These aperitif sets were and still are an important part of French culture and tradition. The aperitif, served socially while guests arrive and before seating for dinner, a natural course of a formal dinner, to enliven the taste buds for the pleasure of the meal ahead. Serving sets for aperitif (various liqueurs, depending upon what was to be served later) took on all sorts of delightful playful forms. This is a rare one, but in the manner and from same makers as the ever popular Blackamoor figural ones we all love. There are camels, lions, the wonderful Blackamoor, and the very rare occasional bull. This one is the Egyptian bull, from its form, over whose powerful back and horns the Etruscans are shown leaping in ancient frescoes. These are reminiscent of Napoleon's expansion of the French Empire and show exotic animals and of course the Blackamoor men and women who often have market baskets. Our stately elegant bull is in fine form, a wonderful original patina, and is large. We've had just 1 other bull in over 30 years, and it was smaller and more a domestic bull. This one is truly majestic.
Very good to excellent for age and type. Tough to find these with any cups at all, or without a lot of damage. We always watch for them, and in fact we have 2-3 Blackamoors and a large camel at the warehouse, still searching for more cups to complete them. I digress. Re this one: The base is large, to help you scale the piece, at almost 9" x 6" oval. Decanter with what seems to be a non-working (stuck) spigot, and 6 cups, a couple of which are period but not quite the same as others. There are holders for 10 cups in all, so you can certainly add to it, but 6 are with it now. Of the attending c.1830-50s glassware, 1 barrel and 6 cups, there are no chips, hairlines, cracks, and they're beautiful with raised enamel decoration, all quite beautiful, leaves, vines. The bull is spectacular! The patina is like graphite, undamaged. He wears the unlikely saddle which bears the rack for barrel and cups. Because I wanted to clean the barrel, it is not wire-anchored yet. It would have had a twisted brass wire 'rope' wrapped to anchor it, and it will have it before we send this one out to his next home. Just a mention. The spigot is intact but seems stuck. I didn't try to force it. It might loosen with a little oil, or WD-40 soak. At listing, there is not the little glass stopped to go in top of barrel, but a cork will do, and we'll check our spare stuff stash to see if we have one in glass to fit it. But as of this moment, you'll consider it for a little cork, which often is the case. Measurements are noted on the photos. RARE!