Identifying Pall Mall Glass

Identifying Pall Mall Glass is fundamentally a simple matter in that it is normally a term applied to a particular pattern of glass, called the Lady Hamilton pattern. Learn the pattern and you should be able to recognise Pall Mall Glass. There are, however, major distinctions that you need to make between the different forms of Pall Mall glass, as later reproductions were made.

The standard pattern consists of a scrollwork border beneath which appears latticework. The image to the right shows the scrollwork border. It consists of a band of interlocking circles beneath which are two lines. Underneath this appears an elaborate representation of hanging flowers. This scrollwork border is always etched.

Underneath the scrollwork at the bottom of the piece of glass, covering the glass from the base of the bowl to approximately 40% (two fifths) of the way up the bowl is a latticework. This can be seen in the picture below left.  In the original, Edwardian, Pall Mall glasses this latticework was cut as in the picture i.e. you had etched scrollwork above cut glass latticework.

In the slightly later reproductions a cheaper option was used and the latticework was also etched into the glass. It is a relatively simple thing to determine if the latticework is deeply cut or shallowly etched and the surface appearance is also very different. In the images below the glass on the left has cut latticework and the glass on the right has etched latticework.

In both cases the Pall Mall glasses are made from a very lightweight metal and are thin walled.  There are a large number of forms, including a whole range of drinking glasses, jugs, decanters, dishes etc. Hugo Wildblood quotes some 37 different designs in his own collection and we have no reason to believe that this is the extent of the range.  The different manufacturers appeared to work to the same designs but there are differences in shape and size between them, so that collecting a set of any one piece of glass can take a while.

Variations on the pattern also exist.  The glass below right has the same etched scrollwork border as those of the Lady Hamilton pattern, but this shows vertical, etched lines rather than a latticework to the lower half.   This particular pattern is known as the Park Lane pattern and we owe that attribution to Michael Welch to whom we are grateful.  There are also variants using a Greek Key style scrollwork border. 

We believe that the original etched latticework designs were commissioned by and sold by the UK retail store, Woolworths, in the 1930s through to the 1960s.  The volume required by such a store chain would explain the necessity for multiple sources.

The upside of the volume production is that you can collect Pall Mall glass for less than you would pay for quality modern glass with the knowledge that your investment is likely to appreciate over time.

At a considerably later date, approximately 1980, a Bohemian company (Bohemia is now part of the Czech Republic) produced a range of stemmed glasses that used this same Lady Hamilton pattern.  Indeed it was sold as the Lady Hamilton range.   The range consisted of a number of balustroid liqueur, sherry, champagne and wine glasses, as well as a decanter, jug and two forms of tumbler.  This later range also shows etched latticework to the bottom of the glasses, but the shapes of the vessels are distinctly different from the early 20th century variants. 

A picture of the box lid from a set of eight later champagne glasses is shown below left, and the bar code for the box to the right.  As UPC-A bar codes of this form did not come into use until 1974 we know that the glasses are from the late 20th century.   

 

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