Drinking glass, Ravenscroft

Drinking glass, Ravenscroft

Drinking glass
Ravenscroft
England
Late 17th century
Lead crystal
Museum no. C.233-1912

Until George Ravenscroft perfected lead crystal in the late seventeenth century, the English had relied on imported glass from Venice. The form of this glass, with its generous bowl and baluster stem, became established as a type about 1700 and went on, after George I's accession in 1714, to influence what we know as Georgian glass. As a design it works in all sizes, from a shot glass to more ambitious ceremonial styles. Technical limitations influenced the magnificent simplicity of the form. Because lead glass is slow to cool, it had to be manipulated into exactly the robust, simple shapes that appeal so strongly to English taste. Later in the eighteenth century German glasscutters arrived in London, creating more intricate designs that compromised the astonishing purity of this classic shape.

Stephen Bayley, Guest Curator