Antique 3-bottle satinwood & silver-plated tantalus

Antique 3-bottle satinwood & silver-plated tantalus

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Smart ,Victorian tantalus frame inlaid with satinwood veneers and mounted with silver-plated fixtures and lock. The bottles and stoppers are in excellent condition; each hand cut with diamond and hobnail patterns. To release the bottles, turn the key to the left, remove the key and push down on the lock mechanism and swing the handle left or right.

The concept of lockable decanters where the contents could be viewed but not opened or poured unless the case was opened by a key and was named after the Greek mythological mortal, Tantalus. Legend has it that Tantalus stole ambrosia and nectar from the gods and was punished for his lack of self-control by being made to stand in a lake with low hanging fruit trees above him. Whenever he tried to grab the fruit the branches would lift beyond his reach and when he bent to drink the water the lake would recede from him. This punishment of temptation is where the word tantalise comes from and the tantalus is often believed to have been designed to prevent household staff from stealing or sampling the decanter's contents.


Height 320 mm / 12 "
Width 365 mm / 14 "
Depth 150 mm / 6"