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4052 A Pair of Mother-of-Pearl Crescent Wine Labels

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During the late 18th century, the crescent became a favourite shape for wine labels, and when made of silver they sometimes had a 'feathered edge' - a form of simple decoration which was also applied to many silver spoons and forks.  These being made of mother-of pearl, are engraved to simulate that form of decoration.

The labels are engraved and black-filled for LISBON and BURGUNDY.  At the time, Lisbon was a centre for wine production, and adjacent areas were Calcavella (today called Carcavelos) and Bucellas (now spelt with a single 'L').  The 1703 Methuen Treaty encouraged the Anglo-Portuguese wine (and clothing) trades at the expense of the French, so Portuguese wines were quite common.

Antique Burgundy wine labels are surprisingly rarely seen, while claret (from Bordeaux) is more common.  This is probably because the sea route from Bordeaux was much more easily accomplished, than an overland journey from land-locked Burgundy.

The chains of these labels appear to be of base metal.

Date: c.1780

Dimensions: 1.8", 4.5 cm. wide

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