So, we're pretty sure this is a depiction of Dom Perignon but, since it's not marked other than the maker's signature/mark, it's impossible to say for sure but isn't the resemblance about overwhelming proof? He's even clutching four bottles of his wares along with a basket filled with other goodies. Amazing size, the piece stands just under 19" in total height and both the detail and condition are amazing! Look at his hands and the old skeleton keys dangling from a ring held by his right hand. Fabulous! The cordials are not original, not sure what would have been in that barrel originally but they fit perfectly. His head and neck are hinged and open back to expose a hidden compartment that extends roughly 9" down into the body, tapered toward the bottom. Not large enough to hold a bottle of Dom but could surely hold some cigars. The base/plinth bears the marking that reads "" for Carl von Bergen of Switzerland. Not much is known about this company, but it was one of the few that signed its carvings, especially the very special works, which was very important for collectors. The company was represented at various exhibitions, such as Vienna 1873, Philadelphia 1876 and Zurich 1883.
Dom Pérignon (1638–1715) was a monk and cellar master at the Benedictine abbey in Hautvillers. He pioneered a number of winemaking techniques around 1670, being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve the quality of wines, balance one element with another in order to make a better whole, and deal with a number of their imperfections, perfecting the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes by clever manipulation of the presses, enhancing the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to naturally induce secondary fermentation in the spring; being a master at deciding when to bottle these wines in order to capture the bubble. He also introduced corks (instead of wood), which were fastened to bottles with hemp string soaked in oil in order to keep the wines fresh and sparkling, and used thicker glass in order to strengthen the bottles (which were prone to explode at that time). The development of sparkling wines as the main style of production in Champagne occurred progressively in the 19th century, more than a century after Dom Pérignon's death. A remarkable and RARE piece, don't miss it!
Very good to excellent condition. There is a chip to the rim of the barrel that holds the cups, near the back and possibly a small nip or two to the carving but, as you can see, no notable damage, breaks or repairs. As noted, the small cordials or goblets are not original. See pictures for all measurements.