Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 118a

Champagne Glass

1750-1760 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Object Type
A typical flute glass of the mid-18th century, of a type made both for strong ale and for champagne. In this case, the elaborate, expensive engraving and the use of vine-leaf motifs indicates that it was intended for sparkling wine - which, in 18th-century Britain, meant champagne.

Design & Designing
Tall flute glasses became popular in the late 17th century. Not only was the high bowl found suitable for engraved or gilt decoration, but if the glass was handled by the stem or foot, the beauty of the contents could be admired while remaining cool. When champagne became popular, the narrow flute glass was naturally chosen because of its ability to preserve the bubbles.

Time
Increasing wealth in 18th-century Britain was not necessarily squandered on punch parties or riotous living. As young men of independent means travelled and became familiar with customs on the Continent, so manners began to improve. Among these, the custom of drinking champagne - always expensive because it had to be imported from France in its bottles rather than in barrels - became firmly rooted. For example, in the 1760s William Zoffany painted William Ferguson Celebrating his Succession to Raith, showing a group of friends with champagne flutes, and bottles in a wine-cooler packed in ice. Today, Britain remains France's best customer for champagne.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Engraved glass, with air-twist stem
Brief description
Wine glass, probably Belgium (possibly Liège), 1850-1900
Dimensions
  • Height: 19.1cm
  • Diameter: 7.2cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 17/07/2000 by RK
Style
Gallery label
British Galleries: Champagne was one of the many popular wines to be imported during the second half of the 18th century. This delicate flute glass with its finely engraved decoration of vine leaves and grapes was specially designed to serve champagne.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Transferred from the Museum of Practical Geology, Jermyn Street
Object history
Made in England
Summary
Object Type
A typical flute glass of the mid-18th century, of a type made both for strong ale and for champagne. In this case, the elaborate, expensive engraving and the use of vine-leaf motifs indicates that it was intended for sparkling wine - which, in 18th-century Britain, meant champagne.

Design & Designing
Tall flute glasses became popular in the late 17th century. Not only was the high bowl found suitable for engraved or gilt decoration, but if the glass was handled by the stem or foot, the beauty of the contents could be admired while remaining cool. When champagne became popular, the narrow flute glass was naturally chosen because of its ability to preserve the bubbles.

Time
Increasing wealth in 18th-century Britain was not necessarily squandered on punch parties or riotous living. As young men of independent means travelled and became familiar with customs on the Continent, so manners began to improve. Among these, the custom of drinking champagne - always expensive because it had to be imported from France in its bottles rather than in barrels - became firmly rooted. For example, in the 1760s William Zoffany painted William Ferguson Celebrating his Succession to Raith, showing a group of friends with champagne flutes, and bottles in a wine-cooler packed in ice. Today, Britain remains France's best customer for champagne.
Collection
Accession number
5299-1901

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Record createdDecember 13, 1997
Record URL
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