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Glass from around the world

Glass Museum: Discover the art of glassmaking (it’s free)

Last updated: 15 September 2023

Before you visit the beautiful and luscious Glenelly Estate, there are two things you should know. First, the most expensive item on the bistro menu is a bottle of Grand Cru Classé Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 1961 Magnum which costs R47 500. The second is that the estate houses Madame De Lencquesaing’s Glass Museum which is free to visit all year-round. 

The Entrance to Glenelly Estate. Image: Glenelly Estate


At the grand age of 78, May De Lencquesaing took one look at Glenelly Estate in Stellenbosch and decided that this is where she wanted to continue her French family’s legacy. That’s not all she brought over from Europe. What you’ll find in the underground floor of the estate is May’s life-long passion for rare and contemporary glass. 

May De Lencquesaing alongside a gifted sculpture of herself. Image: Glenelly Estate 


It’s easy to see why Madame De Lencquesaing’s collection has been labeled one of the largest privately-owned glass collections in the world, with a total of 4 exhibition rooms and over 600 pieces of glass art from across the world. 

Each exhibit displays pieces from the 1st and 2nd Century, including glassmaking pieces that date back 2 000 years ago, as well as modern classics. Some pieces were gifted to her, but most were collected from her travels around the globe and displayed in beautifully illuminated glass cabinets.

The Glass Museum. Image: Glenelly Estate


Walking into the glass museum, your gaze will land on various pieces of elegantly developed art from different glass companies. Tiffany Studios, Daum Crystal and Baccarat. Amongst these great artists, you’ll also find creations from Salvador Dali and pieces by Italian glassblower, Lino Tagliapietra, whose glass artwork is housed in the most reputed museums and galleries around the world (including the Glass Museum, of course).

Glass creation inside The Glass Museum. Image: Glenelly Estate


Visitors will find themselves embarking on a journey through different eras and countries, much like Aladdin when he enters the Cave of Wonders. Watch a story unfold as you discover all the variations of glass and methods of glassmaking. 

The results of which are unique and rare finds such as the Blue Glass Diamond that hails all the way from China. Or you can look a little closer to home at Cape Town’s history of the “Woodstock Glass”. The museum’s curator will be there to guide you through it all.

20th Century glass from Italy. Image: Glenelly Estate


Extend your visit by spending time in the sunlit tasting room, or dining at the estate’s French-style bistro overlooking the picturesque vineyards and fynbos gardens. The Vine Bistro has an à la carte menu and includes seasonal 2, 3, and 4-course meals.

The Vine Bistro. Image: September Photography


The Glass Museum is open: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sundays, 10am-3pm
Find it: Ida’s Valley,  Lelie Street, Stellenbosch
Contact on: 021 809 6440 | | @glenellyestate

By Khadeeja Adams



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