Crafted during the 1700’s, this oak barrel features a hand-painted version of the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. The barrel would have most likely been used on a naval ship, either to store gun powder or for serving grog, which was rum diluted with water and sometimes citrus fruits. Grog was a popular drink for sailors on long voyages, as it not only contained alcohol, but also served as a source of fresh water.
The small barrel, including the encircling iron bands, has been painted black with a multicolored coat of arms on the front. A crowned golden lion (representing England) and a cream colored unicorn with broken chains that symbolize freedom (representing Scotland) support a quartered shield painted in red, green, and gold. The first and fourth quarters feature the three lions of England, while the second quarter has the rampant lion of Scotland and the third has an angelic harp, symbolizing Ireland. A green garter with gold lettering that reads honi soit qui mal y pense (old French for “shame on anyone who thinks wrong”) surrounds the shield. There is a similar banner beneath the supporters that reads dieu et mon droit (once again Old French for “god and my right”). A visored helmet rests on top of the shield and is in turn surmounted by an open crown with a lion on top.
Our 18th century oak barrel would make a fantastic decorative piece that can be displayed in a living room, bar area, or bathroom. It could also be placed in an entry hall, making a great umbrella stand.
CONDITION: Losses to both paint and wood. Some age separations, which are commensurate to age and use. Professional restoration to return the iron straps to their original positions, as they had shifted from the wood swelling and receding.