The Glittering Eighteenth Century
Early this month I blogged about the glittering, garish fashions of men in the Georgian era.
In the dazzling world of the upper classes, fashion in dress reflected fashion in home decoration. The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, has an exhibit running on this topic: In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain During the 1700s.
The exhibit features these ballroom mirrored panels designed by Robert Adam for the Duke of Northumberland’s London home. (The panels are on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.)
Also featured are tableware, like this gorgeous leaded glass goblet, as well as dressing room accessories and clothing.
A more sobering part of the exhibit covers the source of much of the wealth of the era: slavery. Then, as now, a pause is in order. How was the wealth built to buy that glitter? Or, in our modern era, who labored over that electronic device or snazzy athletic shoe?
On display are “Artefacts of slavery, including glass trade beads, an iron manilla, a goblet commemorating the “African Trade” of the British town of Whitehaven, the log book of a slave ship, and the deed of sale for a 16 year old enslaved girl.”
I won’t be visiting Corning, New York, so it would be wonderful if this exhibit traveled to one of our local museums!
If you’re celebrating the Fourth of July, have a safe and sane holiday!