18th Century Glass

English-air-twist-stemmed-wine-glass,-c1750 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 post-dating 1770.

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.

Decanter-1750 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 and tinted