English and European Ceramics and Glass - 18 Oct 2017


An Admiral Byng wine glass c.1763

£1,000 - £1,500 £2,200

An Admiral Byng wine glass c.1763, the round funnel bowl engraved with the admiral hanging from a gibbet flanked by the initials A B, the reverse inscribed JUSTICE, raised on a swollen airtwist stem, 15.3cm.

Admiral John Byng was a Royal Naval officer and an MP from 1751 until his death in 1757. During the Seven Years War, Byng was sent to relieve a besieged garrison at Minorca. With his ships in a poor state of repair, Byng opted to return to Gibraltar to see to his ships and await further promised resources. On his return to Britain he was court-martialled for failing to "do his utmost" to prevent the loss of Minorca. He was executed by firing squad on 14th March 1757 - the engraving on the glass being symbolic rather than accurate - despite appeals to King George II for clemency. Byng was seen by many as a scapegoat for the Admiralty's inefficiency and the execution in this way of such a high-ranking officer divided the country. His descendants today continue to campaign for a posthumous pardon.


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