Experience the exhibition interactives from In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain During the 1700s.
The Rudiments of Genteel Behaviour by François Nivelon
This book was just one of many published during the 1700s that taught readers the precise details of polished manners. The modern individual learned how to sit, stand, walk, and more.
The terms polite and polished were used interchangeably. “Smooth” manners that concealed roughness and individuality with well-practiced movements, gestures, and conversation were often compared to the polished surface of glass. The glassy surface became a metaphor for polite behavior.
Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/rudimentsofgente00nive/mode/2up. Digital version courtesy of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Learn about the dessert tableware on display in the exhibition by downloading the In Sparkling Company Glass Tableware PDF.
Both celebrated and notorious, London’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (pictured above) were a carnival-like dreamworld filled with pavilions, performances, pyrotechnics, music, and intrigue. A hot spot for Londoners and tourists alike, and patronized by all levels of society, Vauxhall was a place where visitors ate, drank, reveled, and romanced late into the night.
John S. Muller (German, c. 1715-1792), after Canaletto (Italian, 1697-1768), A View of the Temple of Comus &c at Vauxhall Gardens, 1751. Hand colored engraving. Private collection. Photo: Courtesy of David Coke.
Sparkling Dessert Table
Much of this museum’s collection of British glass from the 1700s is tableware associated with dessert. The British had a fondness for sugar—in tea, liquor, and confectionary (cakes, cookies, candies, custards). New types of tableware were designed for these popular beverages and desserts. Cut glass revealed its colorful contents and sparkled in candlelight. The sugar used to make these sweet delicacies was produced by enslaved laborers on plantations in Britain’s Caribbean colonies. On Jamaica, the most productive sugar island, the enslaved population outnumbered that of the colonists ten to one.