The profile portrait on this glass depicts Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, wife of Frederick William I and Queen in Prussia from 1713 to 1740. Sophia Dorothea (1687-1757), the daughter of George I and sister of King George II of Great Britain, married Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1706; when her husband ascended the throne in 1713 she became Queen consort in Prussia, giving birth to Frederick the Great in 1712. This glass was, by repute, given by Empress Elizabeth of Russia to Count Frederick Albert von Schwerin (1717-1789) as a gift in recognition of his diplomatic efforts. The goblet was reputedly delivered filled with diamonds, and these diamonds were subsequently set in jewellery commissioned by the family.
The court glass house at Potsdam was founded in 1674 and was active until 1734. In 1736 it was moved to nearby Zechlin where it remained under state control until 1890, producing fine glass for the royal household's table, characterised by fine cutting, engraving and high-quality gilding. Pokals (presentation goblets) were especially prized by members of the Prussian court, and were bestowed as royal or diplomatic gifts, and collected by the wealthy at home and abroad. It is highly probable that the present glass had been a diplomatic gift to the Empress of Russia, and that the Empress decided it would be an appropriate gift, with the addition of diamonds, to Count Schwerin.
A goblet and cover of closely related form is illustrated by Michael Kovacek et al., Glass of 5 Centuries, Exhibition catalogue, Vienna, 1990, p. 79, no. 50, and is now in the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, museum no. 2004.44. Another, engraved and gilt with a portrait of Sophia Dorothea, is illustrated by Rudolf von Strasser and Walter Spiegl, Dekoriertes Glas, Munich, 1989, p. 280, no. 145, along with a companion glass engraved with Frederick William I, p. 280, no. 146. The latter was in the Dettmers Collection and sold at Sotheby's in London on 23 November 1999, lot 77; another example engraved with Queen Sophia Dorothea was sold in the same sale, lot 55.