Wine bottle

About 1670 (made)

Height: 25.4 cm, Width: 14.5 cm


Object Type Although thinly-blown glass bottles had been used since Roman times for storing precious liquids, it was not until the invention of the English 'black' bottle that the material could also claim strength as a characteristic. The bubble of glass with long neck was also the quickest and cheapest container that could be made by a glass-blower. Time The invention of the dark-green 'black' bottle coincided with the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and a period of great prosperity and social climbing. An obvious way to impress guests at the dining table was to serve wine from bottles bearing one's name, coat of arms or crest. These applied stamped seals or medallions were clearly inspired by those on imported German stoneware bottles, which the new wine bottles were largely replacing. Design & Designing The form of the 'shaft and globe' wine bottle was dictated largely by its function: the heavy base, with pushed-in recessed 'kick', made the object stable and was almost indestructable, while the vulnerable neck was reinforced by a 'string rim' of applied glass that enabled the cork to be secured with thread or wire. So ideal was this vessel for its purpose that echoes of its main characteristics may be seen in any modern wine bottle, although after the mid-18th century the cylindrical bottle, designed to be stored flat, became the standard form.

Made in England

Lent by the Museum of London

Location: British Galleries, room 56d, case 13

View this object on the V&A website