This beautifully-proportioned English wineglass with double-twist stem, dated to about 1765, is appealingly decorated with an opaque white enameled chinoiserie scene attributed to William Beilby, Jr. (1740─1819), and his sister Mary (1749─1797). The enameled scene depicts an interpretation of a Chinese temple, surrounded by poplar trees, housing a figure on a pedestal holding a staff.
The Beilby family worked in Newcastle upon Tyne from the end of the 1750s to the end of the 1770s. William Beilby, Sr. (1706─1765) worked as a silversmith and jeweler. His wife, Mary (1712─1778), was a teacher and the Beilby children, William, Jr., Ralph (1743─1817), Thomas (1747─1826), and Mary, worked in various trades, including painting on glass.
The Beilbys used opaque white or polychrome enamel to decorate glassware with Rococo motifs, including heraldic coats of arms, flora and fauna, architectural ruins, pastoral motifs, and in this case, chinoiserie scenes. Chinoiserie refers to the 17th-and 18th-century interpretations of Oriental themes and subjects on European and American decorative arts. Chinoiserie images were easily accessible to artisans of the 18th century through published pattern books. Rococo designs, also found in pattern books, originated in France in about 1715 and became popular in England in the mid-18th century. The Beilbys’ enameled decoration reflects the typical Rococo elements of asymmetry, nature, and movement.