Bristol Glass

By mwilcox


This vase is an example of "Bristol glass." The term "Bristol glass" traces its roots back to Bristol, England, an important glass making center in the 17th and 18th centuries. The vast majority of this opaque hand painted glassware was made in Europe during the late 19th to early 20th century. Glassware of this type was very popular during the late 19th century, so great was the demand in North America that large quantities of the mold-blown, semi-opaque glass were manufactured throughout Europe and exported to our shores.

One of the most prolific manufacturing centers was Bohemia, then an independent nation and now part of the Czech Republic. Bohemian glass makers were known not only for the quality and affordability of their products but for being in tune with what different markets around the world were interested in. Because Bristol glass was produced in large amounts, it has not gained a significant following among serious glass collectors. Prices at auction range from $45 to $60 for small, simply painted examples to $300 and up for taller, more elaborate pieces. Flowers and foliage are the most common decorations, birds and insects are harder to find.