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Water Carafe

Maker: Probably French
Material: white and blue Opaline glass with gilt decorations
Year: ca. 1865
Size: Height 8.5”
20.05.30 EL The Mr. & Mrs. Franck H. Kaiser, Sr. Collection

Water bottles of various designs and shapes were frequently found by bedsides in the late 19th century. In France they were known as Bonne Nuit or good night sets. Adelicia’s three-piece example of opaline glass with gilt decoration displays an elegance rarely seen in such items. It is also rare that the under-plate survives. The ruffle edge of the white opaline glass under-plate is tipped in blue opaline glass.

Opaline glass also known as Opal glass is most associated with France. The term was developed in the 19th century and first used at Baccarat. It is a “semi-translucent glass in opalescent white, blue, green or pink.” The glass dates from antiquity and was made by the adding of calcified bones to the glass. In the 19th century tin oxide or stannic oxide was added. [1] While this glass is most closely associated with France it also was made in Bohemia and in England. W. H. B. & J. Richardson of Stourbridge, England is most often associated with the best English opaline glass. By the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition many of the major English firms were displaying opal and other colored glasses.[2] Many English critics still considered the Bohemian and French pieces better.

[1] Random House Collector’s Encyclopedia: Victoriana to Art Deco. New York: Random House, 1974.p208.
[2] Wakefield, Hugh, Nineteenth Century British Glass. London: Faber and Faber Limited. 1982. pp60-62.

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