Skip to main content

Glassware & Stained glass

In the right-hand wing of what is known as the Cloister, connecting with the Gothic gallery and giving on to an inner courtyard, an exceptional collection of old glassware is on display. The collection spans the period from Antiquity to the end of the nineteenth century and is largely devoted to what was produced in the area we know as Belgium.

Roman and Venetian glass

A number of brightly coloured bottles are examples of the first sophisticated glassware from the Mediterranean region. Here, more particularly, it is easy to appreciate the fantasy of form and use of colour in Roman glass. In the first century. there was a great flourishing in the art of working glass, brought about by the invention of the blowpipe. Numerous glassworks were set up in Europe during the Renaissance. Most in demand, because of its luxury and beauty, was Venetian glass, witness to this being the extent to which it was imitated in Northern Europe. To make a unique object of each...

Read more
Stemmed drinking glass The Three Graces Dancing
Stemmed drinking glass The Three Graces Dancing, 18th cent., Newcastle, crystal, Stipple engraving attributed to David Wolff


With the invention of lead crystal in England, glass gained a new brilliance and perfect transparency. In the 19th century, furthermore, Belgian glassworks began producing exquisite cut glass, which became one of the treasures of the industry in the country. At the end of the gallery, opal glass (opaline) and decorative vases provide a taste of 20th-century glassware; part of the museum’s collection of this is displayed in the ‘Magasin Wolfers’.

Drinking glass decorated with snakes
Drinking glass decorated with snakes, 17th cent., Liège or Brussels, glass 'façon de Venise'


The art of glass-making underwent major development in the Low Countries and the principality of Liège from the Renaissance. This artistic production included small panels of colourless glass that were decorated with paint. They were generally circular, hence their name ‘medallions’ or ‘roundels’. Little known in our artistic heritage, these medallions were very popular in all Europe starting in the 15th century. Their small size made them ideal for insertion in a window or stained glass. The Museum possesses a remarkable group of medallions and small panels dating from the 16th and 17th...

Read more Exhibition Medallions
Tobias Drawing the Fish from the Water
Tobias Drawing the Fish from the Water, Low Countries, 1490-1500 © KIK-IRPA, Brussels

Valérie Montens