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5151 A Bronze Askos Claret Jug

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Originally, an 'askos' was a vessel used by the ancient Greeks for carrying and pouring oils and wine (although probably not together!).  It was formed from the intestines of a goat!  The form was revived in the 1830s as a claret jug of which the first were probably by the celebrated silversmith Paul Storr.  He used both all-silver models and silver-mounted glass and they are among the most collectable of claret jugs.

The askos form of claret jug re-appeared on various occasions during the 19th century, and unless they are at least partly of silver and carrying hallmarks, they are difficult to date with any precision.  In my book, "Great British Wine Accessories 1550 - 1900" I illustrate three versions, one each of 1836 and 1840, and the third of 1871 which is very similar to this example - except that it is of silver.

The bladder-shaped body has a stylised acanthus leaf-wrapped handle, trifurcated at the top and supported below with a winged putto holding a cup.  The pouring rim is flanked by two reclining goats , realistically modelled, of which one is a replacement. Apart from this one minor issue, the jug is in excellent condition.

Date: c.1875

Dimensions: 8", 20.3 cm long, 6.2"15.7cm. high

Weight: 2110 grams, 4 lb.10 ox approx.

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