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Sweetmeat glass

Sweetmeat glass

  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1725-1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glass, with moulded pedestal stem

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs Margaret Alice Barlow

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 118a, case 5

Object Type
This type of flaring glass dish on a tall foot was made throughout the 18th century. Often called a sweetmeat glass, it was used primarily as the top fitment of a pyramid of graduated salvers (trays or 'waiters' for serving a dessert such as jelly) loaded with jelly and custard glasses (flaring stemless glasses with small feet). The name 'orange glass' or 'top glass' found in 18th-century bills shows that it usually held a crystallised orange. Many survive, some with expensive and elaborate cutting, suggesting that they had a secondary role as small dishes for delicacies on the dessert table.

Retailers & Trade
The component parts of a pyramid of jelly glasses could be bought from a glass dealer as a complete kit, or as separate items - all being likely to need regular replacement through breakages. In 1744 six ribbed jelly glasses could be bought for two shillings (4d each), while three salvers cost seven shillings.

Physical description

Foot: folded; Stem: moulded pedestal; Bowl: lipped

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (made)


1725-1750 (made)


Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Glass, with moulded pedestal stem


Height: 14 cm, Diameter: 11 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

Sweetmeat glass,1740-1760, C.175-1918

Labels and date

Intended for a crystallised fruit, and known in the 18th Century as a Top Glass or Orange Glass.
British Galleries:
One of the most popular forms of dessert centrepiece was the jelly tree. This was a pyramid of glass salvers, desked with individual glasses containing brightly coloured jellies, custards, syllabubs, sugared fruits and flowers. [27/03/2003]


British Galleries; Glass; Eating

Collection code


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