As with many other fantastic silver overlay items in my shop, my husband saw me typing this description with the decanter in front of me on my desk and said “You’re selling that?!” Through my many years of collecting and dragging him to antique shows, he has become knowledgeable about silver overlay, and he is aware, as I am sure you are, how spectacular and rare this piece is.
This decanter joins several other La Pierre vessels in my shop, and it enables you to see some of the variety of different items that bear the combined “F” and “L” mark. The La Pierre Mfg. Co. had an apt trademark, considering the objects it made. The founder was Frank La Pierre, whose initials not only identified him and his company by virtue of that stylized monogram, but the combination of those initials in that specific form also looks very much like the symbol for the British Pound Sterling.
Everything about this decanter is fabulous, not just the silver. The shape of the bottle AND stopper and both the color and texture of the glass are unusual. By “texture” I mean the “waviness,” for lack of a better word. Those subtle vertical indentations in the glass create and interesting optical effect, and, although I can’t show this to you, there is a tactile effect as well. When you run your palm over the bottle, you can feel the “bumps.” Notice, too, that the stopper has the same ridges.
The other unusual feature of the glass is its green-to-clear color. The green, itself, is different from the green you typically find on silver overlay items. It is more of a Granny Smith apple green than an emerald green. See my La Pierre decanter or my spherical Gorham perfume bottle for comparison.
The last feature of the glass I want to mention is its clarity. It is not without some isolated small mineral deposit spots, but it is very clear for the most part. Of course, the “clarity” I speak of is the ability to see through the glass, both the green parts and the colorless parts. Oh yes, of course, there are no cracks or chips in the glass.
Ahhhh, now the silver! What can I add in words that my pictures do not already show you? The design of grapes and leaves is beautifully intertwined with squiggles and loops, and their placement is perfectly suited to show off the glass. The chasing of the silver is strong and deep, and it is all firmly adhered to the glass. This is something else, by the way, that your tactile examination of the glass will confirm. Not only can you feel the subtle waves, but you can also feel the smoothness of the overlay, with no lifted or broken parts. And, as is the case with the extremely minor mineral deposits, the silver is almost completely free of the typical dents and dings you see on items like this. The decanter does not look absolutely new, but it seems to have been used very seldom.
When it was used, the decanter must have been for those special occasions that deserved a rare drink for toasting. Although the design of the silver showcases the bunches of grapes, the size of the decanter suggests a use for cognac or grappa—which are made from distilled grapes—rather than wine. Although you, too, can use it to present a liquor for toasting a celebratory event, my guess is that you likely will do as I have done, which is to display the decanter safely behind glass with the other silver overlay treasures in your collection.
Now that I mentioned its size, let me tell you the particulars. From the base to the tip of that wonderful stopper, the decanter measures 9 3/8 inches high. It is about 3 3/8 inches wide at the shoulder, and the base is 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The decanter holds 10 ounces of liquid, filled to the base of the neck.
I can’t think of anything else to tell you, but please write if you have any questions. This is a beautiful and unusual vessel, and it will be a wonderful addition to your collection—or the collection of someone you love.
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