Going Dotty

Table setting at Winterthur, January 1955

In preparing for a mini-exhibition on du Pont’s table settings for the upcoming Delaware Antiques Show, I realized that H. F. du Pont patronized one particular glass merchant for an astonishing six decades. A loyal customer, du Pont followed Frederick J. Cuthbertson as he moved from store to store—starting in 1904 when Cuthbertson was a salesman at Gilman & Collamore in New York, to Cuthbertson’s brief ownership of Wylie on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut, and finally to Cuthbertson’s perch as president of the very swish crystal and china store W. H. Plummer Ltd. on Park Avenue.

There was one particular imported English glass, provided by Stuart & Sons Ltd. and custom-engraved with lots of little dots (see photo below) that du Pont ordered in a wide variety of forms from 1904 to 1960. You can see the various types of glass on the table: water goblets, wine glasses, finger bowls, cigarette glasses, and glass ashtrays. He also had decanters and tumblers as well as glasses for iced tea, sherry, whisky, claret, highball, port, Rhine wine, grapefruit, etc. etc. (Apollinaris tumblers might count as the second etc.!)

After World War II, it became increasingly difficult to find engravers who would hand cut tiny dots (or “cut specks”) all over a glass, which Cuthbertson described to du Pont as “very tiresome” (as I can imagine!). Unfortunately, Winterthur no longer has any examples. I have contacted Replacements.com and various family members so far without results. Does anyone have one of these glasses or a similar example?

Maggie Lidz is Winterthur’s estate historian and curator of garden objects. The 49th Annual Delaware Antiques Show will be held November 9–11, 2012. Find out more about it here.

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