Holly pointed this one out tonight and I had to embloggen. It’s the leather bottle that Baker talks about on p182 as possibly one of the bottles used to collect the wine tax on the Thames.
This extraordinary bottle came from Chatham, where it had remained in the family of the owner for more than seventy years. It seems quite probable that if not actually one of the great black bottles of the Tower of London, in which the literary water-man of James I’s time was wont to exact dues in kind from every wine-laden ship that entered the Thames, it is one of those that succeeded them.
One side of it is enriched with fleur de lis raised in relief, and outlined with stamped stars, as shown in the sketch and in Plate 24. from which a faint idea of its size may be gained, by comparing it to the horn cup photographed with it.
Note the double stitching across the top , the rivets holding the metal cap and the quality of the stamping.
It’s also the inspiration for the first costrel I made. I obviously took too much time lining up the stamping. Nice to see the original weathered the 20th century so well.
I think I probably owe Holly an ale or two next time we’re in the UK as a spotter’s fee.
Here’s the link to the auction listing: Chorley’s – 10 to 11 October (lot 786).
Lot 786 Description
A gigantic leather bottle with bung hole and hinged iron cap embossed with fleur-de-lis and punched with star, 39cm x 35cm (15.25″ x 13.75″)
Provenance: The W J Fieldhouse Collection, Austy Manor, Wootton Wawen and by decent to vendor
Literature: Oliver Baker, Black Jacks and Leather Bottles, Cheltenham 1921, illustration plate 15 and plate 24, fig 67