Made In Warrington, Lancashire, by Perrin, Geddes & Co.
Between 1800 and 1830 techniques of cutting glass developed enormously. Sets of elaborately and deeply cut glass, with hundreds of facets, each glinting in candlelight, added a lively lustre to a dining table. The pieces shown here are from a set ordered by the Corporation of Liverpool in 1806, for presentation to the Prince of Wales after his visit to the city. [27/03/2003]
From the 1760s, the wine bottle began to disappear from smart dining tables in favour of elegant, blown decanters with matching sets of glasses. After about 1800 these became heavier to allow for the expensive, deep, and often complex wheel cutting that characterised the Regency Style.
In 1806 the Prince of Wales made a grand visit to Liverpool. This visit effectively endorsed that wealthy city's association with the contentious slave trade. In gratitude to the Prince, the Council ordered a huge suite of table glass for him from the local manufacturer Perrin, Geddes & Co. of Warrington. When it arrived, the Prince thanked them for 'the most beautiful and ornamental specimens he ever saw of this valuable manufacture'.
It seems probable that for such an extremely expensive service, which took over a year to make, other craftsmen may have been involved. The local glass-cutter John Unsworth, who styled himself 'Manufacturer to His Majesty and to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales', may have been one.
Design & Designing
The unparalleled design of this decanter is so sophisticated that it has often been attributed to a London glass specialist such as John Blades, who we know employed architects as designers. The superb, lustrous lead glass itself, however, and the dramatic deep swirling cutting, are certainly attributable to Warrington. In terms of European cut glass, the Prince of Wales service must rank as one of the most astoundingly successful blends of material, design, and faultless technique.