Decanter

Decanter

Designers: William Burges, 1827-1881

1865

Dark green glass bottle mounted in silver, parcel-gilt

Height: 10.8 inches (26 cm.)

Josiah Mendelson: the hoop over the finial of the cover by George Angell Silversmiths

Inscribed round the neck: WILLIELMUS BVRGES ME FIERI FECIT ANNO DI MDCCCLXV (indistinct) . . . VEX NON SAECULAE.

Marks: London hallmark for 1865 on base, handle, spout and hoop. Maker's mark of JM everywhere except on the hoop, which bears the mark of George Angell.

The inscription, which is partly obliterated by the superimposition of coins, the horns of the animal head forming the spout and the claws of the lion handle, appears to indicate that the decanter was made from the proceeds of his drawings for the Crimea Memorial Church in Constantinople. Burges had won the competition for the church, announced in 1856, but although he subsequently modified his designs on five occasions, they remained too costly to execute from the funds available, and G. E. Street eventually replaced him as architect (see Victorian Church Art exhibition Catalogue No. D. 12). Nevertheless, according to Charles Handley-Read's notes, Burges prudently charged 100 for each set of drawings, and it is presumably part of this money which defrayed the cost of the decanter.


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Last modified January 2000