English Glass History Trail
ENGLISH GLASS HISTORY TRAIL HIGHLIGHTING GLASSES FROM THE FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM
Hugh became inspired by the generosity of four early Glass Circle members, Donald Beves (1896-1961), the Rev. Alfred Valentine Valentine-Richards (1866-1933), Ivan Napier and Mrs W.D. Dickson. Along with donations by C.B. Marlay, the Museum's Friends and others they created what is probably the finest assembly of early English glass in the country outside London.
Where possible, illustrations of their glasses illuminate our text outlining how glassmaking came to England and distinctly English glass styles developed from the Restoration in 1660 to the early 19th century.
To some extent this is a story of how the English glass tableware and lighting industries kept one step ahead of continental competition. They did so by innovations in design particularly aimed at the affluent customer rather than just the nobility. Glass export, although small compared with the woollen industry, was significant in sustaining the success of English glassmaking at a time when taxation and national income placed a heavy burden on the country.
Click on the listed "TOPIC" to go to the required section.
"Estimated Ranges of Production" are determined from estimates by several authors as summarised by D.C. Watts, Glass Circle News No.82, 2000, p. 14.
The "Mean Date of Production" approximates that commonly ascribed to glass types with no other distinguishing attributes.
|#||TOPIC||Estimated Range of Production||Mean Date of Production|
|1.||Glass Before Lead Crystal||Pre 1675||-|
|2.||Venetian Influence and the Invention of Lead Crystal||1674 - 1700||1682|
|3.||The English Baluster Stem Glasses||1695 - 1725||1704|
|4.||Plain Stem Glasses||1700 - 1775||1738|
|5.||From Balustroid to "Newcastle"||1720 - 1800||1755|
|6.||Newcastle Glasses||1728 - 1790||1757|
|7.||Pedestal (Silesian) Stems||1716 - 1765||1740|
|8.||Air Twist Stems||1730 - 1770||1738|
|9.||Opaque and Mixed Twist Stems||1745 - 1780||1766|
|10.||Facetted Stems and Cut Glass||1725 - 1825||1775|
Glassmaking is a romantic but hot, dirty and financially volatile industry. None of the English factories responsible for the wonderful heritage outlined in this trail have survived while, in Ireland, only Waterford (albeit with a century's closure from 1845) has fought off the vicissitudes of world economic problems through the merits of its cut glass and even that is currently silent.