The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Height: 23.700 cm
Purchased with contributions from the
P&E MLA 2002,4-1,1
Drinking glass by Felix Foster
Engraved in London, England,
Signed on the foot 'Felix Foster fecit 1718'
English drinking glasses of the eighteenth century represent one of the high points of glassmaking in the British Isles. However, it is rarely possible to determine exactly where individual glasses were made.
The origin of this particularly fine drinking glass is uncertain, but it probably came from a London glasshouse. At this time glass was often engraved away from its place of manufacture. This example was diamond-engraved with a portrait of Queen Anne (reigned 1702-14) and inscribed with the words 'MEMENTO.ANNA.REGINA' and 'HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE', the motto of the Order of the Garter.
Queen Anne was the last of the Stuart monarchs. There are other diamond-engraved glasses with inscriptions to her memory and all may be political in character. Toasts to the Stuarts, who had been removed from the English throne in the revolution of 1688, were common at the political clubs and societies where their supporters met.
This is the only surviving glass signed by Felix Foster (about 1692-about 1729), who appears in records of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers as a jeweller and engraver. Foster was declared bankrupt in late 1724 and his death was reported in The London Gazette at the end of the same year.
R.J. Charleston, 'Some English glasses with diamond-point decoration: the Calligraphic Master', Burlington Magazine (May 1994)
R. J. Charleston, English glass and the glass us (London, Allen and Unwin, 1984)
A. Hartshorne, Old English Glasses (London, 1897)