18th Century Glass
18th century glass has been avidly
sought-after since the disposal of the Smith
Collection in the late-1960s. But not just any-old
18th century glassware: collectors have focussed with
an obsessive myopia on one single aspect of the field
to the exclusion of virtually all others:
early-to--mid-18th century wine-glasses. The vast
majority retain virtually no interest in anything
other than these, to the exclusion of salts,
decanters, lighting glass, etc, and glasses
We retain a small stock mid-18th century wine-glasses
though we do not specialise in them. However, we do retain
a broad stock of pieces dating from c1770. Principally,
this includes many large ‘rummer’ wine goblets and smaller
glasses of the period together with decanters, rinsers and
finger-bowls, and so on.
The beauty of decanters is two fold:
1: They work! In a recent blind tasting at Glass Etc, 30
guests were asked in a to mark the same wine presented to
them in three different ways: served straight from the
bottle, from bottles opened four hours previously and that
had been decanted for four hours. The result was a
remarkable 85% score for the decanted wine.
2: They are beautiful objects. With glass increasingly
admired for its sculptural properties,
decanters often represent glass at its most attractive.
The six-year period of research leading
to my tome, The Decanter, an Illustrated History
of Glass from 1650
, simply enhanced my
pre-existing fondness for its subject matter.
Published in 2004, its print run of 2000 copies has
now sold out. However, I am gradually building a stock
of entirely new images of decanters in readiness for a
second book on the subject.
Such is the diversity of decanters that in just six months,
I have picked up pictures of another 1,000 examples, on top
of those 2,500 illustrated in the original book. The first
contained about 160,000 words but the new one [publication
date not yet envisaged] will be far lighter on text as
there is relatively little to add.
In this light, it is predicable that Glass Etc stocks a
wide range of decanters: from the late-18th century to the
present; from miniatures through pints and quarts to
magnums through plain and richly decorated to colourless