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Carafes and glasses in Cruikshank’s The Mulberry-Tree, 1808.

September 5, 2019 Leave a comment

Cruikshank. The Mulberry-Tree. 1808. [1]

The “vine-juice” mentioned in The Mulberry-Tree below, is being enjoyed in Cruikshank’s illustration by three gentlemen sitting at a table underneath a mulberry tree.  The wine is found both in the full glass each man holds and in the two carafes resting on the table.  The carafes are triple-ringed, broad shouldered types with very narrow lips.  I would venture they date within a decade or so of the engraving.  Carafes do not use stoppers, as such the inside of the neck is not ground for a tight fit.  Unlike a decanter, they would have been filled in the cellar then put on the table for immediate use.

Cruikshank. The Mulberry-Tree. 1808. [1]

THE MULBERRY-TREE.

The sweet brier grows in the merry green wood,
Where the musk-rose diffuses his perfume so free,
But the blight often seizes both blossom and bud,
While the mildew flies over the mulberry tree.

In the nursery rear’d like the young tender vine,
Mankind of all orders, and ev’ry degree,
First crawl on the ground, then spring up like the pine,
And some branch and bear fruit, like the mulberry- tree.

To the fair tree of knowledge some twine like a twig,
While some sappy sprouts with their fruits disagree;
For which we from birch now and then pluck a twig,
Which is not quite so sweet as the mulberry tree.

The vast tree of life we all eagerly climb,
And impatiently pant at its high top to be,
Tho’ nine out of ten are lopp’d off in their prime,
And they drop like dead leaves from the mulberry- tree.

Some live by the leaf, and some by the bough,
As the song or the dance, their vocation may be,
And some live and thrive, tho’ we know no more how,
Than the dew that flies over the mulberry tree.

But like weeping willows we hang down the head,
When poor wither’d elders we’re destin’d to be,
And we’re minded no more than mere logs when we’re dead,
Or the dew that flies over the mulberry tree.

Yet like lignum-vitae we hearts of oak wear,
Or the cedar that keeps from the canker-worm free,
While the vine juice, we drain to dissolve ev’ry care,
Like the dew that flies over the mulberry tree.


[1] Cruikshank. The Mulberry-Tree.  London, 1808.  Museum number: 1869,1009.30. Prints and Drawings, The British Museum.  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). URL: https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1670714&partId=1

A 15th century Image of a Man Harvesting Grapes

Detail from Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 963. Petrus <Pictaviensis, Cancellarius>. Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi. [2]

Peter of Poitiers (c. 1130 – 1215) or in Latin Petrus Pictaviensis Cancellarius, was a French scholastic theologian, who was a professor and chancellor of the Church of Paris.[1]  In response to the lack of education of illiterate clerics and poor students, Peter of Poitiers created a series of manuscripts detailing different stages of Biblical history.  Contemporaneously known as Compendium Historiae in Genealogia Christi they feature “historical trees” with names inscribed within circles connected by lines to illustrate relationships.  Alongside these trees appear brief bibliographic details.  The Compendium includes other illustrations, which is where my interest lies, particularly in the detailed image of a man harvesting grapes.

The image is of a 15th century copy of the Compendium held by the Vatican.  The image was first held online by the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg [2] then was rescanned by the Vatican in 2018. [3]  It shows a man in medieval clothes harvesting grapes from a trellised vineyard using a knife.  He has filled a large basket with black grape clusters and appears to have switched to a smaller hand basket.  The trellis is constructed of wooden rods set in the ground and lashed together with rope or cane.  The vines are intertwined amongst the trellis.  The vineyard itself sits on lush, green grass with perhaps a few small flowers.

The grape leaves are veined and appear in different shades of green.  The grape clusters combine lighting and shadowing to illustrate each individual berry.  I find this quite pleasing.

Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 963. Petrus <Pictaviensis, Cancellarius>. Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi. [2]


[1] Monroe, William H. A Roll-Manuscript of Peter of Poitier’s Compendium. The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Mar., 1978), pp. 92-107. Published by: Cleveland Museum of Art. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25159572

[2] Vatikan, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 963. Petrus <Pictaviensis, Cancellarius>. Arbor consanguinitatis et affinitatis ; Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi — Deutschland, 15. Jh. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. URL: https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/bav_pal_lat_963/0009

[3] Shelfmark: Pal.lat.963. Author: Petrus <Pictaviensis, Cancellarius>. Title: Arbor consanguinitatis et affinitatis ; Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi. Date: 15. Jh. Place: Deutschland. Rights Attribution: Images Copyright Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. URL: https://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Pal.lat.963/0009

Two 19th c. variants on “Madeira Wine A Parody” of the song “The Willow”

I find that “Madeira Wine” is a riot of a song particularly since I love both the drink itself and its history.  It appears in at least two published instances during the early 19th century.  The only dated instance is from October 17, 1808, in the Baltimore newspaper Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette.  The second instance is an anonymously published single sheet of music held by The Library of Congress dated to the first decade of the 19th century.  It is credited to “a Baltimorean” whom I take to be the same for both.

“Madeira Wine” is a self-titled parody on the song “The Willow” which is an Elizabethan folk song dating to the late 16th century.  This folk song is famously sung by Desdemona in William Shakespeare’s Othello.   Several times Desdemona sings ,”willow, willow, willow”.  The sheet music fully parodies “The Willow” which we see logically progress as more and more Madeira is consumed.  At first there is, “Mellow mellow mellow” then “Tipsy tipsy tipsy” and finally “I’m drunk, I’m drunk, I’m drunk”.

There is perhaps an allusion taking place in “Madeira Wine”.  I am no musicologist so bear with me. When Desdemona sings “The Willow” she is foretelling her eventual death.  Madeira was certainly the wine of America with Port and Claret that of England.  When the song was published, the turbulent times between America and England were soon to escalate into the War of 1812.  Could the Baltimorean be alluding to the troubles of the time?

Madeira Wine Newspaper

A Parody…Madeira Wine. Oct 17, 1808. [1]

A PARODY
On the famous Song “The Willow,”...to
the same tune.
MADEIRA WINE.

O fill me up another glass of that Madeira
Wine,
O fill me up another glass…for ’tis extremely fine,
I like the taste…so pray make haste,
A bump fill for me;
For here I sit…not quite drunk yet,
Altho’ I’ve drank so free.

I love to drink Madeira…no other Wine
endure,
I love to drink Madeira when it is old &
pure.
Of my full cask…a single flask
Is all that’s left to me;
That flask I’ll try…’tho’ here am I
Half tipsy as you see.
Half-tipsy tipsy
Half-tipsy as you see.

I once lov’d Port and Claret.. I thought
it ne’er would end,
I once lov’d Port and Claret…and so did
you my friend.
My Port so stout…is all drank out,
The Claret’s sour to me;
And I’ve drank fine, Madeira Wine,
Until I’m drunk you see–
I’m drunk, I’m drunk, I’m drunk,
Until I’m drunk you see!!!

Madeira Wine Sheet Music

Madeira wine a parody on the Willow. The LOC. [2]

MADEIRA WINE.
A Parody on the WILLOW.
By A BALTIMOREAN

O fill me up a_nother glass, Of that Madeira Wine,
O fill me up a_nother glass, For ’tis extremely fine
like the taste so pray make haste A Bumper fill for me For here I sit not
quite drunk yet, But mellow as you see Mellow mellow mellow But
mellow as you see.

2

I love to drink Madeira, no other wine endure,
I love to drink Madeira, when it is old and pure;
Of my full cask, a single flask, is all that’s left to me,
That flask I’ll try, tho’ here am I; half tipsy as you see.
Tipsy, &c.

3

I once lov’d Port and Claret, I thought it ne’er would end,
I once lov’d Port and Claret, and so did you my friend;
My Port so stout, is all drank out, the Claret’s sour to me,
And I’ve drank fine, Madeira wine, until I’m drunk you see.
I’m drunk, &c.

