Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition

print of A Midnight Modern Conversation- drawing of tavern drinking

April 28, 2012–January 6, 2013

Liquor chest, various case bottles, tray, and wineglasses.

Liquor chest, various case bottles, tray, and wineglasses. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont. 1959.2778 A-J.

This exhibitions was created to explore the stunning range of objects associated with the history of wine drinking, especially in Britain and America. It shared a fascinating and incredibly broad range of wine-related materials—from wineglasses and cellarettes to song sheets and paintings—and, in total, will include more than 300 objects.

Uncorked! began with classical references by providing an insightful look into Greek and Roman wine vessels as inspirations for many later objects and ornamental motifs. The exhibition then explored the business of marketing wine, bottles, glasses, and other objects and considers some “tricks of the trade” by which unscrupulous merchants increased profit margins.

The largest portion of the exhibition focused on consumption and equipage and considered vessels associated with different types of wine, settings where beverages were consumed, and the role wine played in social life. Uncorked! also delved into the politics, patriotism, and taxes associated with wine. The religion and temperance sections encompassed both serious and, to modern eyes, humorous issues relating to such topics.

Raise a glass in toast to this fascinating exhibition!

illustration of Champagne Charlie

Champagne Charlie, Downs Collection Col. 240, 73x171.

Additional Information



Major funding for Uncorked! provided by


With support from

Bouchaine Vineyards
Gerret & Tatiana Copeland, Proprietors

Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP     Wente Family Estates

Dixie and David De Luca; Judy and John Herdeg; Kristin and Frank Hohmann; Laurel Riegel; Coleman and Susan Townsend; Linda Wiseman  

Adelphi Paper Hangings, LLC       

Image at top of the page: print of A Midnight Modern Conversation, made by William Hogarth, London, England, 1733. Gift of Gordon Rust. 1975.0219.

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