Tuesday's Titillating Treasure: Marie Antoinette's Ewer & Basin
I visited many wondrous places and saw many wondrous objets d'art during my Grand Tour this previous summer, but it was a rare piece of previous rock crystal that captured (and held) my fancy.
The rock crystal ewer and basin pictured at the left was made by Jean Gaillard in the early 18th century and once belonged to Marie Antoinette. This cleverly designed piece has solid gold mounts and a handle carved in the shape of a young Triton wrestling with a snake-like monster. On the lid (or cover) is a small barking dog. Apparently, in order to pour the liquid, one must blace their thumb in the mouth of dog which releases the cover.
According to the Wallace Collection, only three of these rock cyrstal ewers survive and only two with their basins.
One can imagine Marie Antoinette's delighted, tinkling, bell-like laughter as she discovered the clever mechanism installed on her water ewer!