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Title:

Burges Decanter

Maker(s) &
Production:

Burges, William, designer, British architect, 1827-1881, England, London
Mendelson, Josiah, mount maker, England, London, It is unclear which mount maker(s) are associated with London
Angell, George, mount maker, England, London, It is unclear which mount maker(s) are associated with London

Production
Note:

William Burges was one of the most talented English architects of the High Victorian Gothic Revival. His eclectic taste, love of vivid colouring, and super-abundant inventive powers broought forth a stram of idosyncratic designs for buildings and domestic objects. This decanter demonstrates his flair for combining disparate elements to create an aesthetically satisfying whole. Burges had already conceived the design in 1858, when a similar vessel was shown with several pieces of metalwork in a watercolour serving as the frontispiece of his Orfèvrerie Domestique (RIBA Drawings collection). On the 10th, 11th and 12th sheets of this, there are further drawings for the decanter, the last of which is dated 1864. It was made in 1865 as were two variants: one made for Burges himself, now in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford; the other made for James Nicholson, and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see Documtation). The decoration of the mounts is reminiscent of early medieval crucifixes studded with re-used Roman cameos, intaglios, and uncut gemstones. The foliage applied to the body is also medieval in inspiration, as are the animals humorously engraved on the foot. The inscription indicates that Burges paid for the decanter from the fees which he had received for his prize-winning design of 1856 and later modifications to it, for the Crimea Memorial Church in Constantinople. This, like several of his architectural projects, was never built because its estimated cost proved too high.

Category(s):

glass; silver

Name:

decanter

Date:

1865 1866
the mounts bear the date letter for 1865-66; the Chinese rock crystal Buddhist lion on the cover is 18th century; the coral cameos are 17th century. The ivory lion's head was based on the pommel of an 8th-7th century BC Assyrian dagger-hilt

School/Style(s):

High Victorian; Gothic Revival

Period(s):

third quarter of 19th century; Victorian

Description(s):

Green glass, mounted in silver set with malachite, semi-precious stone, cloisonné enamels, coral cameos, intaglios, classical coins, ivory and rock crystal
Dark green blown glass body, mounted in silver with applied and engraved ornament, set with malachite panels, semi-precious stone, cloisonné enamels, two 17th century coral cameos each of a nymph's head, one of Cupid holding a basket, and another of Cupid holding a garland, a Roman first century AD nicolo intaglio of a sleeping hound, a Sassanian 5th or 6th century cornelian intaglio of a personal device Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, and on the cover, a Chinese rock crystal Buddhist lion. The cast silver handle is in the form of a lion with an ivory head, and the spout is cast in the form of an antelope's head with a silver stopper attached by a chain. The foot is engraved with a hedgehog, a frog, a mouse, and a wren with a worm in its beak, and the 'signature' 'I WREN' for Jenny Wren. The partly obscured inscription on the neck reads: WILLIELMUS BURGES ME FIERI FECIT ANNO DI MDCCLXV EX HONS ECCL[ESI]AE CONSTANTINOPOLITANAE

Technique(s):

blown; body
engraving; decoration
setting (jewellery); decoration
carving; rock crystal
carving; ivory

Material(s):

glass; body; dark green
silver; mounts
ivory; handle head; lion's head
quartz crystal; cover finial; Buddhist lion
hardstone; decoration; malachite
gold; decoration; coin
coral; decoration; cameo
enamel; decoration; cloisonné

Technique
Description:

dark green blown glass body, mounted in silver with applied and engraved ornament, set with malachite panels, semi-precious stones, cloisonné enamels, coral cameos, Roman and Sassanian intaglios, Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, and on the cover, a Chinese rock crystal Buddhist lion. The cast silver handle is in the form of a lion with an ivory head, and the spout is cast in the form of an antelope's head with a silver stopper attached by a chain

Dimension(s):

height, overall, 10¾, in
height, overall, 27.3, cm
width, overall, 7½, in
width, overall, 19, cm
diameter, foot, 4¼, in
diameter, foot, 10.7, cm

Acquisition:

bought; 1972-10-19; Handley-Read Estate

Provenance:

William Burges (1827-1881). Charles Handley-Read (1916-1972)and Lavinia Handley-Read (d. 1972); purchased from Thomas Stainton, Executor of the Handley-Read Estate

Associated
Person:

Burges, William

Acquisition Credit:

