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Publication: In Sparkling Company: Reflections on Glass in the 18th-Century British World

  • 31 July 2020

In Sparkling Company: Reflections on Glass in the 18th-Century British World edited by Christopher L. Maxwell and published by The Corning Museum of Glass is now available to purchase. This book was supported by a Paul Mellon Centre publication grant.

 The 1700s were a period of expansion and change in Great Britain. With German kings on its throne, an aristocracy educated on European Grand Tours and colonies extending from North America to Australia, the British world experience was a sweeping one. A diversifying economy based on international trade, finance, and manufacture nurtured a growing elite whose lives were defined by newly-prescribed codes of 'polite' sociability and the consumption of material goods.

The British glass industry replaced that of Venice as the global leader during this period but, beyond its presence in dining and drinking rituals, little discussion has hitherto been made of the significance of glass in the lives of the wealthy during the 1700s. Clear and bright British lead glass was more than simply functional: it embodied the polished, modern values of the age.

In Sparkling Company: Reflections on Glass in the 18th-Century British World accompanies a major exhibition at The Corning Museum of Glass in 2021.