 


[1] Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette Monday, Oct 17, 1808, Baltimore, MD Vol: I Issue: 46 Page: 2

[2] Madeira wine a parody on the Willow. [180u, monographic. Publisher not indicated, 180] Notated Music. https://www.loc.gov/item/2015562175/.

Wine glasses and pitchers in the Friendship Album of Moyses Walens

Album Amicorum of Moyses Walens, of Cologne. The British Library. [1]

This fantastic dining scene caught my attention when The British Library Tweeted it earlier this summer.  It appears in the friendship album of Moyses Walens, of Cologne, and is from the same period as the Album Amicorum of Gervasius Fabricius, of Saltzburg.  This particular scene includes two additional details not seen in the Fabricius album: the storage and serving of the wine.  In the foreground bottom, are two large pitchers of wine cooling in a fountain of running water. In the left background, a standing man, his attention focused, is pouring white wine from a pitcher held by his outstretched arm into the wine glass of a gentleman in gold, seated at the table.  The glass is clear, large, and quite substantial, perhaps a variant of the tazza, with at least two large knops on the stem.  At the same table, the women with the pink striped dress and black hat with gold trim, holds a more delicate, clear glass containing white wine.

Detail from Album Amicorum of Moyses Walens, of Cologne. The British Library. [1]


[1]  Album Amicorum of Moyses Walens, of Cologne. 1605–15. Shelfmark:  Add MS 18991. The British Library. URL: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/friendship-album-of-moyses-walens

Wine glasses in the Friendship Album of Gervasius Fabricius

Album Amicorum of Gervasius Fabricius, of Saltzburg. The British Library. [1]

When German and Dutch speaking students took tours through Europe during the mid-16th through mid-17th centuries, they kept friendship albums.  In these albums they would collect paintings and drawings of what they saw and experienced.  The picture featured in this post shows a group of men and women dining outside at a seaside estate.  There are three different styles of glasses.  Three men at the table are holding tall, clear flutes, two with white wine and one with red.  The man in the center foreground appears to offer a metal or painted gold-colored coupe of red wine to a seated lady.  Finally, the seated man in the background at the back end of the table, holds more of a goblet-shaped gold-colored vessel.  One detail I do not see is any serving vessel for the wine.

Detail from Album Amicorum of Gervasius Fabricius, of Saltzburg. The British Library. [1]


[1] Album Amicorum of Gervasius Fabricius, of Saltzburg. 1595-1637. Shelfmark: Add MS 17025. The British Library. URL: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/friendship-album-of-gervasius-fabricius-zu-klesheim

A brief history of the 1928 Collection du Docteur Barolet (Henri de Villamont) Pommard-Epenots

A Brief History

According to the Christie’s auction house, the wines of Dr. Albert Barolet have their origins in a business created by his father Mr. Arthur Barolet.[1]  Mr. Arthur Barolet would purchase wine in barrel for delivery to his cellar in Beaune.  Here the wine would undergo elevage, bottling, and maturation at which point it was privately sold to various customers.

Map of Pommard from Camille Rodier “Le Vin de Bourgogne” c.1920.

There appears to be but few records regarding the Barolet firm which might be the result of it dealing with mostly private clients.  The firm of Arthur Barolet et Fils was founded in 1830.  This date is found on a blank menu titled “Gargantua aux Hospices de Beaune” from 1906 as well as on company letterhead from the 1940s.[2] In the early 20th century, there are a few listings of the firm mostly with regards to the annual sales of wine at the Hospices de Beaune.

Service announcement for the death of Arthur Barolet, 18 November 1931. [3]

Arthur Barolet passed away in 1931 at the Hospices de Beaune. [3]  The business was taken over by Dr. Albert Barolet who placed a few advertisements for the sale of barrels over the next few years.  The public side of the company appears to leave few traces after this point.

Advertisement by Dr. Albert Barolet during 1934. [4]

Upon Dr. Albert Barolet’s death in 1969, the wines were left to his two sisters who in turn sold the wine off to the Swiss firm Henri de Villamont.  That fall, Harry Waugh, wine director at Harvey’s of Bristol, visited the Barolet mansion.  Here he found tens of thousands of binned bottles with vintages dating back to 1911.  The youngest vintages, such as 1959, were still in wood.

