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The design for these labels first appeared in the 1750s and it re-appeared from about 1805 and for the next 50 or so years. These therefore are early revivals and it shows in the fine detail of their making. The design comprises two putti (cherubs), one holding a jug in one hand and a bottle in the other, while the other is pressing grapes into a basket. Beneath the banner with the legend, is the heavily bearded figure of Bacchus' head among grapes.
Thomas Phipps and Edward Robinson were among the foremost wine label makers of their day, but they made much more besides - boxes, and all manner of domestic articles, characterised by excellent simple design and good gauge silver. These however, rather than being diestamped from sheet silver are very heavily cast and chased - that is chiselled up to enhance the definition.
The labels, for BURGUNDY, CHAMPAGNE, CLARET, MADEIRA, PORT AND SHERRY (alphabetically!) are quite a rare survival - and we have to ask "Why?". The answer is quite simple; silver wine labels have been collected for nearly 100 years and collectors used to like to have examples of each design. When a member of a collecting group bought a set, they often kept one and sold off the others to their friends - often making the one they kept cost nothing!
The problem with dispersing sets is that the context is partially lost; it is good to know what a household was drinking at a particular time and intact sets tell us just that. At least my images will remain on the Internet (anonymously after they have sold), so not all will be lost.
This design is, more often than not, die-stamped so they are quite lightweight. These, however are very solidly cast. They are also in wonderful condition, without any restoration or defects and the detail is quite crisp.
So all in all - this is a wonderful find! Please grab them before someone splits them up among their friends!
Dimensions: 2.35" 6 cm wide.
Weight: 5 oz. 16 dwt.,180 g