Mechanical Gilt Bronze & Crystal Tantalus
Made in France, this remarkable and unusual liquor set is made of crystal, blown glass, and finely-chased gilt bronze. Featuring full-relief sculptures of laurels and foliage, it holds 21 small glasses and three liquor bottles with stoppers (one of the three is a replacement of the same size and similar style). The bottles are held in place by gilt-bronze leaves that descend from the upper section of the tantalus, also made of crystal and painted with gold. A key is used in the central column to unlock and lift the top, releasing the bottles.
Dimensions: 17 x 17 x 16 in.
Date: c. 1850