10 November-Country House Lighting in 18th Century Britain; the Ascendency of Glass


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Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen’s square, London, WC1N 3AT

10 November 6.30pm (refreshments served)

John P Smith is Chairman of The Glass Circle, Fellow at The Corning Museum of

Glass, and latterly a vice-president of The European Society for Light and Glass. He will speak on how early in the 18th century glass started to take over from metal and wood as the preferred material for the body of light fittings, thanks to advances in glassmaking in late 17th century England. This lecture will cover the chronological introduction of increasingly complex designs and the use of cutting, first with water, then with steam power, as decoration. Large glass chandeliers were extraordinarily expensive and often hired for special events but most houses would have had glass lanterns. This talk will only cover the use of candles and will not cover the use of oils in lamps, such as Argand lamps, which were introduced at the very end of the 18th century. The use of oil, gas and electricity in the 19th century will be the subject of a later lecture.