Antique Art Nouveau French sterling silver and cut glass opera 'spirits' flask. Featuring a sterling silver lid, collar and removable drinking cup attached at the base. The glass body has a clear satin finish beautifully hand painted with purple violets and lily of the valley flowers. Hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark used from 1838 to 1919, which depicts the goddess Minerva with a number 1 beside her to denote a silver content of 950/1000 (of 95% pure silver and a higher finesse than .925 sterling). Bearing maker's marks for Parisian silversmiths Bourgeois veuve & Prunin, active from 1896 to 1913 at 17 rue du Pont-aux-Choux in Paris. In overall good condition. General wear to the gilt vermeil finish on the sterling mounts. Retains a glass stopper. Flask measures 6" length. Housed in the original fitted presentation box. Box with general wear as shown and measures 7 3/8" length x 2 7/8" width x 2 3/8" height.
Sometimes mistaken as a perfume bottle, these flasks could easily hold a substantial amount of one's favorite liquor, to be served in the detachable tumbler or drinking cup at the base and ideal for a 'shot' of whiskey or flavored liqueur. These highly collectible 'spirits' flasks are also known as carriage flasks, handy for short travel and easily stow-able in a purse or pocket during a night out at the theatre or opera. Also referred to as a flacon à eau de mélisse after a type of absinthe 'spirits' made from lemon balm favored for its fresh citrus taste and as a tonic against migraines. A convenient accessory for allowing a lady a suitable "restoratif" on a cold carriage journey or at a tedious social event.