The Villamont firm agreed to a major auction with Christie’s in order to determine the market pricing.  The bottles were unlabeled so new labels had to be created.  The Dr. Barolet wines continued to be sold after the first Christie’s auction in 1969.  According to Michael Broadbent’s notes, there was at least a second tranche released which had been recorked by de Villamont.

Local Sales of Dr. Barolet Wines

Dr. Barolet Wines offered at MacArthur Liquors’ Grand Opening, May 7, 1972. [5]

The wines were also available in the Washington, DC area beginning in 1972.  The pricing at MacArthur Liquors puts them in the range of the then recently released wines of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.  In reviewing two distinct periods of advertisements by Woodley Discount Wines & Spirits, also of Washington, DC, we can see that the prices nearly doubled between 1972 and 1979.

  • 1928 Dr. Barolet, Pommard-Rugiens – $26.95 in 1972
  • 1928 Dr. Barolet, Pommard-Rugiens – $69.95 in 1979
  • 1929 Dr. Barolet, Beaune – $17.95 in 1972
  • 1935 Dr. Barolet, Vosne Romanee Malconsorts – $49.95 in 1979
  • 1937 Dr. Barolet, Chambolle Musigny – $39.95  in 1979
  • 1937 Dr. Barolet, Gevrey Chambertin – $18.95 in 1972
  • 1937 Dr. Barolet, Grands Echezeaux – $18.95 in 1972
  • 1937 Dr. Barolet, Grands Echezeaux – $39.95 in 1979

The Bottle

The bottle of 1928 Collection du Docteur Barolet (Henri de Villamont) Pommard-Epenots features a tan label which is both torn and stained.  It appears to have been damp at some point resulting in an awkward positioning.

The back of the bottle features two gold foil stickers, one from the auction house and one from the importer.  This particular bottle was purchased at the 2006 Acker Merrall & Condit auction of Rudy Kurniawan’s “THE Cellar”.  The 1,700 lots which were sold brought in nearly $11 million.  As the bottle came from Kurniawan’s cellar it is immediatley suspect as a fake.  The importer strip label declares the contents as “3/4 QUART” which would date the label prior to the fall of 1976 when the metric system was adopted by liquor companies in America.  It also features a spelling mistake in the statement, “IMPORTED EXCUSIVELY FOR: VINTAGE CELLARS” which appears to reference a company that did not exist in the early 1970s.  The strip label itself is found over the embossed “75 cl” at the bottom of the glass wine bottle.

The metal capsule is clearly not from the 1920s nor is the cork.  The cork has some age to it and could possibly originate from 1969 or later when Henri de Villamont offered a tranche of recorked bottles.  There are no marks on the sides of the cork but the top does bear a circle with “F.S.” inside of it.

Detecting whether the wine in the bottle was blended by Rudy Kurniawan or is the real thing is a bit of a task.  It is a long-held belief that Dr. Barolet doctored his wines.  Back in 1990, the great collector Lloyd Flatt felt the wines had either see the addition of Port or Brandy.[6]  This is echoed in the opinion of John Tilson who was told Cognac was added to the barrels.

When I saw the mark on the cork, a particular phrase came to mind which is the exact same phrase that occured to my friend.  After I showed him my various pictures of the bottle, labels, and then the cork he quipped, “Fake Sh*t.”


[1] COLLECTION DU DOCTEUR BAROLET. Christie’s Fine and Rare Wines, Sale #1206, New York, 19 March 2003.

[2] “Gargantua aux Hospices de Beaune” published by Arthur Barolet et Fils. FR212316101__menus__M_III_01906. Bibliotheque municipale de Dijon.

