VINTAGE SHERRY GLASS

I never thought that scrolling through Google images to find a match for the Royal Stuart Crystal sherry glass featured below would lead me down a rabbit hole filled with different sizes, shapes and designs. It appears that some provide only a drop of sherry, while others offer more generous portions. Being offered sherry at the opening of a photographic exhibition recently brought to mind the ubiquitous shape of ‘institutional’ sherry glasses we see on such occasions – like the one on the left and second from the right in the photograph below.

The glass in the foreground with the grape pattern on it is from a set of four I purchased soon after we got married – one still offered sherry in a sherry glass in those days! Well, there was a time – and in certain circles such a time remains – when one definitely chose a glass according to the liquid that was to be poured into it. Now my mind wanders to the memory of my maternal grandfather who had a cabinet filled with different shaped glasses. These he chose with particular care according to the cocktails he was mixing – I was far too young to taste them, but loved watching him putting them together.

Wine glasses for white and wine glasses for red – don’t forget the flutes for the bubbly (there’s another adventure waiting in terms of shapes and sizes!) – were more important than they are now. Perhaps we simply don’t have the space anymore in which to keep a glass for every occasion.

Back to the featured sherry glass. I was trying to identify the pattern etched into the glass but couldn’t find a match.

It is a survivor of a set of six which my parents received as a wedding gift in 1942 – I have four of them. What a lot of memories these evoke!

35 thoughts on “VINTAGE SHERRY GLASS

  1. My late husband’s grandfather had a business engraving silver and cutting glass. It was in the days when aristocratic families each had their own design. They would buy plain items and have them engraved or cut with their special pattern and perhaps a monogram. I still have 3 glasses, a pair if toddy glasses and a single small stemmed glasss for sherry if you were a bit generous or wine if you were mean, which I believe he did for himself.

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    • This is very interesting to know. I enjoy the thought of being generous with the sherry or mean with the wine! The size of the glass I have suggests it would have fitted into that category 🙂

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  2. Old days and old ways… remnants of the cocktail generation. I remember cleaning out my in-laws house after they passed and was astounded by their glass for-every-possible-beverage collection. Similarly, their silver collection, cutlery place settings and coffee and tea sets. Too much to maintain! It all went to auction as we really had no call for such genteel living.

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  3. I always thought that having different glasses for different colours of wine was probably not essential to the enjoyment of the contents, but having sherry in a proper sherry glass is very necessary. It wouldn’t taste at all the same out of a tumbler. 🙂

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  4. I must confess to my total ignorance with regard to these matters, but I have a valid excuse – I have always been a teetotaler. I also do not own tea cups. Friends are offered mugs for tea and / or coffee and tall glasses for soft drinks – I only drink water. Such a blissful simple lifestyle suits me fine!

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  5. It’s a lovely glass. I hope you find a match. Have you tried going to auctions? They often have boxes of stuff in which you might find a match. Or even something else that’s quite rare.

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  6. I used to like a glass of sherry, and have several sets of sherry glasses from my Irish ancestors, probably dating from around 1900. One is so small, it’s barely a thimbleful. I remember when I lived in residence in university, the Don of each floor would have annual sherry parties, (I believe there was also tea for the non-drinkers). You were expected to dress up, conservatively, and act lady-like, and she decided who would be allowed back into residence the following year on the basis of your comportment at these afternoon parties. “Comportment” now there’s a word that’s as stuffy as those parties. I never got back in after second year, but didn’t care, as most older students had moved out by then.

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    • Thank you for this interesting response, Joni. I have wondered about those glasses that hold only about a thimbleful of liquid. When I lived in a university residence, we had a formal dinner once a week to which a ‘special’ (to our young eyes, usually a stuffy old professor!) guest was invited. Representatives from the different women’s residences were expected to attend the sherry party beforehand. That is where I first encountered various shapes of sherry glasses and, as students, we quickly judged which held the most.

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      • HA! I never thought of it that way. I think we all needed a shot of courage as those sherry parties were always stressful. The faculty wine and cheese parties in the Great Hall were more fun. We had one formal dinner there in first year. Funny but I never remember seeing the Don at any other time, as her residence was tucked away somewhere on a different floor. She seemed quite elderly to me, but was probably 55 or so.

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