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This is a superb antique Victorian oak cased three decanter tantalus with decorative silver plated cut brass mounts, shield marked "Thornleys Special Prize" and carry handles to the sides, C1870 in date.
It was skillfully crafted in tiger oak with beautiful brass mounts and stylish handles. There are three cut crystal glass decanters with stoppers, a mirrored back and two hinged compartments for playing cards.
There is a secret base drawer with the original cribbage boards, brass score markers and playing cards of the same era, and it can be opened by pressing the silvered button which is just in front of the central decanter.
It is a decorative piece which is also very practical, and would make a lovely gift.
It is complete with working lock and a key that locks everything.
In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned and waxed in our workshops, the decanters with no chips or crack, please see photos for confirmation.
Our reference: 09118
Please feel free to email or call us (+44 20 8809 9605) to arrange a viewing in our North London warehouse.
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.
Oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus - Latin "oak tree" having approximately 600 extant species. Oak wood has a density of about 0.75 g/cm3, great strength and hardness, and is very resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high tannin content. It also has very appealing grain markings, particularly when quartersawn. Oak wood is very durable, easy to maintain and resistant to wear and tear which is why it can be easily handed to the next generations if taken well care of.
Oak wood virtually lasts forever and you can still admire oak furniture in museums and palaces even if it was made many centuries ago. Oak has been prized since the Middle Ages for use in interior panelling of prestigious buildings such as the debating chamber of the House of Commons in London and in the construction of fine furniture.
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