[3] Le Progrès de la Côte-d’Or : journal politique. Dijon. 20 November 1931. Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Droit, économie, politique, JO 88353 URL: http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32844000t

[4] Le Progrès de la Côte-d’Or : journal politique. Dijon. 12 August 1934. Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Droit, économie, politique, JO 88353. URL: http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32844000t

[5] Grand Opening advertisement for Addy Bassin’s MacArthur Liquors.  May 7, 1972.  The Sunday Star.

[6] Berger, Dan. “At New Orleans Tasting, Everyone Raised a Glass to Vintage Burgundies”. May 3, 1990.  The Los Angeles Times.

[7] Tilson, John. “THE SORDID STORY OF WINE MANIPULATION & WINE FRAUD COVERING OVER 40 YEARS OF TASTING OLD WINES”. The Underground Wineletter. URL: https://www.undergroundwineletter.com/2012/01/the-sordid-story-of-wine-manipulation-wine-fraud-covering-over-40-years-of-tasting-old-wines/

Early 19th century decanters with Logic, Jerry, Tom, and Corinthian Kate

An Introduction, Gay moments of Logic, Jerry, Tom and Corinthian Kate. From Pierce Egan’s Life in London , 1823. [1]

Thoughts of old decanters led me to publish this post featuring Tom, Jerry, Logic, and Corinthian Kate.  You might recognize the three men for I feature them as the title image in my Fine, Rare, and Capital Old Wine page.  If you look closely at the table you will see a trio of three-ringed decanters of which two contain red wine.  These two decanters are placed in coasters.  Perhaps they contain claret?

egan-pierce-life-838i2-064423_detail

Detail from An Introduction, Gay moments of Logic, Jerry, Tom and Corinthian Kate. From Pierce Egan’s Life in London , 1823. [1]


[1]Egan, Pierce.  Life in London. 1823.  The British Library.  Shelfmark: 838.i.2.  URL: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/pierce-egans-life-in-london

“[A] choice parcell of Madeira Wines…&…the best Gundpower”: A Madeira advertisement from Charleston in 1735

South-Carolina Gazette Tuesday, Jun 07, 1735. [1]

In early 18th century America, merchants typically sold a variety of goods rather than specializing in one.  It is common to see their advertisements list Madeira alongside such items as beer, nails, fabrics, and paper.  My attention was caught then by a unique offering of “a choice parcell of Madeira wines & likewise a quantity of the best Gunpowder” which ran during the summer of 1735 in the South Carolina Gazette.[1]  This was just three years after the Gazette became the first newspaper to publish south of Virginia in 1732 and just five years before the fire of 1740 burned half of the city.  Madeira and gunpowder might seem an odd combination but it must be remembered that Charles Town was a walled city designed to defend against attacks from the Spanish, French, and pirates.  Development did begin to expand rapidly beyond the town walls when this advertisement ran during the 1730s.  It appears, though, that there was still a need for gunpowder.

The ichnography of Charles-Town at high water. 1739. [3]

Cleland & Wallace sold this Madeira out of their store at the Widow King’s house on Broad Street.  Broad Street originated at the half-moon battery then ran west.  Today, the foundation of the battery lies under the Old Exchange at Broad Street and East Bay Street.  The house is described as “opposite to the Market in Broad-street”[3]  The market was located at the north-east corner of Broad Street and Meeting Street since the 17th century.  It has since been replaced by Charleston City Hall. There are several possible locations for Widow King’s house located on each corner of the intersection. If the Widow King’s house was located in these areas, it would have survived the 1740 fire.  This fire destroyed homes and buildings from East Bay to the north-west corner of Broad Street and Church Street.  In other words, the Widow King’s house was one block away from the destruction.  In the wake of the fire, the city saw significant fire-proof rebuilding.  I do not know if this is when the house was rebuilt but it is no longer standing for a picture.


