Serving Bottle

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access. A new version will be available later in 2023. During this transition period, the current version of the Collections Browser may have reduced functionality and data may be not be updated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For any questions or concerns, please contact us.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
Serving Bottle
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 14 cm, W: 14.8 cm, Diam (max): 14 cm
On Display
about 1690
Web Description: 
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, English wine bottles were made in full and half sizes, and with and without seals. This example represents the half-size capacity (approximately half a liter). Wine bottles made in the shape of an onion (1670– 1730) preceded the taller cylindrical bottles that are still in use today. These utilitarian objects survive in large numbers, but this bottle is unusual in that it has a handle with a thumbpiece. The application of a handle to an ordinary bottle marked the start of the development of the decanter bottle, which replaced the serving bottle about 1730. Serving bottles were used in taverns and to serve guests at the dinner table in upper-class English homes. Empty bottles were taken to wine merchants or breweries, where they were refilled directly from the barrel. The fact that some half-size bottles bear seals, which typically displayed the initials of the bottles’ owners, suggests that smaller bottles were also used for refills, and not just as serving bottles at the table. Similar bottles are described and illustrated in Andy McCon¬nell, The Decanter: An Illustrated History of Glass from 1650, Woodbridge, U.K.: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2004, pp. 37, 40, 43, and 65, and figs. 39, 40, 44, 45, 52, 54, and 85; and Willy van den Bossche, Antique Glass Bottles: Their History and Evolution (1500–1850), Woodbridge, U.K.: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1988, pp. 71–75, 90, and 91, and figs. 9–17, 38, and 39.
Bonhams, Source
Primary Description: 
Dark translucent olive green glass; blown, tooled, applied. Onion shaped serving bottle with applied handle and thumbpiece.
Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine
Corning Museum of Glass 2021-07-03 through 2022-12-31
Explore the many ways glass touches wine as it travels from the grape to your goblet in Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine. The entwined histories of glass and wine extend back thousands of years, from lavish feasts of ancient Rome, to the polite society of Britain in the 1700s, to formal dinner parties of post-war America, to an essential experience within our contemporary food culture. The strength, impermeability, and versatility of glass has played an important role in every step of wine’s journey, from the production, distribution, sale, and ultimately the enjoyment of this intoxicating beverage. During your visit, you’ll see a rare 2,000-year-old fragment of cameo glass depicting a grape harvest, a still-sealed bottle of wine found in a shipwreck off the coast of England, and an exceptional 400-year-old document describing an “almost unbreakable glass jar” that could prevent wine from spoiling. A focal point of the exhibition will be a dense display of dozens of wine glasses from around the world, representing many styles and tastes, fit for a variety of occasions. You will be able to envision the stories behind the glasses—and imagine yourself partaking from this delicate stemware that’s been part of countless life moments. In the exhibition, you'll also explore how the story of glass and wine has particular relevance in the Finger Lakes of New York State, which has been a nexus for both the glass and wine industries for more than 150 years. Independent, entrepreneurial winemakers and glass artists have found a mutual home in this region, building on historical tradition with new creative energy that makes Corning and the Finger Lakes an international hub for the entwined industries of fire and vine.
The Decanter: Ancient to Modern (2018) illustrated, p. 47 (fig. 2);
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2011 (2012) p. 7;
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2011 (2012) illustrated, p. 10; BIB# AI87745