three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair


Foyer Exhibition:
September 2009

17th and 18th century english & continental goblets

Group shot of three continental goblets
A selection of continental goblets

The September 2009 foyer exhibition will feature a collection of approximately fifty goblets from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The theme of the exhibition will be drinking/ceremonial glass goblets, with examples from England, Ireland and Scotland and continental pieces produced in the Netherlands, Bohemia, Germany and Scandinavia.

Cabinet One will contain continental examples including a mammoth sixteen-inch ceremonial lidded goblet with a capacity of a little over two litres. This is probably from the Netherlands and is dated around 1680. There will be other lidded goblets of German origin and a superb 17th century Dutch goblet profusely wheel engraved with all manner of fruit and vegetables.

You will also find superb wheel engraving on a Norwegian baluster goblet and several 17th century Bohemian examples, including one dated c1690 with a spiked gadrooned bowl, a multi-knopped stem with a spiral quatrefoil knop in the centre and with typical engraving of the period depicting birds and a house.

A group shot English goblets
English goblets

In the second cabinet there will be a display of glass produced in Britain, including some very large Newcastle-type baluster goblets obviously used for ceremonial purposes, such as a marriage or important civil function, and traditionally passed around the top or dignitary's table to drink toasts from. Other smaller examples will include some decorated with the finest Dutch wheel engraving by Jacob Sang.

You will also find examples of most of the stem types of the day, including an Irish plain stem goblet and a superb baluster that many believe originated from Scotland. Other examples will include heavy balusters, plain stems, incised twists, opaque twists and airtwists, both plain and engraved.

D Wolff stipple
D Wolff stippled goblet

Most collectors of antique drinking glasses concentrate on the familiar types which offer a huge variety of smaller sizes for wine, ale, ratafia, champagne and cordials.

Some of these, though produced in the standard sizes of the day, seem very small when compared to modern standards and drinking habits. A typical early opaque twist or airtwist wine glass will have a capacity of not much more than two or three ounces of fluid and ale glasses have a capacity of around three to four ounces.

However, it is hoped that this exhibition will provide collectors with a snapshot of some wonderful large goblets, both engraved and plain, with a capacity measured in litres, not ounces!

exhibition highlights

• A superb goblet engraved by Jacob Sang

• A very fine stippled goblet by David Wolff

A 17th century wheel engraved Dutch goblet, probably made to celebrate the harvest

• A very fine lidded Friendship goblet engraved by Jacob Sang



Note: All images supplied by Peter Adamson; photo credits: Athelny Townshend.