Wine Decanter by Dr. Christopher Dresser For Sale
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Wine Decanter by Dr. Christopher Dresser

About

This iconic wine decanter, designed in 1881 by Dr. Christopher Dresser for London silversmiths Jonathan Wilson Hukin and John Thomas Heath, presciently anticipates the values of 20th century design, such as structural honesty and "form follows function". The historical significance of this decanter was first given recognition in Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s important 1936 book, “Pioneers of Modern Design”.  Dr. Christopher Dresser is widely regarded to be the prototype of a now familiar profession: industrial designer. A celebrity, Dresser's name was used alongside those of the manufacturers in the marketing of the products he designed. He was also one of the very first people in any profession who can be accurately described as "Modernist." After travelling to Japan (not long after it became open to visiting westerners), Dresser brought back to England a large collection of Japanese objects, and even more importantly, those aforementioned radical ideas about aesthetics -- which often stood in direct opposition to prevailing Victorian taste. This decanter is notable for its reliance on pure geometric forms, and freedom from cumbersome and extraneous applied ornamentation. The example we are offering is a very rare special variant of this famous design, with a handle made of bone, as opposed to ebonized wood. This item is stamped with the Hukin & Heath maker's mark, along with a diamond/lozenge mark dating this piece to 1881.  The registered design mark is stamped under the lower handle strut. This piece is in excellent condition, with no flaws or repairs. The bone bar handle is firmly secure and the hinged jug lid closes perfectly. The star-pattern base of the glass body is free of scratches or chips. Literature: Industrial Design Unikate Serienerzeugnisse, Die Neue Sammlung ein neuer Museumstyp des 20. Jahrhunderts, Hans Wichmann (Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1985), p. 131; Christopher Dresser, ein Viktorianischer Designer, 1834-1904 (Cologne: Kunstgewerbemuseum der Stadt Köln, 1981), p. 73, ill. 86, cat. no. 23; Industrial Design, John Heskett (New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 24, illus. 9; Christopher Dresser 1834-1904, Michael Collins (London: Camden Arts Centre, 1979), p. 171, cat. no. 12.  

Details

  • Condition Details
    In excellent condition with no obvious signs of wear.  What tiny blemishes there are are unobjectionable and wholly commensurate with age. The silver is unpolished.
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 8.8 in. x Dm 6 in.

    H 22.36 cm x Dm 15.24 cm

  • Diameter
    6 in. (15.24 cm)
  • Seller location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Reference number
    LU809112273121

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About the Seller

5 / 5
Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2005
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Associations:
20th Century Specialists
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