One of a pair (its mate is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art), this decanter features elaborate cut decoration. It is distinguished by a sulphide portrait of Benjamin Franklin on the front. A difficult technique developed in Europe, a high-fired ceramic material is embedded into a bubble of glass, which is then deflated so the image is surrounded by glass. Highly fashionable in France, sulphide portrait decoration was first produced in America by the Pittsburgh firm Bakewell, Page, and Bakewell in 1825 in an effort to compete with European glass manufacturers. The Museum has two glass tumblers with sulphide portraits embedded in their bases, one depicting George Washington (1984.152), the other Lafayette (1947.44).
Marking: [inscribed on sulphide portrait, under shoulder] C. Gobrecht