Drinking Glass thumbnail 1
Drinking Glass thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery

Drinking Glass

ca. 1677 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Object Type
The 'Roemer' was simply an English copy of the traditional German green drinking glass that is still in use today. Perhaps because so little German wine was consumed in England, the special type of glass was always associated with it.

Collecting
Because of their infrequent use, several early lead-glass Roemers have survived. Very similar examples with seals of either a raven's head or a letter 'S' are now both considered Ravenscroft products. Documentary evidence shows that this maker used seals in 1676-7, but more precise dating poses a puzzle for glass historians. We know that in 1676 the Roemers could have been made at either of his two glasshouses: at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, or at the Savoy glasshouse in London. By 1677 the former was closed, however, so they could only have been made in London.

Trade
Before George Ravenscroft began producing these in the mid-1670s, the small but steady demand for German-type Roemers led to at least one London glass dealer ordering crystal glass versions from a Venetian glasshouse. Even though the clarity of crystal glass was much admired, it is rather surprising that the cheaper German Roemers were not imported. By the end of the 18th century, however, it became customary for English 'Old Hock' glasses (named after a German wine) to be made of green glass like the originals.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Lead glass, mould-blown, with ribbing and applied raspberry prunts and raven's head seal
Brief description
Roemer, England (London), George Ravenscroft, probably at the Savoy glasshouse, 1677-1677
Physical description
Foot: rib-moulded; Bowl: cup
Dimensions
  • Height: 16.5cm
  • Maximum diameter: 8.6cm
  • Weight: 0.26kg (Note: Measured)
Dimensions checked: Measured; 09/08/2000 by TB
Style
Marks and inscriptions
raven's head (applied seal)
Gallery label
  • The raven head seal is recorded as having been used by Ravenscroft in 1677. Compare the Roemer (Charleston 1984 pl.24A) at Muzeum Narodowe, Warsaw, probably engraved to commemorate the visit to Danzig of King John Sobieski in 1677-8, and also sealed with the raven head.
  • British Galleries: LEAD GLASS BY RAVENSCROFT
    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)
Credit line
Wilfred Buckley Collection
Object history
Made by George Ravenscroft (born in 1632, died in 1683) either at the Savoy glasshouse, London or at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Summary
Object Type
The 'Roemer' was simply an English copy of the traditional German green drinking glass that is still in use today. Perhaps because so little German wine was consumed in England, the special type of glass was always associated with it.

Collecting
Because of their infrequent use, several early lead-glass Roemers have survived. Very similar examples with seals of either a raven's head or a letter 'S' are now both considered Ravenscroft products. Documentary evidence shows that this maker used seals in 1676-7, but more precise dating poses a puzzle for glass historians. We know that in 1676 the Roemers could have been made at either of his two glasshouses: at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, or at the Savoy glasshouse in London. By 1677 the former was closed, however, so they could only have been made in London.

Trade
Before George Ravenscroft began producing these in the mid-1670s, the small but steady demand for German-type Roemers led to at least one London glass dealer ordering crystal glass versions from a Venetian glasshouse. Even though the clarity of crystal glass was much admired, it is rather surprising that the cheaper German Roemers were not imported. By the end of the 18th century, however, it became customary for English 'Old Hock' glasses (named after a German wine) to be made of green glass like the originals.
Bibliographic reference
W A Thorpe, English & Irish Glass (1929) pl.XVI; R J Charleston, English Glass (1968) pl.14; John A Brooks, Glass (1973) p.39; Charles Truman, English Glassware to 1900 (1984) pl.7; R J Charleston, English Glass (1984) pl.23d; J M Bickerton, Eighteenth Century English Drinking Glasses (1986) pl.23 Exhibited at BFAC Exh.1930, Age of Walnut 1932.
Collection
Accession number
C.530-1936

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Record createdDecember 13, 1997
Record URL
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