Saturday, 24 April 2010

Have a Break....

Here is a bad photo of my latest vitrine acquisition which arrived in the post yesterday, bought on impulse the day before.

It is called a Kit Kat glass, and it dates from around 1720-1730.

The name 'Kit Kat' relates to the Kit Kat club in London, which I believe was founded in 1705, and there are various theories as to how it got it's name. One is that the founding owner was called Kit Catson, and another is that a kit-kat was a type of pie eaten for supper in such clubs, but it could be a case of 'chicken or egg'.

These tall-stemmed, baluster glasses became forever associated with the club, after the 1721 painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller (above), depicting Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, seated at the Kit Kat club and drinking from this style of glass.

My one stands six and a half inches high, and at this point I would normally be saying what a miracle it is that it has survived for about 285 years intact but, sadly, it hasn't. There are two chips on the rim, and one of them has a small crack running down about half an inch which I only discovered when handling the glass in the flesh. This is why I only paid a small percentage of the £600 that the glass would be worth without the damage, but I will be spending another £30 or so to have the chips filled professionally, and the crack stabilised at the same time. I intend to have a few drinks from this Kit Kat, and transport myself back to a different era using a sort of sympathetic magic more commonly referred to as 'imagination'.

... have a Kit-Kat


  1. That's a bute. What would you drink from it? Sherry? Port? Most of my old every-day glasses have terrible chips, but what the hell. I love them anyway. I didn't know you could have chips filled.

    Word Ver'. fwoosi

  2. Fwoosi indeed. It's a wine glass, and the protected bottle their lordships are pouring is wine.

  3. It is very pretty. And so delicate.

    What do they use to fill the chips?

  4. It's not as delicate as it looks, Amy - these baluster glasses are quite thick, usually, unlike the toasting glasses, which are wafer thin.

    The repairs are done with some sort of water-clear, transparent resin which is then polished to match the surrounding glass. I have some stuff which sets under ultra violet light, but my stuff just never goes hard enough to polish properly (story of my life? NO!) I don't know what they use.

  5. I would have thought resin, but I wondered if maybe they actually used melted glass to fill in the spots. But I guess it would not adhere that way.

    I like how you matched it to the painting. Looks exact to me!

  6. You could try shoving the glass back into the furnace - it's called re annealing - but some very expensive accidents have happened that way.

    The painting is what gives those glasses the name.

  7. That. is. awesome@

    While living in the UK, I was able to find the coolest stuff on ebay and at carboots. I love these sorts of finds. What a pretty glass. I love that you have a painting that displays the like.

    P.S. I saw your comment on someone else post and followed you back here. I liked your simple profile description ;) Now a follower.

  8. Hello Carolina, I'll look you up and reciprocate with the following business. Unfortunately, people like me are driving the price of these glasses ever upward, much to the annoyance of the real dealers, who want to buy cheap and sell expensive. A few years ago, I would but one on eBay and immediately relist it and sell it for more, but those days are over. Where were you living in the UK?

  9. P.S. I expect you came across the Larry Grayson squared dance contest when living in Britain, eh Carolina? (couldn't find a comments box on your post).