Antique Glassware Part 2

After bottles, goblets and drinking-glasses claimed attention, and a whole world of care has been given to their form and decoration. The glass found in this country, and which was in use among the colonists, came usually from England, whence most of our luxu ries were imported, and was often of the style known / as " cut glass," —that is, flint glass polished and ground till it receives a sparkle and brilliancy that render it extremely beautiful. During the eighteenth century much of this rich glass was sent to this country, and being quite strong, it has in many cases survived hard usage.

Less often we find drinking-mugs and glasses of German manufacture, which are generally classed, not always correctly, under the head of " Bohemian." It is true that the region forming the boundaries of Bohemia on the one side, and Saxony, Bavaria, and Silesia on the other, saw the rise and growth of the glass industry in Germany. The forests on the moun tain sides, and the abundant supply of clean quartz sand which is so indispensable in glass-making, were all found here, and though there is not much liter ature concerning the development of the industry, two authorities remain which do much to clear up its history.

Whether the art of painting on glass came to Ger many through Venice, which had long had intercourse with the East, or whether the painted glass windows

6 81 had inspired some clever German to try the like on drinking-vessels, will never be known. It is prob able, though, that the knowledge came from Venice. Georg Agricola, who was born at Glauchau, in March, 1490, went to Venice and studied the working of glass kilns both there and at Murano. In 1556 he published at Basle a work called " De re Metallica," which was of great benefit to the growing industry. The second authority is Johann Matthesius, aaIio published a book on glass-making in 1562, in which he mentions that the drinking of liquor from glass was not much practised beyond his Own district of Bohemia and Silesia, al though we know that glass drinking-vessels had long been imported from Venice.

Tavo specimens of the glass work of Bohemia are given in the next Figure (106), the stein showing the splendid ruby engraved glass with which we are even yet familiar, and the tall pitcher decorated with enam elled paintings. This style of work is commonly called "Fichtel Glass," since it first originated at the kilns in the Fichtel Mountains, in the northeast of Bavaria. They still retain this name, no matter where their place of manufacture. The decoration on the jug is an ermine cloak, in front of which is a shield surmounted with a crown, — a favourite form of decoration in the eighteenth century.

While the Germans ran to a great extent to the use of colour in their glass, the English glass is distinguished by cutting and engraving, the crystal of the glass being left its natural tint. Just which art was the earlier in

Fig. 109 Engraved Beakers.

Sl^a use it is hard to say, and both styles of decoration were brought to a great degree of perfection. "Pepys mentions in February, 1668, that he went to the Glasshouse, and there shewed my cozens the mak ing of glass, and had several things made with great content; and among others, I had one or two singing- glasses made, which make an echo to the voice, the first that I ever saw; but so thin, that the very breath broke one or two of them." He speaks a year or two later of having his name engraved on some decanters, which gave him " great content " also.

Fig. 111 Pitcher Fig. 112 Decanters. Fig. 113 Cut Glass Decanters and Glasses.

Figures 107 and 108 show engraved decanters of great beauty, and 109 and 110, engraved beakers, one of them with cover. Such shaped glasses were in use from the seventeenth century, and the one with the tulip in its basket is undoubtedly of Dutch origin.

Fig. 106 German Glass ANTIQUE GLASSWARE.

"" They used one more g in spelling grog in the eighteenth century than we do now, and it must have been a steady head which has carried home safely the contents of more than one glass of such a size as this. Two pretty pieces, also engraved, are shown in the next Figure (111), and belong to the Water's Collec tion, at Salem, Massachusetts.

There is a certain elegance about cut glass which engraved glass never has, a brilliancy and a sparkle which always makes it pleasing. Figures 112 and 113 show some good old pieces, still bearing their weight of years sturdily.

Conceive what elegance a tall sugar-bowl like the one in Figure 114 added to a table on which the other furniture porcelain, or some fine English ware, or was even pewter polished to the brightness of silver. Such pieces as this are treasured relics in many old families, and some years ago could be picked up for very small sums. I bought a pair, of which this is one, in New York City, for three dollars. They are very hard to find now. In the next Figure (115) is found quite a singular piece; it is even taller than the one in Figure 114, is a beautiful dark and Even rarer still are such objects as the cut-glass vase, of the old " hob-nail " pattern, shown in Figure 116, which I saw one day in an " antique shop" a snapshot at. Going there a few days later to get aand took better picture of it,

Fig. 114 Cut Glass Sugar-Bowl Fig. 115 Green Glass Sugar-Bowl. mm. it Fig. 116 Cut Glass Vase.

I found that it had been picked up by some kwer of fine glass and taken out West. In Figure 117 is shown of English a collection glass. The twO covered dishes were used for Sweet- meats, and the wine-glass at the end is tiny enough to be what was known as the minister's "which was always two or three sizes smaller than those of his congregation. This glass also interesting, since is it is among the earliest am able to show coming under "bell-shaped," I the head of which form was copied directly from the Venetian pattern, and dates to it early in the eighteenth century. The glass in Figure 118 is known as the drawn-bowl shape.

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Source

The Collector's Manual by N. Hudson Moore, Amy Richards. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1906.

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