Maker's mark of Robert Garrard
Height: 78cm, 30.7in
Weight: 9220g, 296 oz 8dwt
Pilgrim bottles date to ancient Roman times in the West and to 7th-century China in the East. They were made in a wide range of materials, including earthenware, porcelain, silver, and glass, and also in more perishable materials such as leather. Originally these vessels may have been carried by travelers on their journeys, but the ones that have survived are so sumptuous that their function was probably purely ornamental. If they were used, it must have been, as in the case of some of the traveling tea or coffee sets of Meissen porcelain, exclusively by the very wealthy. Pottery pilgrim bottles are found in China from the Tang dynasty (618–907), possibly imitations of even earlier metal prototypes dating as far back as the Zhou dynasty (1111–255 BCE). In 16th-century Europe, metal pilgrim bottles—generally of silver or silver gilt and probably of Chinese inspiration—were made mainly in Augsburg, Germany; they were also made in coloured glass (generally green) with ormolu, or gilded brass, mounts. Along with the Chinese blue-and-white Ming (1368–1644) pilgrim bottles, the most famous are the pear-shaped stoneware bottles made at Meissen by Johann Friedrich Böttger.
By the 19th century maker's such as Robert Garrard as with this example produced decorative vessels for perhaps one of the great exhibitios such as Crystal Palce or indeed a prize for horse racing. It is very rare to find the size one see here with our lovely example.
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