18TH CENTURY ENGLISH GLASSES

Antique Wine Glasses

A great interest of ours is 18th century English glass.  From the outside, the study of glass is an exclusive one as very few pieces are marked it relies on the knowledge of the viewer to be able to ascertain the date of the item.

So, in this blog I will try and outline the development of English drinking glasses through the 18th century, summarising the styles that in turn will allow you to be able to date most glasses.  There are many things that cannot be put in a 500-word blog, so I reiterate this is an overview of trends, not rules, and as such there are many exceptions.

History

We owe the variety of styles and forms of drinking glasses to the development of lead glass in 1676 by George Ravenscroft (1632-1683).  Following his discovery glasshouses began to spring up all over the county and soon after the first popular style of drinking glass was developed: the baluster stem or heavy baluster.

Antique Wine Glasses

A great interest of mine is 18th century English glass.  From the outside, the study of glass is an exclusive one as very few pieces are marked it relies on the knowledge of the viewer to be able to ascertain the date of the item.

So, in this blog I will try and outline the development of English drinking glasses through the 18th century, summarising the styles that in turn will allow you to be able to date most glasses.  There are many things that cannot be put in a 500-word blog, so I reiterate this is an overview of trends, not rules, and as such there are many exceptions.

History

We owe the variety of styles and forms of drinking glasses to the development of lead glass in 1676 by George Ravenscroft (1632-1683).  Following his discovery glasshouses began to spring up all over the county and soon after the first popular style of drinking glass was developed: the baluster stem or heavy baluster.

The Heavy Baluster (1690 – 1725)

This term refers to the large knop that occupies most of the stem in these glasses.  The inverted knop, drop knop and acorn knop are amongst the earliest styles (see illustration).  In almost all of these glasses you will find that the foot is folded and domed in shape (this is to add strength to the rim of the glass).

antique wine glasses
antique wine glasses

The Light Baluster (1720 – 1735)

Whereas the knop of the heavy baluster occupied most of the stem, the light baluster glass often has multiple smaller knops spaced throughout the stem (three are common, more are rare).

The Balustroid(1730 – 1750)

This is distinguishable from the light baluster as they often have an almost hollow stem as they have tear of air within them.  This inclusion of air was to lead to the next development…

antique wine glasses
antique wine glasses

Air Twist Stem Glasses (1740 – 1780)

These were produced by trapping a bubble of air within the stem and drawing it out.  This practice includes many different types of ‘twist’ and can also incorporate any number of knops.  The development of the air twist glass was in part due to the fashion of Rococo and the Chinoiserie styles which demanded a lighter, more elegant style than the balusters.

Opaque Twist Glasses

These differ in that the decoration in the stem is made by placing enamel rods into moulds and then drawing the rod out to create the pattern.  Although this style runs almost parallel with air twist glasses (1750 – 1780), the technique was not new (it was used in Venetian glass in the 16th century).

antique wine glasses
Facet Cut Stem Wine Glasses

The Facet Stem (1770 – 1810)

This was the first time applied decoration was used to decorate the stem and also saw the end of the knop.  Unlike the previous glasses, facet stems were cut with a wheel to form a pattern on the stem (more often than not diamonds or hexagons).

 

The Heavy Baluster (1690 – 1725)

This term refers to the large knop that occupies most of the stem in these glasses.  The inverted knop, drop knop and acorn knop are amongst the earliest styles (see illustration).  In almost all of these glasses you will find that the foot is folded and domed in shape (this is to add strength to the rim of the glass).

antique wine glasses
antique wine glasses

The Light Baluster (1720 – 1735)

Whereas the knop of the heavy baluster occupied most of the stem, the light baluster glass often has multiple smaller knops spaced throughout the stem (three are common, more are rare).

The Balustroid(1730 – 1750)

This is distinguishable from the light baluster as they often have an almost hollow stem as they have tear of air within them.  This inclusion of air was to lead to the next development…

antique wine glasses
antique wine glasses

Air Twist Stem Glasses (1740 – 1780)

These were produced by trapping a bubble of air within the stem and drawing it out.  This practice includes many different types of ‘twist’ and can also incorporate any number of knops.  The development of the air twist glass was in part due to the fashion of Rococo and the Chinoiserie styles which demanded a lighter, more elegant style than the balusters.

Opaque Twist Glasses

These differ in that the decoration in the stem is made by placing enamel rods into moulds and then drawing the rod out to create the pattern.  Although this style runs almost parallel with air twist glasses (1750 – 1780), the technique was not new (it was used in Venetian glass in the 16th century).

antique wine glasses
Facet Cut Stem Wine Glasses

The Facet Stem (1770 – 1810)

This was the first time applied decoration was used to decorate the stem and also saw the end of the knop.  Unlike the previous glasses, facet stems were cut with a wheel to form a pattern on the stem (more often than not diamonds or hexagons).

 

18th CENTURY GLASS VALUATIONS

Valuations

Are you looking for a valuation of your 18th-century glass?  If so then we can help. 

Email details about your item to mark@marklittler.com or call us on 01270 440357

You can also send us images via WhatsApp or SMS to 07415 145228

Alternatively, use the form to send us information about your item and we will reply with a valuation.

Selling Your 18th Century Glass

We can help you sell your 18th-century glass and get the best possible price for it.  We sell both through auction and private sales, using the route which will earn you the most money.

For more information please look at our Services page.

Why use Mark Littler

  • Access to every auction house in the UK.
  • By selecting the auction house that is best suited to your items we significantly increase the final sale price.
  • Our private sales earn you on average 35% more than by selling at auction.
  • We handle everything on your behalf from valuation to sale.
  • We’re independent, so offer unbiased and impartial advice.

Online Valuation Form

Are you looking for a valuation of your glass? If so then we can help.

Email details about your item to mark@marklittler.com or call us on 01270 440357

You can also click to send us a text

Alternatively, use the form to send us information about your item and we will reply with a valuation.

Online Valuation Form