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Reflections on Glass in the 18th-Century British World

May 5 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us for Wilton House Museum’s 2021-2022 virtual lecture series!

The ninth and final lecture in the series features Dr. Christopher Maxwell.

In the 18th century, Britain was a vibrant and commercial nation. Its growing cities were hubs of politics, sociability, scientific advancement, entrepreneurship and commerce.

From glittering costume and elaborately presented confectionery, to polished mirrors and dazzling chandeliers, glass helped define the social and cultural rituals, values and spaces of the period. While innovations in glass delighted the wealthy, the material also bore witness to the ambitions of colonization and the horrors of the African slave trade. Glass beads were traded for human lives and elegant glass dishes, baskets and bowls held sweet delicacies made with sugar produced by enslaved labor. Underpinning Britain’s prosperity were aggressive foreign trade policies, colonization and a far-reaching economy of enslavement, the profits of which funded the pleasures and innovations of the fashionable world.

This talk will consider the many innovations, functions and meanings of glass within the ‘British world’ during the 18th century.

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.

This virtual presentation will take place on Zoom. While we hope you can join us live, a recording of this lecture will be available for viewing for one month after the lecture date.

Tickets for this event are available through Eventbrite.


May 5
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Virtual Presentation


Wilton House Museum