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Bowl - Ravenscroft Bowl
  • Ravenscroft Bowl
    Ravenscroft, George, born 1632 - died 1683
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Ravenscroft Bowl

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)
    Henley-on-Thames (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1676-1677 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ravenscroft, George, born 1632 - died 1683 (glass-maker)
    Savoy Glasshouse (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lead glass, mould-blown, with ribbing

  • Credit Line:

    Wilfred Buckley Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 13

Object Type
Several large lead-glass basins of this type have survived, probably because of their gentle use in the bedroom rather than on the dining table. It is likely that the large helmet-shaped jugs made by George Ravenscroft (1632-1681) were intended to complement these basins.

Materials & Making
A small number of Ravenscroft's products have been positively identified by the presence of the raven's-head seal, as seen on the base of this bowl. Although this was used in 1676-1677 to guarantee that these pieces were made from an improved glass formula and would not become 'crizzled' (marred by a fine network of tiny internal fissures), in fact all of the marked examples are cloudy to some degree, as is this bowl. It is probable that after 1677 the chemical instability of Ravenscroft's formula, caused by insufficient alkali, was finally solved and that lead oxide was also added to produce what was, in effect, a new material: lead glass.

Ownership & Use
Jugs and basins were the traditional equipment for washing in well-to-do households. But since glass was ill-suited to use with hot water, the usual materials for jug and basin sets from the end of the 17th century were delftware, Chinese porcelain and eventually Staffordshire white stoneware and Pearlware; finally blue-printed earthenware was used. More expensive English porcelain sets were available after about 1770. Various types of wooden washstand were developed for jugs and basins in the 18th and 19th centuries, later incorporating soap dishes and toothbrush trays.

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)
Henley-on-Thames (possibly, made)


1676-1677 (made)


Ravenscroft, George, born 1632 - died 1683 (glass-maker)
Savoy Glasshouse (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Lead glass, mould-blown, with ribbing

Marks and inscriptions

raven's head seal


Height: 10.3 cm, Diameter: 26.3 cm, Weight: 0.92 kg

Object history note

Made by George Ravenscroft (born in 1632, died in 1683) at the Savoy glasshouse, London or in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Made in London or Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Descriptive line

Bowl, England (London), George Ravenscroft at the Savoy glasshouse, 1676-1677

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

R J Charleston, English Glass (1984) pl.23a. W A Thorpe, English & Irish Glass (1929) pl.XII

Labels and date

British Galleries:

George Ravenscroft's experience as a major importer of Venetian glass convinced him that he could make a type of glass that was more appealing to the British. In 1674 he toook out a patent to make a 'perticuler sort of Christaline Glasse resembling Rock Cristall'. His operation, using Italian glass workers, was fraught with technical problems until 1676-1677, when he marked his (nearly) perfected glass with a raven's head seal. The heavy and slow-cooling lead-glass admirably suited a simple but elegant style. [27/03/2003]


Glass; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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