An interesting handled 'onion' serving bottle with a diamond-point inscription, early 18th century

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Lot 118
An interesting handled 'onion' serving bottle with a diamond-point inscription, early 18th century

Sold for £ 12,500 (US$ 15,204) inc. premium
An interesting handled 'onion' serving bottle with a diamond-point inscription, early 18th century
The squat onion applied with a flattened loop handle with a pronounced thumbrest, a single ring trailed just below the neck rim, a small kick-up underneath, the body inscribed in diamond point with a Latin text 'Ego, Diaconos Celer...', 17cm high including thumbrest

Footnotes

  • The curious text is written in an unconventional form of Latin and therefore it is not easy to transcribe. It can perhaps be read as follows.

    Ego, Diaconos Celer
    Uisquibano istum vitris im reptus-
    Grato amicis meis, mehimet grato-
    latris et gutture sempir harato.
    Haurio in memorim sanet Patricia
    Insignis potatitus fumo it Whiski

    The first line can be translated literally as 'I Deacon Swift'. The rest loosely translated possibly refers to filling this glass in thanks to my friend and drinking in memory of my homeland with good drinks and whisking smoke.

    This bottle could well be associated with Dean (Jonathan) Swift, the satirist and author of Gulliver's Travels. Jonathan Swift wrote in Latin and he even wrote his own epitaph in Latin. More significantly he played around with Latin words in something he called 'Latino-Anglicus'. Using his own fanciful form of Latin to amuse his friends, it is quite possible that Jonathan Swift might have described himself as Diaconos Celer as a play on words – especially if he was enjoying some good wine with a friend. Swift had been ordained as a Deacon of the Irish Church by the Bishop of Kildare in 1695, so this is a title he is likely to have used during the early part of the 18th century at the time this bottle was produced.

    David Burton, Antique Sealed Bottles (2015) records sealed bottles made for Jonathan Swift and for his cousin Thomas Swift. Burton also publishes a quote from Swift's later writings where he discusses the use of wine bottles. It is therefore quite tempting to think the present lot was inscribed by a writer with an interest in bottles and a fascination with the Latin language.
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An interesting handled 'onion' serving bottle with a diamond-point inscription, early 18th century
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