Stourbridge Glass was founded between 1550 and 1600 when rich glassmaking resources of fireclay and and sandstone attracted French Lorraine glassmakers into the area. Bottle and window glass were developed and became essential commodities at that time.
Later in the 1670's, George Ravenscroft perfected lead glass. Using this, Stourbridge factories moved into production of the now famous lead crystal glassware supplied in all the fashionable styles of the time. This quickly became a symbol of both wealth and practicality and was used on special occasions and particularly in the houses of the upper classes and nobility.
At the end of the 18th century, John Hill moved from Wordsley, near Stourbridge to Ireland where he established the world-renowned Waterford glassworks. Notably too is that in 1788 Dial Glass Works was constructed and is still in use today by Tudor Crystal Design, featured in this collection.
The 19th century is known as the 'Golden Age of Stourbridge Glass ' as within one hundred years the local glassmakers created an amazing myriad of shapes, colours and decorative techniques that far outstripped any other country for their technical brilliance and aesthetic beauty. Some of the pioneers of Cameo glass carving perfected their skills in Stourbridge.