© 2019 by ABC

What is

"early glass"?

At Earlyglass we specialise in not just glass but also ceramics and stoneware of the general period 1450-1850.

Glassmaking at this time went through some major changes and technical developments, further enhanced by regional styles. The essential qualities of Earlyglass most admired by collectors come from the totally individual Freeblown nature of domestic bottles and similar items, with a quality of crudity and rusticity that we now find charming. Bubbles, striations, sagging or mild deforming of shape are characteristics that collectors look for. 

The evolution of the bottle shape is an important factor, particularly for wine and bulk liquids. From a small bulbous body with long neck, evolving into a squat onion form, and then achieving increasingly straighter sides. That “seals” were a fashionable method of marking one’s own (expensive) bottles means we can now identify and relate a bottle, not only to a distinct period in history but also even a known character, and wonder at the thoughts and feelings of the individual that once held and used that bottle.

Stoneware on the other hand, and the slightly later invention of salt glazing that went with it has its own, often similar but different qualities. Created on the potters’ wheel with initially a surprising variety of forms the then superfired ceramic achieved a density and hardness previously unknown. Add salt glazing, and one had a highly workmanlike waterproof strong, long lasting vessel, which, the knowledge of making of, was monopolised for several hundred years. The handbuilt nature, the thumbed bases, the fingerprints immortalised in the glaze and the often beautiful brown and ochre speckled glazes added to by glaze drips and pools or touchmarks that tell a story of collapses in the kiln all create their own appeal.

It is these and many related items of a period that saw much change from mediaeval to Renaissance to early Industrial Revolution that Earlyglass specialise in.