Wine Labels

During the Restoration (1660-1685 ) there developed a trend for decanting wine. This in turn created a need for labelling and thus wine Labels were born and by the 1770s they were considered commonplace.

The most popular design was to suspend the labels from the neck of the bottle or decanter using a chain, but rings were also used and some Labels were even fixed to the cork or stopper.

Most early Labels were made from sheet silver. However the finest ones were fashioned by the process of casting and were heavier and thicker than the simple sheet silver ones.

The titles (e.g. Madeira, Port, etc.) were also created in various ways from simple engravings or piercing to the rarest examples where the title was cast along with the body of the label. The value
of most Labels is often contained within the title, with popular beverages like Claret and Sherry being more common and thus less desirable and Champagne and Whiskey fetching more for their
rarity.

Ceramic Wine and Spirits Labels
Ceramic Wine and Spirits Labels

It can generally be said that the style of the different Labels mirrors the prevailing style of the time in which they were produced. Hence there are more neo-classical examples of urns and scrolls in
the second half of the 18th century while the more common and simple designs in oblongs and ovals were produced in vast quantities in the 19th century.

By the middle of the 19th century a new law forced all vintners to stick Labels to their bottles before sale and so the fashion for wine Labels faded.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Carriage Clocks

Carriage clocks, small, portable and spring driven, with carrying handles are amongst the most popular clocks with collectors today. At the turn of the century Abraham-Louis Breguet developed the Carriage clock, called in France a “Pendule de Voyage”. Made mainly in France throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the largest market for them was in Britain and America.

A Miniature Enamelled Travel Carriage Clock in case
A Miniature Enamelled Travel Carriage Clock in case

Manufacture of this clock for carriages was well established in France by the 19th century. The escapement was located on the horizontal platform at the top of the clock, visible through a glazed aperture, similar to those used in watches and unaffected by movement. Makers in Paris assembled the workings of clock and case and stamped their marks on the movement.

Cases were usually rectangular, earliest versions having brass frames cast in one piece, with bevelled glass panels revealing the movement. After 1845 makers would assemble cases from several parts, allowing for variety in design, including small (mignomette), full size and giant versions.

A Cloisonne Enamel Carriage Clock
A Cloisonne Enamel Carriage Clock

The finest cases were gilded and engraved with foliate patterns. Later a small number were produced with decorative enamel or porcelain panels. Most were sold with carrying cases.

A traditional style Carriage Clock
A traditional style Carriage Clock

Dials are mostly white enamelled copper with blued steel hands. French Carriage clocks sold in Britain would often have a signature on the dial of a British retailer with serial number and maker’s stamp on the movement. Britain produced a small number of Carriage clocks with plainer, heavier cases, but considered to be of a higher quality.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Floral Enamelled Buttons

Valuable curiosities can crop up when you least expect them!

Jewellery Specialist Sarah Clark writes….

Having set myself the task of ‘learning something new today’ – information that I could perhaps pass on to someone else or store up and bring to the fore, should something similar cross my path in the future, I unfortunately realised that today was not going to be that day… The priority of seeing visiting Clients, valuing items and preparing for our forthcoming auction was clearly going to keep me busy for much of the time.

However, whilst carrying out a valuation with a Client, another lady came in. I noticed she had a picture and a plate (not my area of expertise) but she also had a small wooden box. Similar boxes I have seen contain pens or small mathematical instruments… nothing unusual there, but intriguing nonetheless. The lady was seen by a colleague and her items we consigned for auction.

On further inspection the box was very light, a bit tired, the small fastening catch didn’t fit properly and appeared to me to be of no particular value. To my astonishment when opening the box, I was amazed to see a set of six beautifully enamelled buttons. Each depicting flowers, highlighted in pinks and purples, with vivid green stems and leaves. Not what I was expecting from such an unassuming case!

Set of Six beautifully enamelled buttons
Set of Six beautifully enamelled buttons

The buttons date from the late 19th/early 20th Century and are decorated using a technique called Gin Bari or Gin Bari Foil. Developed in Japan, it involves using a colour tinted enamel over a sheet of embossed foil. Similar in appearance to Cloisonné enamel, the decoration can be found on vases and ornaments, novelties and collectors pieces, much produced throughout the 20th Century.

You just never know what is going to come through the Auction Gallery door!

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Written by Specialist Valuer Sarah Clark, B.A.(Hons.)