The Penrose Decanter
On display in the Bishop’s Palace is the oldest piece of surviving Waterford Crystal in the world. Dating to 1789, the Penrose decanter has the wide pouring lip common to most Penrose decanters and a three-ring neck. The words ‘Penrose Waterford’ are moulded on the base. It has a generous swelling body and high comb flutes and there is prismatic cutting on the shoulder. It is cut with pendant semi-circle arch motif filled with fine diamond and has trefoil splits between the arches.
On display nearby is a fantasy shell grotto in a mahogany cabinet, by the daughter of William and Rachel Penrose, using shells collected in Tramore and along the estuary of the river Suir.
The petals of the flowers are made from shells, hand-tinted with watercolour. The bevelled mirrors and the glass menagerie - swans, dogs, deer and a peacock - were made for Elizabeth in the Waterford Glass Works.
Rachel Penrose, the wife of William Penrose, founder of the 1783 Glassworks, penned the following:
My Billy’s mind oft full of care
He to the fire turns his chair
And thus by him I’m oft addressed
My Jewel what does thee think best
Of money matters and provision
Of business in each division,
Of Glass House, and of this man’s order,
Of such a glass, with such a border
Decanters, goblets and of crofts
And of the new warehouse and the loftes
…To these I little can reply
But my good will and feeling sigh
And wishes it was in my power
To soothe the cares of every hour.
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