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THE author’s picture on the book’s reverse shows him to be rather exotic-looking, but that’s maybe the bow tie. David Leigh is a partner in the family business, Laurie Leigh Antiques of Oxford, which specialises in antique table glass, and he is also a professional harpsichordist and restorer of antique keyboard instruments.

He has been passionate about antique glass since he was a child. This book provides a good introduction to collecting decanters within the period specified and, as the author says, “it is hoped that this history may help to illumine for the reader the obscurity that usually shrouds this neglected subject”.

Mr Leigh covers the classic period from 1760-1800, the barrel-shaped decanter, introduced in the late 18th century, which was the dominant form throughout the late Georgian and Regency periods; the Victorian era, which includes an example of a rare Victorian white-trailed ruby-cased amphora-shaped decanter with a clear neck ring and foot and matching stopper, c.1860, and some delicious Art Nouveau and Art Deco examples. There are chapters on claret jugs, wine ewers, carafes and spirit decanters, whose elegant lines differed much from the ornate, heavy looking ‘festooned’ decanters of 1830-1850, described by critics as “prickly monstrosities”.