As the only international auction house to have dedicated glass and paperweight sales, Bonhams is proud to announce the auction of The Albert Hartshorne Collection of Glass as part of its Fine British & European Glass & Paperweights auction on Wednesday 15th December in New Bond Street, London.
Hartshorne is primarily known for his ground-breaking work Old English Glasses, published in 1897, which became the encyclopaedic text of English 18th century drinking glass styles. The book was the first reference book on English glass and charts the history of European glass from early times – it has been credited with inspiring numerous collectors and establishing English glass collecting as we know it today. Many of the examples illustrated in the book came from his personal collection – much of which was briefly on display at Worthing Museum. The sale of a wide selection of the collection will take place at Bonhams almost exactly 100 years since the collector’s death. It also includes his personal annotated copy of Old English Glasses with some of the original correspondence and research (£1,000-1,500), the fruits of which have enabled him to become a household name in the history of glass.
The collection on offer comprises 64 lots, and includes over 50 English drinking glasses of all types with estimates ranging from £400-£10,000. Highlights include a large punch bowl and cover c.1685 (£10,000-15,000) of which similar examples can be seen in museums in Nottingham, London and Cambridge and a set of five Beilby enamelled opaque-twist wine glasses c.1765 (£8,000-12,000). A rare commemorative moulded-stem wine glass c.1715 which bears the inscription God Save King George is one of a handful of rare early pro-Hanoverian glasses probably made to celebrate the coronation of George I in 1714 and is expected to fetch £5,000-7,000. Another glass expected to cause much interest is lot 6, a rare and interesting diamond-point engraved wine glass, engraved with Mrs Walpole/June 29th, 1716 which may have been used for toasting by the Kit-Cat Club. It has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £600-800. A fine Dutch-engraved facet-stemmed Royal armorial goblet by Jacob Sang c.1765 (£6,000-8,000) is another highlight of the auction.
Perhaps for Hartshorne himself, his most prized possession was a small English pocket flask of the late 17th century bearing the trailed glass initials AH (£500-700), which is faithfully reproduced in Old English Glasses – the association between the individual pieces and the first book on English glass of the modern period makes this collection so special.
Simon Cottle, Departmental Head of Glass and Continental Porcelain at Bonhams comments, “Albert Hartshorne’s ground-breaking work on English glass saw the birth of modern day glass collecting from the UK to the USA, establishing its importance within the field of the European decorative arts tradition. Based on the research of examples in his own collection now available to the market for the first time in 100 years, this sale presents significant iconic examples which have led to our current appreciation of 18th century drinking glasses.”