This is a highly decorative Victorian English silver plated three bottle tantalus, circa 1880 in date.
This wonderful tantalus has a stunning shaped openwork design featuring delightful scrolls and an elegant beaded border. It has two attractive and practical hinged side loop handles and a lock to the front.
The hinged lid features a superbly chased grape vine loop handle, which opens to reveal three exquisite cut glass stoppered decanters.
It is a decorative piece which is also very practical and would make a lovely gift.
In excellent condition, please see photos for confirmation of condition.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 25 x Width 15.5 x Depth 14
Dimensions in inches:
Height 9.8 x Width 6.1 x Depth 5.5
Tantalus 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. To be tantalized is to be tempted with the unattainable, and the king, condemned to an eternity in Hades, was sorely tested. He 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: 09701