Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

English Glass Week (Thursday)

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on April 27, 2017

The Buckingham’s Glasshouses 16th -17th C.

The second duke of Buckingham in 1660 obtained patents from Charles II and for fourteen years dominated the English glass industry.  He the same year obtain a glasshouse at Greenwich, employing Venetian workers along with John De La Cam to make glasses in the Venetian style. Also, in 1663 he bought another glasshouse in Vauxhall to make sheet glass and mirrors. Before this luxury glass was imported to England from Venice as early as 1399. This was due, in no small part, to the skill of Venetian glassmakers, who held a monopoly on the luxury glass industry at that time. The history of English glass in the 16th and 17th centuries centers on the pursuit of a cristallo to replace imported Venetian wares. Buckingham’s glasshouses were among the early English glassmaking ventures that sought to replicate and sell cristallo in England.

Although the English were eventually able to manufacture glass in the Venetian style, their final products, made of soda- lime glass, remained as fragile as their Venetian counterparts. With the development of lead crystal by the English glassmaker George Ravenscroft (1632–1683) in the 1670s, however, the glasshouses of Buckingham and others faced increasing competition. The material and the cooling properties of Ravenscroft’s glass dictated the final forms of objects. Simple but strong shapes emerged in English glass, and the reflection of the Venetian style began to fade. This departure from fragile façon de Venise glass was a direct result of the improved strength and durability of the newly developed lead crystal. The above was taken in part from an article written by Alexandra Ruggiero, Curatorial Assistant at The Corning Museum of Glass.

English Facon de Venise Glass Tazza

Additional Example of glasses Buckingham’s Glasshouses in the Corning Museum of Glass







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