers of painstakingly produced pieces with their hand-made opaque twists and manually applied engraving or enamelling that existed almost in spite of the conditions in which they were created. This was set to change.

The Victorians replicated then antique glass shapes which were cut, ground and sliced by machine-powered cutting wheels, pressed by the dozen in moulds, tinted by increasingly proficient chemical processes. Manufactured to match templates from mass-produced pattern books from which customers could choose their preferred designs. Creativivity and craftmanship was still available for those willing to pay the price.

The value of the glasses as a means to promote sales also came to the fore with lenticular petal moulded ale glasses intended to make the contents look more appealing making an appearance alongside branded glassware – particularly antique champagne glasses and coupes, absinthe glasses and glass rummers engraved to denote respectively the name of a vintner, distiller or a public house or drinking society. With the advent of weights and measures acts dram glasses and tumblers, flip glasses, began to be marked with a legal measure. Beer glasses were marked in imperial pints.

Glassmaking became more of an industry, less of a craft, but with cut glass and other production techniques being constantly honed and refined, there was still the scope for some stunning antique wine glasses to have been produced and – of course – items intended to make an impression had to be more finely executed than ever before in order to do so; 19th century glassmaking excellence is therefore evidenced in abundance, no less remarkable than earlier examples, but exhibiting different skill-sets in order to appeal to a more discerning, perhaps more sophisticated clientele

We discuss Victorian art glass, beautifully decorated glass vases and decorative objects within the Victorian Table Glass section.