Bristol blue glass

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Bristol Blue glassware. The goblet in the centre is 11 inches (28 cm) high.

Bristol blue glass has been made in Bristol, England, since the 18th century, with a break between the 1920s and 1980s.


During the late 18th century Richard Champion, a Bristol merchant and potter, making porcelain, was working with a chemist, William Cookworthy.[1] Cookworthy began a search for good quality cobalt oxide to give the blue glaze decoration on the white porcelain and obtained exclusive import rights to all the cobalt oxide from the Royal Saxon Cobalt Works in Saxony.[2] It is uncertain when Bristol blue glass was first made but the quality and beauty of the glass swiftly gained popularity, with seventeen glass houses being set up in the city.[3]

Lazurus and Isaac Jacobs were the most famous makers of Bristol blue glass in the 1780s. Their company held a royal warrant and made glass for the aristocrats of Europe.[4] Bristol’s glass makers were invited to demonstrate their skills at the Great Exhibition of 1851, opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. At this period cranberry glass was made for the first time by adding 24 carat gold to lead crystal, giving the glass its ruby red tones.

Production ceased in about 1923.[5] Bristol James Adlington and Peter Sinclair, held their Hot Glass 1988 exhibition, at Hand Made Glass, Bristol.[6] Today, Bristol Blue Glass is produced by The Original Bristol Blue Glass Ltd in Brislington, established in 1988.

In the 1990s, John Harvey & Sons of Bristol began to sell Bristol Cream sherry in bottles made from Bristol blue.


Chemical composition[edit]

The glass contains cobalt oxide, which creates a deep yet bright blue, and 24% lead oxide (PbO).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bristol Blue Glass". Business West. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ Weeden, C. (December 1990). "William Cookworthy and Bristol blue glass". Glass Technology 31: 256–65. 
  3. ^ "History of Bristol Blue Glass". Bristol Blue Glass USA. Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  4. ^ "Heritage". Bristol Blue Glass. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  5. ^ The History of Bristol Blue Glass. Accessed 23 May 2011
  6. ^ Template:Cite web This exhibition led to a revival of Bristol's hand blown glass industry and the creation of a Company that has spawned the careers of many other studio Glassmakers in the South west.
  7. ^ Banks, M; N. Elphinstone; E.T. Hall (1963). "Bristol Blue Glass". Archaeometry 6 (1): 26–30. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.1963.tb00575.x. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 

External links[edit]