Recent Acquisition: Scott’s splendid glass working exhibition in miniature

A recent addition to the Rakow Library collection, this handbill is an advertisement for a glass demonstration in Brighton, England, circa 1830. The page features a woodcut image of a glass artist surrounded by onlookers, as well as several pieces of glass and a spinning wheel used to spin glass. We know little about the glass worker Scott – only that he was patronized by H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria (crowned Queen Victoria in 1837).

Scott’s splendid glass working exhibition in miniature [handbill], CMGL 138463

Scott’s splendid glass working exhibition in miniature [handbill],
CMGL 138463

The handbill proclaims the show is “by far the most instructive, entertaining, and cheap exhibition.” Admission was one shilling for adults (the equivalent of several British pounds today) and sixpence for children and servants. This price would gain you entry to witness Scott’s splendid skills and “a Specimen . . . in any Article they may select or desire to have made.” Also to be seen was a glass ship, a coach with six horses, a glass skeleton, glass spinning, and many other wonders “patronized . . . by every Family of distinction in England.” Featured for sale are a variety of glass goods, including vases, chandeliers, hydrostatic balloons, and fancy figures.

This handbill enhances our collection of ephemeral materials related to travelling glassblowers and glass working troupes. These men and women, also called itinerant glassblowers or fancy glass artists, would travel with carnivals, circuses, and tourist attractions, showing off their glassblowing and flameworking skills by creating intricate glass creations. Broadsides and advertisement cards would proclaim the talent of a certain glass worker or group of artists and reel in audience members with promises of fantastical glass creations such as fully-functional glass steam engines, glass ships, glass clothing, and variety of other objects.

Read the full record for this handbill.


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