George III Brass Bound Mahogany Oval Oyster Bucket


Circa 1780   H: 13.5”, 34 cms, W:15.25”, 39 cms, D:13”, 33 cms.  


Circa 1780

Price: £ 1500-00p.

George III Brass Bound Mahogany Oval Oyster Bucket of coopered construction with a folding handle and a brass inner liner.

The history of eating oysters goes back beyond Roman times when they were part of the staple diet. Here in the UK

during the 17th,18th and 19th centuries oyster beds surrounded these islands with hundreds of tons being consumed annually in London alone. Oyster bars were a feature of Georgian London and street vendors of oysters abounded. Famous satirist, essayist, poet and author Jonathan Swift (1667 to 1745) once said: “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” Swift overcame his fear of oysters to become a convert and enthusiastic advocate of oysters. In Swift’s most famous book ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ (1726); the main character and ship’s captain ‘Gulliver’ became shipwrecked and landed at Lilliput, where he collected and ate raw oysters on the beach in order to conserve his food provisions.

Swift even penned instructions on how to boil oysters: “Take oysters, wash them clean that is wash their shells clean, then put the oysters into an earthen pot, with their hollow sides down, then put this pot into a kettle of water, and so let them boil. Your oysters are boiled in their own liquor, and not mixed with water.”

In the 17th and 18th centuries, oysters were used in many varied dishes. Smaller oysters were often eaten raw, and larger oysters were often used in stews or cooked in pies. Oysters were used with pork or mutton to make sausages. Oysters were stuffed inside fowl, such as turkey or duck, and then roasted; and the oysters’ liquor would be poured over the fowl!

Oysters were also pickled for transport to inland towns. The small varieties were often eaten raw and Oyster Buckets such as this example would have graced the very best homes in the country. Due to the availability and cheap cost, oysters were often used as a substitute for beef, pork or lamb in stews and pies. Oysters have often been cited as having aphrodisiac qualities.

H: 13.5”, 34 cms, W:15.25”, 39 cms, D:13”, 33 cms.

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