This French copper bassinoire, or bed warmer, has a wooden handle and was produced in the 1700’s. Hot coals would be placed into a bassinoire’s vented receptacle, and the user would pass the device under the covers, warming the bed. Copper was the preferred metal, as it is an excellent heat conductor. The handle was almost always wooden, allowing the bassinoire to be held safely.
A wood handle (approximately 26 inches in length) has been nailed into the end of a copper vessel. The container opens via a flip top that has a beaded edge and a rolled lip. The middle portion of the lid is raised and embellished with a floral wreath and lobed protuberances. The center of the wreath has a scaled mythical creature with a long, tasseled tail and curved beak. The areas between the protrusions are adorned with floral and foliate engravings as well as birds. The top is pierced with sporadically placed vent holes.
European winters could be particularly brutal. Bassinoires were essential tools for keeping warm at night. Today, bassinoires are used mainly as decorative elements. Our 18th century French copper bassinoire is particularly well detailed and could be hung above a fireplace or affixed to a wall in the kitchen.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use with minor dings to copper and nicks to wood handle. Verdigris patina to copper, with buildup.
H - 4 7/8, L - 36 3/4, W - 11 3/4