Purchased with the Perceval Fund and with the Regional Fund administered by the Victoria & Albert Museum

Inscription(s):

inscription; on the foot; engraved; I WREN; Jenny Wren
inscription; on neck; engraved; WILLIELMUS BURGES ME FIERI FECIT ANNO DI MDCCLXV EX HONS ECCL[ESI]AE CONSTANTINOPOLITANAE; indicates that Burges paid for the decanter from the fees which he had received for his prize-winning design of 1856 and later modifications to it for the Crimea Memorail Church in Constantinople, never built
maker's mark; on mount on front and on foot; struck; JM; Josiah Mendelson
hallmark; on mount on front and on foot; struck; lion passant; sterling standard silver
hallmark; on mount; struck; leopard's head; London
hallmark; on mount on front and on foot; struck; k; London date letter for 1865-66
hallmark; on mount on front and on foot; struck; monarch's head; indicates duty paid
maker's mark; on hoop over finial; struck; GA; George Angell
hallmark; on hoop over finial; struck; lion passant; sterling standard silver
hallmark; on hoop over finial; struck; monarch's head; indicates duty paid

Exhibition(s):

Documentation:

, The Fitzwilliam Museum1973. The Annual Reports of the Fitzwilliam Museum Syndicate and the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Cambridge for the Year ending 31 December 1972.Cambridge (Cambs.): p. 10
Publ. p. 10, and pl. V

Woudhuysen, P.. 1982. Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Pevensey Pressp. 167
Publ. p. 167, colour illustration with brief text

Henig, Martin. Scarisbrick, Diana. Whiting, Mary. 1994. Classical Gems, Ancient and Modern Intaglios and Cameos in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. 485-7
Publ, Appendix III, The Burges Ewer, illustrated with catalogue of the gems and cameos, nos. 1072a-f

, Royal Academy of Arts1972. Victorian and Edwardian Decorative Art , The Handley-Read Collection.London: p. 33
Publ. p. 33, no. B88 and illustrated on front cover

Johnson, Diana L.. 1979. Fantastic Illustration and Design in Britain 1850-1930.New York: p. 52
Publ. p. 52, no. 27

Robinson, Duncan. Wildman, Stephen. 1980. Morris & Company in Cambridge.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. 13
Publ. p. 13, no. 20

Culme, John. 1987. The Directory of Gold and Silversmiths Jewellers and Allied Traders 1838-1914, from the London Assay Office Registers.Woodbridge: The Antique Collectors' Club
Ref. for the marks. Vol. I, p. 324 JM; p. 11 GA under John Angell & Son; Vol. II, p. 191, 9534; p. 104, 5452 and 5453.

1989. Treasures from the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): The Fitzwilliam Museump. 132
Publ. p. 132, no. 133

Crook, J. Mordaunt. 1981. The Strange Genius of William Burges - 'Art Architect', 1827-1881.London: p. 111
Publ. p. 111, no. C.46

Crook, J. Mordaunt. 1981. William Burges and the High Victorian Dream.London:
Published pl. 240. Cf. Designs pls. 238 and 239, and another decanter, pl. 237

Pullan, R. P.. 1885. The House of William Burges.London:
Cf. pl.35

Pullan, R. P.. 1883. The Architectural Designs of William Burges.London:
Cf. pl. 17

Wardle, Patricia. 1963. Victorian Silver and Silver Plate.London: Herbert Jenkins Ltdp. 158
Cf. The example in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Circ 857-1956), p. 158, pl. 49

Building News.p. 418
Ref.

The Builder.p. 100
Ref.

The Lady, 3-9 January 1995.
Publ.

Sotheby's. 1998. Applied Arts from 1880.London: Sotheby'sp. 52-3
Cf. Lot 439, a Chinese vase mounted as a bottle for Burges. Estimate £40-60,000; unsold. See also J. Mordaunt Crook, William Burges and the High Victorian Dream, London, 1981, pl. 233

McConnell, Andy. 2004. The Decanter, An Illustrated History of Glass from 1650.Woodbridge: The Antique Collectors' Clubp. 333
Publ. p. 333, pl. 467

Cambridges alla skrytobject.
Source Title: Göteborgs Posten(4-January-1995)

Publ.

Accession:

Object Number: M.16-1972
(Applied Arts)
(record id: 99083; input: 2004-06-23; modified: 2017-01-04)

Related
Resource:

Pharos

Permanent
Identifier:

http://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/99083





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