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Glass from the Wedding-Service of Prince Wilhelm and Princess Auguste Viktoria
The glass components of the Service were made by the Rheinische Glasshütten-Actien-Gesellschaft Glasshouse at Ehrenfeld in the Rhineland near Cologne. The unfinished forms were cut, engraved, polished and supplied to the Court by the firm of Moritz Wentzel of Breslau between 1881-83. The service was a wedding gift to the Royal couple from the towns and cities of Prussia.
Intended to compliment the silver service, it was stylistically similar only in that it aspired to a quality of lightness, as the earlier designs of the century were now felt to be heavy and overdone. There was a new quality of elegance and lightness of touch. That and the fact that the forms and decoration are quite eclectic make it quite characteristic of late 19th Century design. As with the silver, there were fifty place-settings provided. Each setting included one glass for water and one for beer, sherry and port, two for sparkling wine, red wine, and two roemers for Rhenish wine (hock), some examples of which are offered here.
The design of the forms was a fusion of Venetian and Germanic inspirations, each nation having a long and illustrious history of glassmaking. The Venetian inspiration is to be seen in the general fine quality of the glass and lightness of construction. It is also to be seen in the slender baluster forms of the supports of the stems of some of the vessels, and the open and sometimes ogee bowls of the champagne coupes. Germanic inspiration is to be seen in the forms of some of the vessels which would be found in the production of few other nations, being the roemers and beer-glasses; the open flared feet applied with spiraling trails of glass, and the application of prunts. The delicate and technically highly accomplished cutting and engraving is a particularly German decorative feature. Stylistically the design of the service is truly eclectic, having no common unitary theme, although the scattered interlaced monograms, Prussian eagles and crowns are entwined by delicate neo-rococo scrolls, which could be said to allude to the reign of King Frederick the Great, and the dawn of Prussian supremacy; see Der Letzte Kaiser, Wihelm II Im Exil, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, exhibition catalogue, 1991, p. 174, no. 26.
Vierzehn Ehrenfeld Rheinweinrömer des Hochzeitsservices des Prinzen Wilhelm und der Prinzessin Auguste Viktoria, mit eingraviertem Monogramm