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Decanter

William Burges (1827-1881) was one of the most talented English architects of the High Victorian Gothic Revival. His eclectic taste, love of vivid colouring, and super-abundant inventive powers brought forth a stream of idiosyncratic designs for buildings and domestic objects. This decanter demonstrates his flair for combining disparate elements to create an aesthetically satisfying whole. Its glass body is encased in mounts inspired by gem-studded medieval book covers, while the animals engraved on the foot are reminiscent of the borders of Gothic manuscripts, and the cover is crowned by a Chinese rock crystal lion. This decanter was one of two forming a set with a cup made by George Hart in 1862; Burges had conceived the decanters' design in 1858. The Latin inscription on this one indicates that it was paid for with the fee that Burges received for his winning design submitted in 1856 for the Crimea Memorial church in Constantinople. Burges displayed, and occasionally used, the decanters and cup in the dining-room of Tower House, his Gothic Revival home in Kensington, into which he moved in 1878.

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