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Siphon glass

Siphon glass

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1650-1725 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glass, blown, with hot-worked decoration

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 5, The Friends of the V&A Gallery, case CA1

Trick glasses payed an important part of the drinking culture of Europe. Siphon glasses, like puzzle jugs in ceramics, only work when you know how to use them. Only if you block up one or two carefully disguised holes, in this case in the hollow know of the stem, can you drink from it through the stags head. When you pass the glass to someone who does not know the trick they will not be able to use it.

Physical description

Trick glass in two parts. The bottom part is a goblet with bell-shaped bowl, a hollow, globular knob and a high, trumpet-shaped foot. In the centre of the stem is a hollow glass pipe, open at the top, and in open connection with the hollow knob, which has a hole in one side, disguised as an applied prunt. The top part is in the shape of a stag with blue added glass details on the antlers, mouth, tail and back. At the bottom of the stag is a hollow glass tube which is in open connection with the inside body of the stag and with an opening through the stag's mouth. The bottom part of this tube is also open and fits over the thinner tube inside the goblet. Applied hot-worked decoration.

Place of Origin

Germany (probably, made)


1650-1725 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Glass, blown, with hot-worked decoration


Height: 24.1 cm, Width: 11.4 cm maximum, Height: 344 mm Assembled, Width: 140 mm Assembled, Depth: 98 mm Assembled, Diameter: 120 mm

Object history note

Bought from the Soulages collection for £ 3.

Historical context note

This is a so called trick-glass. Liquid can only be drunk from this trick glass by drinking from the stag's mouth while covering the hole in the tube the stem of the glass which as disguised as one of three prunts. A drinker unfamiliar with this secret will not be able to drink from it.

Descriptive line

Siphon glass, probably Germany, 1675-1750

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

J. Schlosser, Das Alte GlasBraunschweig, 1956, p. 187, fig. 145 for a similar trickglass attributed to the early 18thy century.
A. Von Saldern, Glas von der Antike bis zum Jugendstil, Mainz on Rhine, 1980, p. 216, cat 209, for a similar trickglass attributed to Germany or Bohemia, late 17th to first half of the early 18thy century, from the Hans Cohn Collection, Los Angeles.

Labels and date


Production Note

Attribution: (17th century German) suggested by Olga Drahotova 1992





Subjects depicted



ELISE; Glass; Drinking


Ceramics Collection

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