A new exhibit of the month is on view at the entrance to the UPM’s Permanent Collection:

The exhibited children’s toys – four miniature drinking sets from the Museum collection of historical glass – represent a type of glass artefact that is rare and so rarely surviving because such sets were produced only sporadically, in most cases as a special order from wealthy families who wanted them as presents for their children.

The oldest service presented here is a six-person children’s liqueur set made of ruby glass and decorated by a brilliant cutting and delicate facetting that corresponds precisely to the period when it was made – high Biedermeier (c. 1835). It is possible that the set was made in the glassworks of the Counts of Harrach in Nový Svět in the Krkonoše Mountains, for similar types of object are recorded in the invoice books of this glassworks. The miniature tea set made of milk glass adorned with delicate painting of flowers was made a little later, around the mid—19th century in the period of the artistic style known as the Second Rococo. The elegant set for “liqueur” made of clear, precisely cut glass and refined mounting with Czech garnets is a brilliant example of the historicising style of the end of the 19th century. The “beer” set of six half-litre glasses, a jug and small tray was made some time around 1915, as is indicated by the geometrical decor painted in enamel, which in terms of style is on the boundary between late Art Nouveau and Art Deco. All these exhibits are in fact precise scaled down versions of articles for adults, and this reflects children’s fondness for playing at being “grownups” – which anyone who knows children realises does not depend on the century.
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Children’s tea set (two cups, teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl)
Bohemia, c. 1850
Painted milk glass
Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
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