Scottish Maritime Museum hosts Glass Ships in Bottles exhibition

A collection of 150 vintage glass ships in bottles and new glass artworks will go on show at the Scottish Maritime Museum on Irvine Harbourside, Ayrshire this September.

The Glass Ships in Bottles exhibition has been curated by Dr Ayako Tani, a glass artist and researcher specialising in the industrial and cultural history of glassmaking at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

“Carving wooden ships for glass bottles can be traced back to the mid 19th century but the scientific glass blowers working at the end of the 20th century took it to a new level with these beautifully crafted glass vessels,” says Nicola Scott, exhibition and events officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

The makers of glass ships in bottles were based in Lymington, Sudbury, Birmingham, Dudley, Lichfield and Sunderland. Production was particularly big in Sunderland, a shipbuilding city with a glass-making tradition dating back to Anglo-Saxon monks making stained-glass windows.

Working painstakingly on the detailed designs the glassblowers blew each segment of the ship separately. Then, fusing the hull to a glass plinth, they built the vessel up piece by piece before finally blowing the surrounding bottle.

Image Courtesy of Jo Howell


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