Wonderful decorative Victorian wine jug in the rococo style. The entire body and base are profusely hand-chased with expanses of acanthus leaves, foliage and scroll-work, while the handle is similarly elaborately decorated.
Rococo first emerged in France during the 1720s and '30s as an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style. Its asymmetry featured natural motifs such as rocks, shells, fish and other marine decorations, plus a highly stylised acanthus leaf signature decoration, all integrated with curved or serpentine lines.
Developed by craftsmen and designers rather than architects, it is found primarily in furniture, silver and ceramics. Although English Rococo flourished between 1740 and 1770, it first appeared in silver and engravings in the 1730s. It was introduced to England by immigrant artists and craftspeople, including Huguenot refugees from France, including the celebrated Paul de Lamerie, who played a key role in its spread.
Possibly the oldest manufacturing silversmith in the world, Barnard Brothers made pieces of the finest order. The large silver-gilt baptismal font used at the baptisms of members of the British Royal Family is a fine example of their work.