Tuesday, November 9, 2010

English Bristol Blue Glass, It's a good thing!

A pair of George III 'Bristol' blue glass decanters, 'Hollands' and 'Rum', pear-shape gilded with titled labels, complete with original stoppers, circa 1800

Although Bristol Blue glass has been made in Bristol, England since the 17th century, It enjoyed a golden period from the 1770's until the 1820's. The quality and beauty of the glass swiftly gained popularity, with over sixty glass houses being set up in the city. Making over 50% of the bottles and window glass produced for Britain, as well as to supply demands for large export operation to the newly liberated North American States.

When George Ravenscroft discovered and patented lead crystal, glass makers combined the new lead crystal with cobalt, to perfect a high quality blue glass. This was labeled, "Bristol Blue," without regard for where it was actually produced. Lazurus and Isaac Jacobs were the most famous makers of Bristol Blue Glass in the 1780s. Their company held a royal warrant and made glass for the aristocrats of Europe. Isaac was the first glassmaker in history to sign his work offering an undisputed provenance.The glass consists of cobalt oxide, which creates a deep yet bright blue, and 24% lead oxide (PbO).

High quality cobalt was imported from Saxony and was used in the manufacture of blue medicine bottles. Because the color blue was associated with wealth and prosperity, it was prized and adopted by Bristol Merchant Venturers to display their opulence to the rest of the world. The popularity of colored glass saw the introduction of the first deep cobalt blue handmade glassware for domestic use, and the name, Bristol Blue was born. During the golden period of Bristol blue glass luxury items were made in the latest fashion often trimmed and decorated in gold gilt. Bristol Blue Glass it's a good thing

A late 18th century diamond, pearl and Bristol blue glass memorial brooch, circa 1790, the navette-shaped Bristol blue glass plaque with applied rose and cushion-cut diamond weeping willow motif, within a border of half pearls, the reverse with glazed compartment containing hairwork and a monogram

A late 18th century Bristol blue glass and diamond ring, circa 1790, the octagonal Bristol blue glass plaque applied with a quatrefoil of pear and cushion-shaped diamonds, with scattered rose-cut diamond highlights, to a cushion-shaped diamond border

A collection of Bristol Blue glass decanters and scent bottles with gold gilt decoration

Pair of master Salts. Edinburgh 1839, maker James Howden, with bristol blue glass interiors, each tri footed with lion's head decoration.

A collection of Bristol Blue glass rum decanter and condiment bottles with gold gilt decoration

Bristol Blue glass Hollands decanter

A Bristol Blue glass rectangular hinged box circa 1820

Mourning pendent made of Bristol Blue glass & gold with hairwork of wheat

A 'Bristol' blue glass cornucopia, lightly gilded with foliage, issuing from cast brass hand, on alabaster plinth

Two similar early Victorian 'Bristol Blue' glass cornucopiae, one with turnover rim supported from the neck of a brass stag, the other fluted and flaring from a brass glove, both on white marble bases.

A set of four blue glass condiment bottles, early 19th century, probably Bristol, each gilded in decanter label style for Soy, Ketchup, Kyan and Sem Pickle, gilt lined

Bristol Blue cut glass scent bottle with gilded decoration and embossed silver metal mount

A collection of cobalt and Bristol blue glass containers

comprising Pair of gilt decorated spirit decanters with cork stoppers and open ring finials marked "gin" and "rum", a footed jug; another decanter with banded neck and glass stopper; and a footed centre piece bowl

Five pieces of Bristol blue glass to include: a tall footed jug, a facet cut bottle with gilded cartouche, a small flat sided jug, and two wine coasters



  1. I adore cobalt blue glass. That hinged box is fabulous!! Wonderful images.

    Come and enter my New Giveaway from Empress of the Eye. You will love it!

    Art by Karena

  2. Bristol Blue Glass was revived by Peter Hewlett in the 1980s, almost 70 years after the last Blue Glass factory closed in the the early 1900s. Any company claiming to be the original today is bogus.

  3. hi andrew - interested in bristol glass - plse contact me at measureman1@gmail.com

  4. In the end, I really love the way it turned out. It's almost iridescent! I can't wait to try the technique on some other surfaces! 750ml empty liquor bottles for sale

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