James Giles on Glass

Giles Liqueur Op W Urn D James Giles [1718-80] is best-known as a decorator of Worcester porcelain. However, surviving documentation proves that around a fifth of his workshop’s output was in gilded and enamelled glass of the highest quality. He decorated glass of many colours, including blue, green and amethyst, and of numerous forms, from decanters and drinking-glasses to scent bottles and rosewater sprinklers.

The identification of much of Giles’ work on porcelain, applied in hundreds of different patterns to the products of numerous England and European factories, remains the exclusive preserve of experts. However, his glass decoration ranks amongst the most distinctive forms of English Rococo and Neo-classical glassware.

James Giles Scent Bottles Giles based himself in Cockspur Street, London’s most glamorous retail location and worked for the wealthiest clients, including royalty, Clive of India and the Duke of Northumberland. Yet his financial ineptitude, and the scheming of his rivals, led to him being bankrupted three times and he died a pauper in 1780. However, his ill-fortune had a silver-lining as it left a paper-trail for today’s historians, enabling his name and the results of his extraordinary skills to resonate down through the centuries.