This distinctly shaped glass vessel, with its thin tapering neck and large rim, was specially designed for growing flowering plants in their off-season, a process known as ‘forcing bulbs’. It is often called a hyacinth vase, after the fragrant flower commonly forced indoors. One would fill the vase with enough water that the bulb could stay moist without becoming totally immersed. As the flower grew, the bottom of the vase would fill with long, white roots.
Glass jars were preferred over clay pots, for they allowed one to observe the progress of the roots and monitor water levels. In 1734, the Dutch florist Nicolas Kampen advised displaying the flowers “in a pyramidal form upon semicircular shelves, rising one above the other, and gradually diminishing“. This arrangement recalls the delft flower pyramids that were popular for the display of tulips.
This simple vase is made of clear, uncut glass and is considered to be Anglo-Irish. Undecorated British glass was common until the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Ireland’s glass production closely followed English fashions and did not develop a distinctly national style until the late eighteenth century.
This object was
Walter Phelps Warren.
It is credited
Bequest of Walter Phelps Warren.
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Its dimensions are
H x W: 17.2 x 8.6 cm (6 3/4 x 3 3/8 in.)
Cite this object as
Vase; blown and cut glass; H x W: 17.2 x 8.6 cm (6 3/4 x 3 3/8 in.); Bequest of Walter Phelps Warren; 1986-61-236