This stand is modelled as a clinker-built jolly boat as used for sea work by Royal Navy warships in the age of sail. With wells for holding glass wine decanters and fittings for their stoppers, on a flat base for use at sea. The stern is engraved ‘The Jolly Boat’.
Old Sheffield plated silver.
English, circa 1800.
This form of novelty decanter stand, sometimes mounted on wheels, is supposed to be the origin of the phrase: ‘Pushing the boat out’. Popular with naval officers, other documented examples belonged to Captain Henry Blackwood (1770-1832), Captain George Murray (1759- 1819) and Captain Frederick Maitland (1777-1839). Further models are in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, and the Nelson Collection at Lloyd’s of London which has an example in silver dated 1799, said to have been presented by Nelson to his sailing master Thomas Atkinson (1767-1836) (see page 20).