May Your Glass Be Ever Full
When Hobbes went hob-nobbing and Locke locked lips with a nice port, the vessels from which they sipped were as beautiful and complex as the thoughts that spilled from their fertile minds. If there is nothing else to be taken away from The Age of Enlightenment, an elixir-laced exhibit currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it is this: it was, indeed, an era to fully and ferociously imbibe.
Or as, scribe and noted imbiber, Henry David Thoreau, might say:
Drinking clubs abounded, as great thinkers, the fashionably lush, and the prominently disposed gathered in a haze of spirits to experiment, sample, and invent an assorted collection of the finest alcoholic beverages ever known to keep body and soul apart as the cocktail swilling savant, herself, might say. (And yes, the Errant Aesthete proudly declares a full imbibing half of Irish ancestry).
Drawn from the Museum’s collection, the exhibit brings together objects employed in both the service and the consumption of beer, wine, champagne, and even the occasional exotic newcomer, like punch, for example.
From simple lead crystal wine glasses to gleaming white porcelain jugs to classic silver tankards, there is enough here to entice, stimulate and inspire intimate reveries and quiet contemplations over a small etched crystal of “fortification.”
For the lover of the novel and unusual, delightful accoutrements include a swirling silver nutmeg grater made in Birmingham, England, a lovely blue-and-white porcelain wine glass cooler from Chantilly, France, and a much-admired colorful tin-enameled earthenware wine jug from early 18th-century Germany.
1.) Goblet, c. 1745, possibly with later engraving. Artist/maker unknown, English. Lead-crystal glass with wheel-engraved decoration; drawn stem, Height: 8 3/8 inches (21.3 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, The George H. Lorimer Collection, 1953.
2.) Monteith, 1707-8. Workshop of Gabriel Sleath, English (active London), 1674 – 1756. Silver, 8 1/4 x 11 inches (21 x 27.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of George D. Widener, 1972.
3.) Two-Handled Cup with Lid(1706-8). 3.) Workshop of David King, Irish (Dublin), active from 1690, died 1737. Made in Dublin, Ireland. Silver with engraved decoration. 13 x 13 x 7 1/2 inches (33 x 33 x 19.1 cm) The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection.
4.) Wine Jug, c. 1720. Decorated by M. Schmidt, German (active Nurnberg), from c. 1712. Tin-enamelled earthenware; pewter, 14 7/16 x 8 1/4 inches (36.6 x 21 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Bloomfield Moore Collection, 1882.
5.) Wine Glass Cooler, c. 1770. Made by the Chantilly porcelain factory, Chantilly, France, c. 1730 – 1792. Soft-paste porcelain with underglaze blue decoration, 4 1/8 x 6 1/8 inches (10.5 x 15.5 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Morris Hawkes, 1942.
Images: The Curated Object
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.