POTENT SYMBOLS OF SCOTLAND’S BLOODY PAST AT BONHAMS EDINBURGH
FASCINATING SET OF JACOBITE GLASSES FOR SALE
A first rate set of 11 engraved Jacobite glasses is one of the main features of Bonhams annual Scottish sale on 21 August. The set is estimated at £6,000-8,000.
The glasses, which were made between 1745-55, are engraved with a six petal rose on a thorny stem, flanked by two buds, one of which is partly open, an oak leaf and a star.
According to Bonhams specialist, Katherine Wright, these engravings are loaded with meaning. “Jacobite glasses were decorated with secret symbols of support for the Stuart Pretenders to the British throne,” she said. “Of course, this support was treasonous so the symbols were devised to hide their real meaning from anyone other than sympathisers.”
A rose in bloom – very common on Jacobite glassware – symbolised James Stuart, “The Old Pretender”, and the two buds represented his sons, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Henry. Oak leaves stood for Charles II who is famously said to have hidden in an oak tree after the Battle of Worcester in 1651 to evade capture by the Roundheads.
Originally part of a set of twelve, these glasses were in the collection of George Lorimer, editor of the famous American magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. He left them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1938 but the museum only wanted one glass. The remaining eleven were then acquired by the well known glass collector Dwight Lanmon. With the glass in the Philadelphia Museum of Art these are likely to be the largest surviving fully matching set of mid 18th century Jacobite drinking glasses.
The Jacobite movement effectively ended at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 although sympathy for the Stuart cause lived on for many years. This was strongest in the Scottish Highlands, but there were also pockets of support in parts of Lancashire, Wales, western England and in London, the home to at least 60% of Jacobite glass engravers including the maker of this set.