Antique Silver Owl Decanter


Stock: 10140

Date: Circa 1890

Maker: Gebruder Gutgesell

Country: Germany

A fantastic antique coconut cup finely modelled in the Renaissance style as an owl with hinged wings and figural strapwork....

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A fantastic antique coconut cup finely modelled in the Renaissance style as an owl with hinged wings and figural strapwork. The silver head, with large cut paste eyes surrounded by tuffs of feathers, is detachable and can be used as a drinking cup. The silver base is intricately modelled as a rocky outcrop mounted with applied insects and amphibians.

Total weight, including coconut, 1025 grams.
Height 29.5cm. Spread across the wings 19cm.
Hanau, Germany.
Circa 1890.
Maker Gebruder Gutgesell.
Silver grade 875/1000.

Marks. Stamped on the base with Hanau silver marks on the base rim and the flange. The “13” represents the silver fineness indicated in “loth” (875/1000).

Literature. The offering of a “welcome cup,“ of wine to a guest was a long established tradition throughout Europe, and resulted by the late 16th century in the creation of imaginative animal-form drinking cups with detachable heads. The surviving cups from this period, formed as stags, owls, horses, dogs, and other creatures, comprise some of the most attractive, amusing, and desirable objects ever made in silver or, more usually, silver-gilt. Vessels in the form of game most likely graced the treasuries of princely hunting-lodges, while some of the animals represented those used in the coats-of-arms of a family or the symbols of a guild or corporation. Other cups, such as the horse-form examples, may have been prizes for competitions. Whatever their initial purpose, animal-form cups remain some of the most enchanting links with a vanished age.


The coconut and silver are both in very good condition.

Maker Information

Maker: Gebruder Gutgesell

Gebruder Gutgesell (Valentina and Ferdinand), German silver makers in Hanau. Active from 1883.

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