[1] South-Carolina Gazette Tuesday, Jun 07, 1735 Charleston, SC Page: 3
[2] The ichnography of Charles-Town at high water. B. Roberts and W. H. Toms. 1739. File Name: 29852-000. Image Collections, The John Carter Brown Library. URL: https://jcb.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/JCBMAPS~1~1~2833~101286:The-ichnography-of-Charles-Town-at-
[3] South-Carolina Gazette Tuesday, May 03, 1735 Charleston, SC Page: 3

“Rich and Rare Wines”: The 19th c. Madeira advertisements of Higham Fife & Co. of Charleston

Southern Patriot, 1830, 12, 09. Charleston, SC. [1]

The firm of Higham, Fife & Co. was founded by Thomas Higham and James Fife in January 1820.[2]  They were first located at 43 East Bay in Charleston, South Carolina where they traded in a variety of goods including Madeira.  By the fall of 1820, Higham & Fife was selling old London Particular, Malmsey, and “very fine Tinto”.[3]  They soon established an agency with the Madeira house of Newton, Gordon, Murdoch, & Scott in 1822, by which time they have moved their store to 75 East Bay.[4]  They advertised as the “only authorized Agents” of Newton, Gordon, Murdoch, and Scott Madeira wines in South Carolina.[1]  Through the early 1830s, their advertisements often list not only new, old, and “extra old” Madeira but also the undoubtedly more expensive offerings of Malmsey, Sercial, and Tinto.

Charleston Courier Friday, Sep 12, 1834 Charleston, SC. [5]

The Madeira listings begin to change in 1834 with an offer of 4 pipes of an 1827 reserve which was sent on an East Indian voyage. [5]  This wine was noted “for its richness, fine flavor, and full body.”  The following year an even more detailed offering was made. [6]  This was comprised of 1825 “very OLD MADEIRA”, 1824 “rich old SERCIAL”, 1824 “old and finely flavored MALMSEY”, and 1834 “very superior BURGUNDY”.  Given the rarity of these wines, they were sold in small 13 gallon casks.  Note how the Burgundy Madeira, given that it was the current released vintage, was recommended both new and old.

Charleston Courier Thursday, Sep 10, 1835 Charleston, SC. [6]

The firm continued to operate and sell Madeira under Higham, Fife & Co. until the death of James Fife in 1846. [7]  During this period they spent more than two decades at 75 East Bay Street.

75 East Bay St, Charleston, SC.

Today, 75 East Bay is located one building south of the intersection of Tradd Street and East Bay Street.  It is not clear to me when the building was constructed, though Zillow lists it as 1816.  The address has been in use since at least 1790.  It is a two-storey stucco building with a flat roof.  When it was surveyed in 1972, the front door did not have a transom.  On the second floor, there was no central door nor porch. Instead there were three symmetrical, shuttered windows.  In a postcard image from the 1920s, the street level had the appearance of a store-front with large, plate-glass windows.  Barring the plate-glass, I imagine this is similar to the configuration when Higham and Fife were operating.


[1] Southern Patriot Dec 09, 1830 Charleston, SC. Genealogy Bank.
[2] Southern Patriot Friday, Jan 07, 1820 Charleston, SC Page: 3. Genealogy Bank.
[3] Charleston Courier Monday, Oct 30, 1820 Charleston, SC Vol: XVIII Issue: 6476 Page: 1. Genealogy Bank.
[4] Charleston Courier Tuesday, Dec 31, 1822 Charleston, SC Page: 3. Genealogy Bank.
[5] Charleston Courier Friday, Sep 12, 1834 Charleston, SC Page: 3. Genealogy Bank.
[6] Charleston Courier Thursday, Sep 10, 1835 Charleston, SC Page: 3. Genealogy Bank.
[7] Southern Patriot Tuesday, Jan 06, 1846 Charleston, SC Vol: LV Issue: 8249 Page: 3. Genealogy Bank.

Chateau Camino-Salva in Cocks-Féret (1901)

Bordeaux et ses vins classés par ordre de mérite (7e éd…). 1901. Cocks & Féret. [1]

“Les vins de Camino-Salva se distinguent par beaucoup de corps, une belle couleur et un parfum tres abundant.”[1]


[1] Bordeaux et ses vins classés par ordre de mérite. Cocks, Charles and Féret, Édouard. 1901. Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l’homme, 8-LK7-1082 (BIS,C). URL: https://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb302537639