The Taper

From an aesthetic point of view, the wine decanters made in England and Ireland between 1760 and 1810 are arguably the finest ever made. Domestic design, generally, had reached its apex, inspired by Adam, Palladio and Chippendale. Affluent dining tables were particularly blessed, adorned with crystal and silver serving pieces of unprecedented craftsmanship and beauty.

The finest decanters of this period—the reign of England’s George III—have a style and elegance that are unique in modern history. Gracefully shaped with subtle detail, they were hand-blown, hand-engraved and cut by hand—each decanter unique. This was before the Industrial Revolution of the early 1800’s, when the power of
machines replaced the delicate, skilled touch of the human hand. And though fine Georgian decanters have become painfully rare, the surviving examples have given pleasure to six generations of wine lovers.

During the 1990s, we embarked on a project to replicate the best of these decanters. We asked John Jenkins & Sons, a 108-year-old British glass company, if their craftsmen could replicate one of the prizes in our own collection: a circa-1770 magnum featured in Robin Butler’s landmark book, Wine Antiques.

Those replica magnum decanters are gone now. But, a few years ago we asked Jenkins to recreate a second decanter from our collection: an exquisite bottle-size decanter in the finely engraved taper style of the 1770s. Because of this decanter’s delicacy, the prototype took even longer—a full six years—but it was worth the wait. Our Georgian taper decanter captures the lightness and grace of the classic style that dominated decanter design in the 1770s.

Each of these decanters was made entirely by hand—handblown, cut and engraved—and is signed and numbered on the base.

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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