Victorian Table Glass

Victorian table glass is another wide-ranging category which takes several quite disparate categories under its umbrella. From items designed to adorn the extravagant dining tables of the period to storage vessels, perfume bottles, ornamental pieces and any number of miscellaneous items, it can provide a broad scope within which a collector may operate.

Victorian material seems for the most part to be substantially removed from the general perception of the era as being quite an austere, reserved time. There are many examples of items which can be considered quite ostentatious, with extravagant use of colour, decoration and embellished form to the fore. It seems to be a case that, with the industrial revolution offering the freedom to exploit a vast array of new production techniques, glass makers were keen to embrace whatever process might set them apart, and there was an explosion of ideas utilised to make the best use of innovative procedures and materials.

Even items which took a relatively plain form would be coloured or decorated to set them apart from more familiar incarnations; cranberry and amethyst glass was popular, as were extravagantly enamelled, gilded and flashed pieces. If things were not entirely innovative, then a traditional approach would be given a new twist to demonstrate the mastery of a new skill - Bristol blue pieces cut to clear, traditional twists incorporated in to something other than just the stems of drinking glasses and the use of multiple coloured layers on single pieces.

When the obsession with invention and novelty did wane a little, there was scope to use new processes to replicate old styles, and Victorian reproductions of earlier forms have provided yet more areas for specialisation; milk glass, somewhat rough-looking renaissance revival pieces and enamelled opaline approximations of earlier porcelain material to name but a few.

As with other categories, we have subdivided Victorian table glass in to a number of basic groups as indexed on the panel to the left of this piece. If there is another specific category in to which you think it might be a good idea for us to arrange particular pieces to aid other collectors, then please do let us know...


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