Often referred to as claret jugs, this pair of silverplate mounted wine ewers were produced in France, circa 1920. The hand-blown glass is ovate, in a shape that could be described as oinochoe (Greek meaning “wine pour”) in the classification system by the famed British archaeologist and historian, Sir John Beazley. According to the classification system, oinochoes are “shape 3” and have bulbous bodies with a constant curve from top to bottom and an ansa handle.
The looped handles are shaped by scrolls and adorned with recessed sides and roquillard leaves. The silverplated handle of each ewer is affixed to the glass just below the base of the neck in the form of a curled leaf. Just above this leaf is a collar (also silverplate) that is embellished with scrolls, flowers and an undulating base which wraps around the neck. The hinged lids have a curled leaf finial that rises upwards, making for a quaint thumb rest when pouring wine. The décor was inspired by the Rocaille movement, which is known for an abundance of curves and ornamentation based on nature, such as leaves, shells, and flowers. Given the décor and the date of production, these claret jugs can be described as Art Nouveau pieces.
Silverplated wine ewers like this came into fashion in the mid-1800’s and were solely used for serving red wines from the Bordeaux region of France. In England, a wine of this appellation is called “claret”, quite possibly from the old French word, clairet, which was a rosé wine that came from the commune of Quinsac. Widespread consumption in England led to the word being anglicized to claret and the term is now used exclusively for the prized red wines of Bordeaux.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor tarnishing to silverplate. Light buildup and scratches to glass. Please see photos for details.