A series of Venetian drinking glasses

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A series of Venetian drinking glasses

Although glass-houses making fine vessel glass had been set up in various north European cities in the 16th and 17th centuries, the superb quality of Venetian glass was still highly esteemed in the late 17th century. It was imported in large quantities into England, principally by the Company of the Glass-sellers of London. A famous series of letters and drawings between one of the company named John Greene and his Venetian supplier, dating to 1667-72, shows that these were supplied in bulk according to very precise instructions.

Fragments of at least five such vessels were found together in the fill of a garderobe (lavatory) pit at 38 North Street; they were thrown away c.1680-90. All are in clear crystal glass without the extra ornament of earlier fashions. The rainbow-like effects on some vessel surfaces result from chemical changes following burial; they would not have been visible when the vessels were produced.