This is a superb antique Victorian oak cased three decanter tantalus with decorative silver plated cut brass gothic revival mounts and carry handles to the sides, circa 1880 in date.
This magnificent tantalus features three wonderful hobnail cut square decanters with faceted ball stoppers and a mirrored back. The twin flap compartment in front revealing a delightful divisioned interior with three crystal port glasses and two brandy glasses.
There is a secret compartment in the base, which can be opened by pressing the hidden button in the centre, revealing playing cards and draughts.
It is a truly decorative piece which is also very practical and would make a lovely gift.
In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned and waxed in our workshops, the decanters with a few minor chips to the neck, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 32 x Width 36 x Depth 27
Dimensions in inches:
Height 1 foot, 1 inch x Width 1 foot, 2 inches x Depth 11 inches
is a type of liquor decanter in which the bottle stoppers are locked down tightly by a metal bar. This was to prevent the theft of the contents by servants. Like the name suggests, the decanters themselves are visible, drawing temptation while unattainable. A key is required for entry.
The most common types of tantalus holds three bottles or decanters while there are also smaller types housing only two. There are many different forms of tantalus. Often the encasement has metal handles on both sides and ornately carved decor. Crystal and metal versions are also a beautiful option when choosing a tantalus.
Tantalus derived its name from the story of the mythological Greek king, Tantalus, mortal son of Zeus and Pluto. To be tantalized is to be tempted with the unattainable, and the king was sorely tested. He was condemned to an eternity in Hades for angering the Gods and was forced to stand forever in water that, when he bent to drink, would recede and to gaze upon foods he could only reach for and never grasp.
The 1800s saw our Victorian predecessors apply the King’s name to the lockable decanter.
Our reference: A2021