The Cross House

Do You Know Anything About Victorian Glassware?

See the mantel?


It was clearly designed to hold objects. So, it just occurred to me that I should actually GET objects to place on it.


It seems like a pair of tall vases could sit right/left on the mantel itself. Then two more glass whatevers on the upper shelves (soooooo cute!). Then note under the mantel; there is an inset shelf. So more glass whatevers could sit there; short whatevers.

But I know nothing about Victorian-era glass. Zip.

So, what should I start looking for?

I do know I would like a lot of color. Like a red vase, a blue one, green, purple, and so on. Just a miniature riot of colors resting on the wood mantel.

While I am not one for clutter I feel bad for the mantel. It is like I have been remiss in giving it the opportunity to do what it was designed to do.



37 Responses to Do You Know Anything About Victorian Glassware?

  1. I don’t know anything about Victorian glassware. But I love your idea of placing colored vases in front of the large mirror.

    Also: Those two upper shelves seem perfect for candles because the small mirrors could reflect the light around the room in intricate patterns. I know you’re planning to use votive candles in the resurrected sconces. But light in front of mirrors always seems twice as alive as shaded light.

  2. I know nothing about Victorian glassware either, but names like Tiffany or Loetz or Galle all come to mind. But I’m sure one of your many followers will be able to come up with some great ideas. But I would also like to suggest some fantastic mantle clock for the middle of the shelf. Something in porcelain or brass that is big and French and tinkles when it chimes! Also, a monster Grandfather clock for the hall……hehehe….can you tell I love clocks?

    • A clock!

      What a great idea!

      I immediately contacted JC, who has his own blog and also LOVES (and restores) clocks.

      Oh, and Tiffany or Loetz or Galle? Yikes! Waaaaay more than I could ever afford!

      • The three styles that come to mind (as far as most pretty and historically correct) are: Black mantle clock (“temple style”), a French clock (usually stone and extremely heavy), or a gingerbread clock.

  3. I have some etched Bohemian glass in front of the mirrors on a Victorian shelf. It is nice because the glass is different on both sides, and so with the mirror you can see both sides without having to pick it up and turn it around. I will try to get a photo sent to you tomorrow. Also remember that the Victorians were the first generation to really be able to travel the world, so they would display a lot of exotic things from Egypt, China, etc. So whatever you get doesn’t necessarily have to be from the US or Europe. My house is full of antiques from China, Egypt, Russia, etc. that I inherited from my grandparents and great grandparents.

  4. Don’t just limit yourself to glassware! A (tasteful) variety of chotchkies would look great on all of your fabulous mantels! Yes, Brendan is right; a clock is a must. Vases alone won’t fill the space and look good. I would also look into fugural glass or metal candlesticks, miniature easel style picture frames, exotic shells, small (teacup size) house plants, etc. Have fun with it! You’re right to be concerned about not cluttering up your surfaces, because it’s pretty easy to do, just don’t go overboard 🙂

  5. Don’t know much about victorian glassware but I definitely think the centre is aching for a mantle clock. And I DO know how to identify 1890s mantle clocks

  6. Probably the best thing is to save glassware for the upper shelvy things, and to have a lovely mantle clock flanked by candelabrum (or a pair of single candlesticks). And maybe a mantle scarf would look nice too. Ill send some links ur way of appropriate things as soon as I have access to a proper computer

  7. Majolica pottery is of the period. However, since you are not strictly decorating in the period, consider Roseville pottery. I love the colors, and I know they have quite a bit that would fit in with your decor. And, anything Art-Nouveau would look smashing with period decor, and even with your more modern tastes.

  8. so, the most easily available option is probably a temple style clock. they were usually black marble, often with faux painted columns. I often see them on ebay for as little as $75

    here are a couple nice ones:

    these would be very acceptable, but a lighter, lacier baroque style clock would probably be preferable as the temple style ones were a bit old fashioned by the 1890s.

    here are some of them:
    asymmetrical – very playful

    or this guy:

    or a skeleton clock:

    but beware of these clocks, though perfect for a kitchen, they were considered very lower class:

    perhaps framed by these guys:

    and a mantle scarf like this was a must:

    • Wow. Thanks, Nathan!

      I love love love the skeleton clock!

      And I agree, a baroque style clock would also look well in the parlor!

      There is a antique clock store about an hour from me; I think I need to visit!

    • I have to check this place out (Victorian Fireplace Shop). I’ve lived here 17 years and never heard of it.
      Cindi M

  9. It looks as if there are resources for your research. I’m offering a purchasing venue! For whatever reason, Goodwill often has amazing finds for incredibly cheap prices, and if you know what to look for, a bid is usually a steal. This site… …is a great place to hunt. The listings change daily, so there’s always something to see that you might find interesting. I know, I know…one does not think of “auction” and “Goodwill” in the same sentence, but I’ve found 100 year old dolls there for under 20 dollars. It’s a wonderful place to find just what you’re looking for…like this search.

  10. I love what you have done in this room. I have similar colors in my home. But, as in the rest of the room, please don’t restrict yourself to Victorian-era pieces for the mantel. This is yet another opportunity to inject your tastes and style. That said, I like colored glass too! Maybe pick up the colors in the stained glass. 🙂

  11. Ross, another thought….how about some wild Murano glass? There is all that wild stuff from the 50s that always seems to abound in second hand shops. Also, when I was last in Venice (which was wayyy too long ago) they were selling some amazing hand blown goblets of Renaissance design (think of the glass Rossano Brazzi sold to Katherine Hepburn in “Summertime”.) Murano colors are always amazing and would, I think, compliment your stained glass beautifully.

  12. Some Chinoiserie pieces would not look out of place. And you might find some pieces with colors to complement your decorative scheme.

  13. The small shelves on each side more then likely were meant to hold “lusters”. Google the term and be stunned by the images 🙂

    Also remember Brilliant Cut Glass was very very very popular in Victorian era homes because of the way it bounced/reflected the light around.

  14. I imagine the two small upper shelves, left & right, held lovely oil lamps to help light the area. These can easily be found in antique stores and on eBay.

  15. Have you considered contemporary glass pieces for the mantle? When a little space needs
    “something” useing it as an opportunity to support a local artist or craftsman is also a wonderful option and works surprisingly well.

  16. I’d keep with the victorian idea of displaying glass, but do a more modern take on it. How about those funky, 60s/70s retro-mod blown glass vases (and perhaps other objets d’art) to play off the tulip table? Along the lines of
    Antique stores are crawling with this stuff.

    • …also, whether or not you are a smoker (I hope not), you need a killer ashtray on that tulip table. Put some butterscotch candy or an air-plant in there if you have to 🙂
      [I hope this sub-comment does not completely discredit my first]

  17. Bohemian glass would give you all the color you would ever want. I think. All the color MOST people would want.

  18. I love the idea of patronizing local artists for the pieces that will go there Maybe they won’t reflect the period, but they will reflect the PLACE. And support local artists, always a good thing. Many offer things for quite affordable prices.

  19. Every time I see this mantle it reminds me of 3D Chess in Star Trek … so when you were pondering the shelf, I thought of Chess Pieces – glass, marbled, carved == mix & match?

  20. I think Fostoria glassware would be fitting. They started production in late 1887 and ended in 1986. They have some very beautiful pieces from the 20’s, 30’s and 50’s. The Heirloom pattern would look great. Some of thier items are etched too. I have seen some pieces at St Vincent de Paul stores and other resale shops.
    I can see the sparkle of glass ware lit by wall sconces on each side of the mantle.

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