Antique Art Nouveau French Sterling Silver Liquor Opera Flask, Legras Violet Cameo Glass Bottle
Stunning antique Art Nouveau French sterling silver and acid etched cameo glass liquor flask. The tapered glass bottle features clear acid-cut back background, mimicking the look of chipped ice. Decorated with enameled purple violets and gilded leaves. This pattern of violets is attributed to Legras. Mounted with sterling silver fittings, including a knob shaped lid, threaded collar and detachable tumbler/drinking cup at the base. The lid and tumbler are ornately decorated in raised relief with a similar violet pattern, mimicking the floral motif of the glass body. The lid has a cork lined interior and the tumbler is finished with a gilt vermeil interior. The tumbler is hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark, which depicts the head of the goddess Minerva with a number 1 beside her to denote a silver content of .950/1000 (95% pure silver and a higher grade of silver than .925 sterling.) The lid is hallmarked with the head of the wild boar, this mark indicates a silver content of .800/1000, making the lid sturdier and thicker to withstand frequent handling. Bearing maker's marks for silversmith Martial Gauthier, active from 1888 to 1902 at 39 rue Rambuteau, Paris. In overall good condition with general wear and surface scratches to the silver mounts from use and age. Measures 5 7/8" in length.
Sometimes mistaken for a perfume bottle, these bottles were originally serviceable as portable flasks intended for liquor or herbal restoratives (Though certainly usable for perfume if desired and are perfect to display among scent bottle collections.) These flasks could easily hold a substantial amount of one's favorite liquor, to be served in the detachable tumbler or drinking cup ideal for a shot of whiskey or flavored liqueur. These collectible flasks are known as opera flasks and carriage flasks. Smaller than the usual hip flasks, their size and shape allow them to be hand for short travel and discretely stow-able in a vest pocket, or lady's evening bag / purse. Perfect for a night out at the theatre, opera or ballet. They were also used for 'spirits', tonic waters and flavored herbal remedies one could not be without, to help soothe migraines and aches. A convenient accessory for allowing a lady or gentleman a suitable "restoratif" on a cold carriage journey or at a tedious social event.