This interesting copper bassinoire with turned wood handle is from the 1700’s. A bassinoire is an old French instrument used to heat a bed. A hot material, such as coals or embers, would be placed into a metal receptacle. Copper was the preferred metal, as it is an excellent heat conductor. The handle was almost always wooden, allowing the bassinoire to be passed under the covers, in effect warming the bed.
A long, turned wood handle (approximately 29 inches in length) has been screwed into the end of a copper vessel. A hinge allows the container to open along the medial axis, revealing an almost 50/50 separation. The top is pierced with three concentric circles of geometric shapes, allowing for proper ventilation. The middle of the smallest circle is engraved with a coat of arms that is topped with an open crown. The uniquely shaped escutcheon has a hammered background and a tasseled tail, with flags emblazoned on the shield.
European winters could be particularly unbearable. It was of utmost importance for a household to own a bassinoire to warm up beds at night. Today, bassinoires are prized as decorative elements. Our 18th century French copper bassinoire with coat of arms could be hung above a fireplace or affixed to a wall in the kitchen.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use with minor losses to wood handle and old repair. Verdigris patina to copper, with minor dings and build up.