The Elegance Of Chantilly

By Diane Gary
Issue No. 426 - March 2009

The Chantilly glassware pattern has been a passion of mine for a long time. My mother selected Chantilly as her wedding crystal when she was married in 1940, so I guess that this passion is an inherited trait. She loved it, used it, and talked about it, so I grew Platter up knowing all about Chantilly. The console bowl and the 2-lite Martha candlesticks were always on our dining room table, and these continue to be two of my favorite pieces.

Chantilly is a very delicate, elegant, unique, and romantic etching, being full of curves and beautiful flowers. The etching was designed as a companion to the very popular sterling flatware pattern called Chantilly that was produced by Gorham Sterling.

The etching consists of large double scrolls running parallel to the rim of the goblet or plate while framing an arrangement of pretty flowers. One variation of the etching is found on the 1495 Round handled plate displaying multiple scrolls radiating from the center of the plate to form a repeated heart design. This is also an etching that poses several questions that I will address throughout the article, not always providing the answers.

The first reference to the Chantilly etching was 1936. A Chantilly etching plate for the 3080 stemware line has been Lady Leg found dated 1936. Also, the 3138 "lady leg" stem (shown at right) first appeared about this same time, also engraved with Chantilly. Neither of these lines ever appeared in any Cambridge catalog and their existence was very short lived. Both of these stem lines are very elusive. Thus, putting together a complete collection of stemware from either of these two lines would prove very difficult. Over the years, I have managed to obtain a goblet from each of these lines.

3600 and 3625 Arthur Bennett applied for a patent in 1938, but the patent was for the 3600 stem only, not the etching design. The first publication that included information about the new Chantilly etching was the Crockery & Glass Journal in February of 1939. The Chantilly etching first appeared in the 1940 catalog on the 3600 and the 3625 stem lines. This raises the first two questions. Why did Cambridge create two nearly identical stems for the same etching, and why is Chantilly the only etching to appear on these stems? The 3600 and the 3625 lines consist of the same stem with bowls that are nearly identical in shape (photo at left). The only difference is the bowl of the 3625 stem is more slender than 3600. This is the only situation within Cambridge where this occurs.

Hollow Stem Champagne The other stem lines on which Chantilly appears are the 3775 line, introduced in 1942, and the 3779 line introduced in late 1949. All four lines contain all of the various stemmed pieces and putting together a complete set would be relatively easy. In addition to these complete lines there are other stemware lines in which a very limited number of items have been found with the Chantilly etching. These include the 7801 cocktail, footed ice tea, and footed tumbler; the 7966 tulip shaped sherry, and the 3109 hollow stem champagne (pictured at right).

Cambridge made many very beautiful stems but, in my opinion, the stems on which Chantilly etching is found are some of the least attractive. I adore the Regency stem. I find this stem to be the most delicate and beautiful stem that Cambridge produced. In my ideal world I would be able to find Chantilly etched onto this stem. This brings me to my third question. Why are Portia and Diane the only two etchings found on the Regency stemware line?

I have recently expanded my Cambridge collection to include the 3011 Statuesque stems. Again, the question why are Gloria, Apple Blossom, Diane, Vichy and Rose Point the only etchings to appear on this line? Why does the Chantilly etching not adorn the nude stems?

The Chantilly etching can be found on two dinnerware lines. The Martha line was produced from 1938 to the mid forties. The Corinth line replaced it and was produced Chantilly from 1949 until the factory ceased production in 1954. The dinnerware consisted of the dinner plate, dessert plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, and the cup and saucer. As a collector trying to find Martha dinner plates with little success, it is important to remember the trends of the forties. Luncheon plates were frequently selected by brides to use at various social functions. As a result, the dinner plates are difficult to find while there seems to be an endless supply of the luncheon plates. At the evening meal luncheon plates became the dessert plates, accompanying a china pattern making for a very elegant and formal dining room setting.

Chantilly was also etched on two other lines produced by Cambridge; Gadroon and Pristine. But the items in these lines consist of candy boxes, vases, candlesticks, hurricanes, decanter sets, and water jugs. There are no dinnerware or stemware items produced in either of these lines. Cambridge is famous for its beautiful colored glass. Unfortunately, the only known color possessing the Chantilly etching is ebony with the etching being gold encrusted. This raises my fourth question. Why was the Chantilly etching limited to only crystal and ebony while the other popular Cambridge etchings appear on a variety of different colors?

The Cambridge Glass Company and Farber Brothers had a close working relationship. Farber Brothers would purchase items from the Cambridge Glass Company, and insert them into their various chrome holders. The majority of these items were made of colored glass. Although the Chantilly etching is the most widely available etching to appear on Farber, the etching is only found on crystal items. Mark Nye has included a complete listing of the Farber Brothers items with the Cambridge inserts in the front of the "Chantilly" etching book. This is a wonderful reference.

Likewise, the Wallace Sterling Company purchased glassware from the Cambridge Glass Company. They, too, would purchase inserts from Cambridge to insert into pieces such as comports and drinking vessels, and adorn other Cambridge items with feet, finials, and bands. There are probably more pieces of Chantilly embellished with sterling accents than any other pattern in the Cambridge line. This makes an ideal area for collecting. I know at least one person that collects Chantilly only with sterling silver adornment.

For the beginning collector, Chantilly is relatively easy to find, a wonderful accompaniment to the Chantilly flatware, and considerably less expensive than Rose Point. For these reasons, there are an increasing number of new Chantilly collectors building very nice collections, and long time collectors looking for that ever elusive and rare piece.

I treasure my collection, and am so glad that my mother selected the Cambridge crystal embellished with Chantilly.


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