Annual Seminar on Glass

An architectural drawing of one wall of a room with tall windows, arching mirrors, pink and green walls, and elaborately decorated gold candelabras and tables
Robert Adam, Design for the window wall of the drawing room at Northumberland House, 1770–1773 (detail). Sir John Soane's Museum, London (SM Adam, volume 39/5). Photo: (c) Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photography by Heritage Partners.

Dr. Christopher Maxwell, curator of early modern glass, will introduce the major themes and highlights of the special exhibition, In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain during the 1700s.

Three panel discussions will follow, in which CMoG staff and external collaborators will consider approaches to the interpretation, design and digital components of the exhibition, including the remarkable virtual reality reconstruction of the now-lost glass drawing room at Northumberland House, London, designed in 1775 by Robert Adam for the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.

59th Annual Seminar on Glass

The Museum's 59th Annual Seminar on Glass will be presented virtually, in conjunction with the special exhibition In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Cost of Social Life in Britain during the 1700s. For the first time, the Annual Seminar on Glass will take place online, on Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9, 2021. 

All are welcome to register for the free two-day seminar, which will include lectures and panel discussions, with pre- and post-seminar digital materials. All live sessions will be recorded. 

We hope this edition of the seminar will be of interest to CMoG Members, students, museum and academic professionals, dealers, collectors, artists, glass enthusiasts, and anyone curious to learn more about glass in the 18th century. We look forward to welcoming speakers and attendees from around the world.

Seminar Overview

October 8, 2021 (10am–3pm EDT)

Day One: Staging the 18th Century

October 8 Schedule Details and Session Recordings
A close up of an illustration featuring a person's wrist with four beaded bracelets and holding the page of a book open.
W. Pyott after Carl Frederick van Breda, The Benevolent Effects of Abolishing Slavery, or the Planter instructing his Negro, 1792 (detail). Yale Center for British art, B2010.14. Photo: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund.

The day will open with a live introductory paper. A series of pre-recorded papers, made available a week before the event, will inform three live panel discussions relating to the many contexts, meanings, functions, and innovations of glass within cultures and communities throughout the Atlantic World during the long 18th century (about 1680-1820). The day will end with a state-of-the-field discussion considering the achievements of and possibilities for glass scholarship and 18th-century studies.

October 9, 2021 (10am–4pm EDT)

Day Two: Glass and the 18th-Century Atlantic World

October 9 Schedule Details and Session Recordings

Day Two Moderators

Headshot of Elliot H. Blair smiling in front of a white background

Elliot H. Blair

Elliot H. Blair is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Southeastern Archaeology at the University of Alabama. Prior to this he received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015, and worked for a number of years at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, where he was part of the research project at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale on St. Catherines Island in present-day Georgia. 

He is the lead author on The Beads of St. Catherines Island (2009), a research monograph of the AMNH based on the analysis of nearly 70,000 glass trade beads found on the island. He also currently directs projects on Creighton Island, Georgia and at Moundville, AL. His research sits at the intersection of empirical, archaeometric analyses and a social archaeology of materiality and identity, focusing on questions of population aggregation in the colonial Southeast. 

Headshot of Kit Maxwell smiling in front of an exhibition case full of glass

Christopher Maxwell

Christopher (Kit) Maxwell is Curator of Early Modern Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass. He is curator of the special exhibition ‘In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain during the 1700s’, and editor of the accompanying publication.

Kit graduated with a BA Hons in History of Art from the University of Cambridge in 2001. In 2005, he completed his master’s degree in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors at the University of London, and in 2014 he obtained his PhD from the University of Glasgow. The topic of his dissertation research was the dispersal of the Hamilton Palace collection. He recently completed a MPhil in Nazi-era provenance at the University of Glasgow, and is currently pursuing a MRes in Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick. His research has been supported by the Paul Mellon Centre, the Hamilton Estates, the Furniture History Society and the French Porcelain Society.

Before joining The Corning Museum of Glass, Kit held curatorial positions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Collection Trust.

Headshot of Iris Moon smiling in front of a black background

Iris Moon

Iris Moon joined the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, where she is responsible for European ceramics and glass. Her research on the history and theory of European decorative arts and architecture has also been supported by the Clark Art Institute and the Getty Research Institute. Alongside curatorial work at The Met, where she recently participated in the reinstallation of the British Galleries, she teaches at The Cooper Union. She is the editor of a special issue on the decorative arts in British Art Studies (fall 2021), and has two new books, Time, Media and Visuality in Post-Revolutionary France, co-edited with Richard Taws (Bloomsbury), and Luxury after the Terror (Penn State Press) forthcoming. She earned her BA at Williams College and her PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

Headshot of Kerry Sinanan smiling in front of a tree

Kerry Sinanan

Dr. Kerry Sinanan is Assistant Professor in 18th and 19th-century Transatlantic Literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She researches the cultures of the Black Atlantic and slavery in the long 18th century. She has held research fellowships at the Yale Center for British Art; the Beinecke Library, Yale University; and at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota. Her recent work on glass is part of her research on the material cultures of global trade in the era of transatlantic slavery.

Kerry received her Ph.D. from Trinity College, Dublin in 2003. She is now completing her monograph, Myths of Mastery: Traders, Planters and Colonial Agents 1750-1833 for The University of North Carolina Press. This book examines the writings in various genres by slave traders and slave owners from the mid-eighteenth century up to British emancipation (1834). She is Vice President of the Early Caribbean Society.

Annual Seminar on Glass Pre-Recorded Papers

Live panel discussions will be informed by pre-recorded papers.

Annual Seminar on Glass Registration FAQs

Read frequently asked questions about Seminar.

Call For Papers

We invite abstracts for papers on glass in the 18th-century Atlantic World.

About the Exhibition

Glittering costume, elaborately presented confectionery, polished mirrors and dazzling chandeliers helped define the social rituals and cultural values of 18th-century Britain. While innovations in glass delighted the privileged, the material also bore witness to slavery, colonization and political division. 

Through a lens of glass, see what it meant to be ‘modern’ in the 1700s, and what it cost in the exhibition, In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain During the 1700s.


Behind the Glass

Hear artists, curators, writers, and historians talk about glass. 

Artist-in-Residence Lectures

Listen as emerging artists lecture about their residency at The Studio.