Sunday, May 8, 2022

‘Vivat! £16K firing glasses’


A guest on BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow startled one of the program’s experts last week upon producing a pair of firing glasses dating to the eighteenth century. The episode, shot at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland for this forty-fourth year of the show, was broadcast Wednesday night (and was shown again several hours ago).

Appraiser Andy McConnell appeared impressed by the glassware, which he precisely identified as not only Masonic firing glasses, which would be obvious to one in his field, but also as crafts from William Beilby and family.


McConnell explained the intricate process by which Beilby (1740-1819) enameled the pieces, before estimating their value at £16,000–which is ten thousand above the sum their owner had paid at auction.

“These glasses are absolutely the cream,” said McConnell, a historian and writer of glass topics. “So here we have the Masonic Compasses, and the Square on the other side, with this style of white floral branding around the top. They are a well known set.”

The British Museum shows such a tumbler, which it dates to 1768, on its website.

Anyway, enjoy the four-minute video here.

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