CORNING, NY (WETM) – Glistening costumes and sparkling chandeliers are just some of the magnificent artworks found at Corning Museums of Glass’s newest exhibit, In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain During the 1700s.
Glass art twinkles in the gallery light as you walk through the newest exhibit. Pieces from around the world are featured, showing off some of the extravagant items wealthier people at the time owned. Visitors will be able to see a wide range of glass artwork that spans outside of the traditional medium.
“There is a lot of stem wear, a lot of tableware in our collection and you will see some of that in the exhibition, but we have supplemented it with glass in other forms,” said Curator of European Glass, Kit Maxwell. “Embroidered onto costumes or made into a mirror and looking glasses, jewelry, we even have swords, so, a really broad scope of manifestations of glass.”
Each piece is thoughtfully placed to tell a story of wealth and classism. The history presented shows that pieces like these were owned by the few wealthier people of the time and that they gained their fortunes off the backs of others.
“I think a lot of people come into museums and see a stark object and imagine that everybody in the past lived a certain way and owned those kinds of objects, but just like today, there was a very very small elite and those are the people who would have owned the objects that most museums have,” Maxwell said. “That’s no more than five percent of the population really, and so we explore who these people were, and why so suddenly in the 1700s in Britain, they became so rich and why they began to inquire so many different types of glass.”
The exhibit will be open from May 22, 2021, until January 2, 2022, and advance tickets required. Face coverings are required for all visitors, even if vaccinated.