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Custard cup

Custard cup

  • Place of origin:

    Sunderland (made)

  • Date:

    1840-1860 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glass, blown

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Rogert T Johnson in memory of Janet E Johnson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 2

Object Type
This custard cup was one of many types of tableware that were intended for a particular food. Extensive glass table services became increasingly popular towards the end of the 19th century, especially with the introduction of press-moulded glass. This example, which may have been from such a service, was blown and then further shaped by hand. It has wheel-cut flat panels and vertical banding; the handle was made by pulling and shaping a piece of almost molten glass, applied direct to the body of the cup.

Materials & Making
This cup is made of lead glass. In the 17th century a higher proportion of lead oxide was introduced into glass during manufacture to offset the problems of 'crizzling' (a fine network of tiny internal fissures within the body of the glass). The resultant lead glass was clear and brilliant and especially suited to cut decoration. Cut patterns are created using rotating disks of various materials and sizes with a stream of water and an abrasive. First the pattern is painted on the surface and intitially rough-cut. It is then refined with a copper or sandstone wheel, and finally the finished object is polished. Steam-powered wheels were introduced in the early 19th century.

Physical description

Glass custard cup, squat with one handle.

Place of Origin

Sunderland (made)


1840-1860 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Glass, blown


Height: 5.8 cm, Width: 9 cm including handle, Diameter: 6.2 cm

Object history note

Made in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear by an unidentified maker

Descriptive line

Custard cup, glass, blown, Sunderland, ca. 1840-60.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Individual servings of custard could be offered to dinner party guests before the dessert. In her book on household management of 1888, Mrs Beeton illustrated a recipe for custard with similar cups on a silver salver. Glass custard cups could be bought to match the drinking glasses and other table glass. [27/03/2003]






Glass; Tableware & cutlery


Ceramics Collection

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