A Chestnut Vase with Dolphins

This stunning silver chestnut vase has striking dolphin ornaments. Both the knob on the domed smooth cover as well as the three legs are shaped like beautifully detailled dolphins. A horizontal band featuring sphinxes and vase ornaments is applied to the center of the spherical vase and has a rope border along the bottom and top rim.
A chestnut vase was used to hold candied chestnuts (marrons glac├ęs) that were served as part of the dessert course. 

Dutch Fashion

The earliest known silver chestnut vases were made around 1785. Although the chestnut vases were also sometimes used for serving pieces of candied pineapple and other sweetmeats, changing dining habits meant that they were seldom made after 1840. Most chestnut vases were made of pewter, which was then decorated. We also know examples in crystal. Only the most luxurious models were made of silver. Like biscuit boxes, chestnut vases are among the silver items that, as far as we know, were only made in the Netherlands.

Design Drawing

A design drawing of this chestnut vase has survived and was published in the book "Bennewitz and Bonebakker" which was published in 2005 by B.J. van Benthem.

Tekening van een kastanjevaas op dolfijnen, circa 1825
(afb 474, pag 387 Bennewitz en Bonebakker, B.J. van Benthem 2005)


The chestnut vase is marked with the Amsterdam assay-office mark, the alloy mark a standing lion facing right, the date letter V for 1830 and the maker's mark W:S with an anchor above for Willem Frederik Schuss.


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