Date & Origin
Continetal, c1890. Period of Victoria.
Excellent, age-related wear as shown. A few seeds and air bubbles in the glass as expected from a 19th century piece. Good wear to the base.
Height: 24.5cm Diameter: 11cm.
A 19th century port decanter in deep green with its original stopper and white enamelled decoration very much in the Mary Gregory style. Snapped pontil.
Mary Gregory glass can be divided into old Mary Gregory (made between 1879 to 1939) which was mostly mouth blown and appears to have come primarily from central Europe; and new Mary Gregory glass made after the second world war all over the world, and still made today.
The distinguishing feature of Mary Gregory glass is the stylised white enamel painting usually of a child in an outdoor setting, playing with such things as butterfly nets, bubbles, fishing rods, or hoops. The trees and foliage often have a typical "feathered" style, the figure is oddly old-fashioned in its proportions, and the enamel is fired onto the glass.
This kind of decoration developed from the "painted cameo" glass produced in Europe after about 1870 which itself was developed to compete with the very popular carved cameo from England. Some very beautiful classical scenes in white enamel on Victorian glass are sometimes called "Mary Gregory" glass as the alternative "painted cameo" is not a popular name.
Old Mary Gregory glass is often in the characteristic Victorian colours of cranberry, green and blue. The quality of the painting is often higher than modern versions, with "double fired" highlights on key features and around the edges of the clothing. The quality of the glass may be thinner and poorer than some of today's Mary Gregory glass, and it is almost always mouth blown. There is rarely any colour other than white in the painting, although some post-war Mary Gregory pieces have crude dark lines to emphasise mouth, nose and eyes, and dark hair. There are even Mary Gregory pieces with flesh-coloured faces.