Popular Glasses of England and Ireland

By: Mitch Johnson

The glasses in England and Ireland have almost the same features. Some of the glasses made in England were the rarest and most expensive one like the colored glass. The English produced the most popular wineglasses in the eighteenth century. The glasses produced in Ireland were almost the same with that of England.

The most popular production of the eighteenth century was that of wineglasses, and thousands remain of which the different patterns defy calculation. A particularly pleasing feature of many is the 'twist' stem; these are clear, white, or colored; the latter rarest and most expensive. The earliest glasses have a folded foot (with the outer edge turned under) later ones are with a plain thin edge.

In 1745 a duty was levied on all glass; as the duty was on the actual material the amount of this in each article was lessened, and more labor and time were expended on ornamentation. To this, together with changing fashion, is due the rise of cutting, enameling and engraving, which played an increasing part as the century, advanced. Members of the Beilby family of Newcastle-on-Tyne are famous for their enamel work. Decanters, introduced about 1750 and plain at first, became cut heavily, and before long cutting was the principal decoration of all pieces.

Chandeliers and pairs of candelabra were greatly in demand in the last half of the eighteenth century. The complex cut patterns glittered brilliantly by candlelight, enhanced by hanging chains of small glass drops. Old examples can still be bought, and most of them have been converted skillfully for use with electricity.

In Bristol, articles were made of a porcelain-like white glass, often painted delicately in colors. Blue and amethyst-colored glass was made there also, but the majority seen today has been manufactured in recent years and probably not in England. Nearby, at Nailsea, a large factory made jugs, rolling pins and similar domestic pieces. Many of these were in green-tinted bottle-glass, which was taxed at a lower rate and could be sold cheaply; others are made of glass striped in mixed colors. Pieces are described for convenience as 'Nailsea' and 'Bristol', but similar articles were made at glassworks up and down the country and it is rarely possible to say exactly whence they came.

Irish glass, particularly Waterford, has been the subject of discussion for many years, but in fact it cannot usually be distinguished from that made in England at the same time. When some further Excise duties were placed on English glass in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, a few manufacturers sent craftsmen across to Ireland and opened factories there. A number of decanters have survived with raised inscriptions under the base reading 'Penrose, Waterford' and 'Cork Glass Co.', and these are indisputably of Irish make.

There was a tax levied also on the expensive glass produced in England. Due to the rise of cutting, enameling and engraving, which played an increasing part as the century advanced the cost of glass, went up. Some of their brilliant products were the Chandeliers and pairs of candelabra, which were greatly in demand, candlelight, green-tinted bottle-glass, etc. The glass was also inscribed in them, which have helped the study of these glasses to great extent.

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Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http:// www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , www.goodcollectables.info/ , www.bathroomaccessoriesmadeeasy.info/

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