Eighteenth Century Table Glass
Before George Ravenscroft's invention of lead glass in London in about 1677, most quality drinking glasses used in Britain were fragile luxuries imported from Venice, or made in England in the Venetian style in glasshouses often run by glassmakers from the continent. Ravenscroft's formula using lead oxide instead of soda produced a new type of glass which was brilliantly clear and strong, and much more like rock crystal than 'cristallo', the Venetian soda glass.
The physical attributes of lead glass together with changes in fashion meant that glassmakers began to produce a more simple style of drinking glass, with straight-sided funnel shaped bowls, robust stems with plain baluster shapes, and large feet for stability. By the end of the seventeenth century the English baluster glass had replaced the delicate Venetian type of drinking glass. Glasshouses in Britain made drinking glasses and dessert glasses in an enormous variety of bowl and stem types in keeping with stylistic changes, and many survive as evidence of the quality of the glassmakers' craftsmanship throughout the eighteenth century. The English glass industry continued to dominate the field until the early 19th century.
The Museum of London's collection of eighteenth century table glass consists mostly of the glasses collected by Sir Richard Garton, which were given to the Museum of London by his heirs in 1943. The Garton collection was put together by the glass expert Cecil Davis between 1927 and 1934, the year Garton died. It comprises over 400 individual items dating from c.1650 to the 1830s, most of which are wine glasses, and also includes jelly glasses, sweetmeat glasses, tapersticks, candlesticks, and a few larger individual pieces. The drinking glasses in the Garton Collection are complemented by glasses excavated from archaeological digs and now at the Museum of London.
|Drinking Glasses (1700 - 1800)|
|Dessert glasses (1700 - 1800)|
|Lighting (1700 - 1800)|