A wonderful French first empire tole ware monteith, the sides hand painted with bouquets of colorful flowers against ivory-colored reserves flanked by gilt grapevine designs. The sides rise to handles cast in the form of swans’ heads--a feature very rarely seen. Verrieres are typically oval in shape, but this example is round. The bowl is unusually raised on four lion’s paw brass feet. As a whole, this is one of the more elegant and interesting early tole verrieres or monteiths we’ve seen.
Elegant glassware was a luxury and even the wealthy didn’t have enough to provide a fresh glass with each different wine course during a formal dinner. The monteith or verriere contained water, and the guests’ glasses could be hung from the notched rim to be rinsed in the communal bath. Sometimes, the vessel was filled with cold water and the glasses were simply hung there to be chilled before the service.
Origin: France, ca. 1800. Condition: excellent original paint with slight loss to one bouquet, the interior shows surface rust as expected; three of the notches seem to have been bent and then straightened out again, but this appears to have happened long ago and without any re-painting. Size: 9-1/4" x 12-5/8" at handles; 4-1/2" high (6-1/4" at handles).