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18th Century Jelly Glasses

During the Stuart and Georgian eras, the word ‘banquet’ was applied to a collation of fruits, sweetmeats and wines, displayed ostentatiously in the drawing room. Guests were not seated, but stood or strolled about the room in the manner of modern cocktail parties. In the time of George I, the word ‘dessert’ was adopted.

To display this array of desserts, the host would use a number of different glasses. One of these would be the jelly glass. Jelly would be run into the glass while still warm, and early glasses (pre 1740) are usually twist ribbed, vertically ribbed or pinched with diamond or hexagonal diaper work, as some protection against cracking.

The deep bell shaped bowl, from about 1740, was plain with an expansive brim, which allowed the cook to top the jelly with clotted cream. In the 1750s, fashionable jelly glasses were beginning to be decorated with engraving or shallow cutting. After about 1790, deep relief cutting was applied for at least half a century, the bowls being thick in section to accommodate the elaborate ornament, which usually included a wide band of diamonds below the rim.

Legacy Antiques stocks a great selection of jelly glasses spanning the 18th and 19th centuries.