English (London)
Designed by Charles Robert Ashbee (English, 1863–1942), Silver executed by Guild of Handicraft Ltd. (English, active 1888–1908)


H. 20 cm (7 7/8 in.); W.16.8 cm (6 5/8 in.); D. 13.2 cm (5 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver, glass, chrysoprase, cork

Not On View





The bulbous green glass bottle has a tall tapering neck. A hammered silver collar, formed from two hinged and pinned pieces, clasps the upper part of the neck. A high looping handle, formed from six joined wires, extends from the collar to an oval mount below. An additional wire brace soldered to the oval mount and the front of the collar follows the curve of the body. The removable cover, set on a cork stopper, is slightly domed with a flaring rim and has a finial set with a chrysophase.

Ashbee-an influential designer, socialist, and reformer-produced radical designs for metalwork which, in their abstract simplicity, have become synonymous with the emergence of Modernism. This decanter, one of a series, is considered a classic of early-twentieth-century design with an austere, linear quality to the characteristic, looping wirework. The glass is based on archaeological finds at Ashbee’s own home, which he mistakenly believed to be Elizabethan but which were actually of the mid-nineteenth century.


On base of handle, maker's mark Gof HLtd (repeated on neck mount and cover); lion passant (repeated on neck mount and cover); leopard's head (repeated on neck mount and cover); date letter "h" [1903]


By inheritance in the family of Ann Symington, England and USA. 1998, with Historical Design Collection, Inc., dealer, New York, NY; 1998, sold by Historical Design Collection to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 18, 1998)

Credit Line

Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour