Saturday, 21 August 2010

Hedwig doesn't need it anymore

Some of you may know that the BBC (Radio 4) is currently doing a little series of '100 Objects' and has featured this glass above, which is part of the British Museum's collection from where the 100 objects are selected. I won't go into the entire history of it (you can read that by clicking on the red link above), other than a little musing...

There are 14 of these glasses around the world, and their origins are a mystery, save that a handful of them were known to be used by a Silesean princess who became a devout (crazily devout - she washed her grand-children's faces in the water she had used to wash the feet of nuns...) Christian, in the early days when devotion to Christ meant giving up everything else.

She gave up drinking wine and, in those days, taking up drinking water from a public well meant exposing yourself to all manner of deadly, water-borne diseases. Her husband worried for her health, but seemed more concerned with her physical health than her mental state - thirst things first.

But then he noticed that when she held this cup - filled with unclean water - to her lips, Christ protected her by turning it into wine before she drank, so that put his mind at rest on both counts.

Those of you who know me a little, know that there are two things that occupy quite a large amount of my leisure time - the acquisition of fine, antique drinking-glasses, and the consumption of wine from them. Wouldn't this glass be just perfect for my compact but adorable, city apartment?

I cannot help thinking that I may have to - paradoxically - renounce wine for this little trick to work, but I am willing to give it a try, so if you stumble across a 15th version of this glass which isn't in a museum, please let me know, and I will make it worth your while.


  1. P.S. - It is big - vase size, 8 inches high - so check the art-glass on your mantle shelves!

  2. If I'd seen it in a shop window I might have thought it was a 1920's glass.

  3. Tom, I've checked. I could do with such a glass myself. No more trips to the bottle shop would be a great convenience. What a fascinating history!

  4. I agree, Cro - it is exactly like a 1920's glass vase. This is why there is possibly still some knocking around junk shops from house-clearances.

    Ok, then Bris - if you find 2, can I have the other?

  5. Gosh, this is gorgeous. The design is exquisite. It's quite similar to a piece of vintage vaseline glass I have.

  6. What a gorgeous glass, no wonder you want one!
    The pattern looks familiar in some way and is tugging at my memory. No, I'm sure I haven't seen one of these but the pattern may have been copied somewhere.