Antique ship's decanters, as many will know, are decidedly difficult to find, but even as ship's decanters go, this is a special one.
It has a panel-cut shoulders and neck and 4 rounded neck rings below a slightly everted rim. The base is fluted, and between the fluting and panel-cutting is a very finely engraved band of stylised flowerheads and foliage against a matted ground, and within a zig-zag border. The underside of the decanter is star-cut, with the star running to the edge of the base, which is a very unusual feature. The stopper is a radially-cut target.
The narrow band of engraving is highly idiosyncratic - obviously from the hand of an accomplished and experienced artist.
John Richardson was one of three engravers who left Newcastle in 1806 to work in nearby Sunderland. There exists a 'sample rummer', that is a large drinking glass variously engraved with differing patterns, which a customer could see and from which they could order as decoration on their glassware. It is signed by John Richardson and dated 1809. More importantly in this connection, pattern No. 1 exactly matches the narrow band of fine engraving on this decanter. This allows a reasonably firm attribution to the engraver and a dating.
The decanter is in excellent clear condition without any cracks or significant chips.
Dimensions: 10", 25.4 cm high incl stopper
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