Wow! Beautiful, eh?
This glorious claret jug was a very wonderful acquisition. It is in superb condition. The workmanship is magnificent.
The predominant design work is of twining foliate motifs that are expressed in relief on the neck as well more 3 dimensionally on the handle and which are also echoed in the crystal. The "piece de resistance" is the mask head on the spout. One of the notable things about the silverwork is that you can see a textured background and some stippling which is more often seen in handworked sterling, but not usually in Gallia Silver.
The wonderful crystal glass base features a clear cut and frosted pattern that is rather abstract looking at first, but upon close examination it is a floral motif that echoes the foliate designs in the silver work. That design might be of grapevines or bleeding hearts. I believe the method of production of this is called acid cut back and such a method is reserved for some of the best works of the French glassmakers. It has a ground pontil within a smoothly ground base. The many scratch marks on the base shows that this decanter was used - of course, lovingly! The quality of the glass points directly to the Baccarat or St. Louis companies both of which worked with Cristofle. Both entities have a history of doing work with Christofle. We did not find any crystal/glass maker's mark or signature on the glass.
As you will notice when looking at the several photos, I have included some taken in natural (indoor) lighting and because they take on such a yellowish tinge, I have also shown some photos in a black/white conversion.
It measures 10" tall x 6" across at the widest.
This is quite a rare find. In the U.S. especially, it is rare to come across early pieces of Christofle holloware such as this. It might be hard to decipher the hallmarks in the photos, but there are two - a rooster (cockerel) and a goat's head and the words Gallia Metal on the cartouche of the rooster. We date this item to around 1880-1900. As a somewhat amusing aside, I just found out that the latin name for a domestic chicken is Gallus Gallus - thus Gallia (?).
Worthy of note - we saw an antique Christofle claret jug (not figural like this one) sell for over $1,500.00 recently at a local auction (plus the buyer's premium which would make it closer to $1,800.00).
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