5090 A Fine and Rare Old Sheffield Plate Claret label
This is not only a very early example of a wine label, it is also a very early example of Old Sheffield Plate (OSP). The invention of Sheffield plating is usually ascribed to Thomas Boulsover in about 1743 (some say 1742), and the first wine labels were made in the mid-late 1730s, so this neatly combines two 'earlies'.
The shape is known to wine label collectors as an 'escutcheon' - a term I am not particularly happy with for several reasons - as I feel 'cartouche'-shape would be more suitable. However, I am bound, for the present at least, to stick with received custom.
The label has the legend CLARET in the middle and is framed with scrolling fruiting vine and leaves. The decoration, and the outline itself, is all die-stamped, which makes this and others from the same die identical - apart from wear. The suspension chain seems to have been put on incorrectly on the left hand side, but it appears never to have been altered.
The condition is excellent and when I bought it, it clearly had not been cleaned or polished in a great many years. This has resulted in the label having lost none of its plating.
Date: c.1740 - 50
Dimensions: 2.3", 6 cm. wide
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