This unsigned, engraved pitcher depicts the infamous charge of British light cavalry, known as the “Light Brigade,” which took place at the Battle of Balaclava during The Crimean War. Fought between the Russians and the British on the Crimean peninsula on October 25, 1854, this battle is now known as one of the most ill-fated events in British military history. The image is based an engraving of the battle in John Cassell's Illustrated history of England, published in 1864.
The battle became famous throughout England when the British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809─1892) wrote the poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” in 1854. Although the battle did not end well for the British brigade, Tennyson praised them for their valor despite the futility of the charge. Forty years later, in 1891, the British writer Rudyard Kipling (1865─1936) also wrote about the battle in his poem, "The Last of the Light Brigade,” in an attempt to shed light on the plight of the aging veterans.
Based on the formation of its handle, this pitcher has been dated to after 1870; the cut decoration on the base also supports that date. It is believed to be Bohemian. At the end of the 19th century, there were hundreds of highly skilled Bohemian engravers, and Bohemian glass was actively distributed all over the world. Based on this pitcher’s subject matter, this most likely would have been produced for the British market.