!--End Cookie Script-->

A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU

an article of Giorgio Busetto - www.silvercollection.it
for ASCAS
- Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
a small collection of antique silver and objects of vertu
click on images to enlarge

A FORGOTTEN OBJECT: THE SILVER WARMER


When central heating was not available, besides stove and fireplace, another heating item was used in ancient times: the warmer (or brazier).
It was a container in metal, terracotta or ceramic filled with embers and warm ash used as personal heating support and bed warming.
The female custom to hold the warmer next to the body or under the garment is at the origin of the Dutch popular believing that women could be made pregnant simply holding the warmer on their womb.
A similar believing was present also in Tuscany, but in this case the responsible was a winged pretty airy fairy (folletto) who introduced itself in the body of the woman and she was made pregnant (see endnote).

a 'folletto' or pretty airy fairy makes the woman pregnant
 
a pretty airy fairy (folletto) makes pregnant the woman holding the warmer



famille-rose 19th century enamel porcelain warmer
The warmers had a metal liner to avoid the direct contact of the live coal with the external surface. The ceramic warmers were painted on the sides and on the lid with rich floral decorations, scenes of daily life or landscapes..
'famille-rose' ceramic warmer
(19th century)
 
A particular item was the bed-warmer. It had a turned wood handle and, in Italy, was used into an appropriate support to avoid damage to blankets.

turned wood handle Victorian bed warmer
bed warmer support






 
Victorian bed-warmer with long wood handle and the support used in Italy to protect the blankets

In Italy, the silver warmer was of oval or circular shape with pierced lid for a better diffusion of the warmth (the holes were called 'sfiatatoi'), wood or metal feet, elaborate scroll handle with a wood or ivory support on the centre.

The 18th and the 19th century production of silver warmers attained a high artistic level, with models which followed step by step the taste and the stilistic evolution of their time (ornamentation with flowers, leaves, masks, geometric bands, gadroons, beadworks ...).
This item was a typical artifact produced by the most renown silversmiths throughout Italy (Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan) (see below).




silver warmer of oval shape, standing on four ball and foliate feet, pierced on the body and on the lid, scroll handle,
silver warmer of oval shape, standing on four ball and foliate feet, pierced on the body and on the lid, scroll handle. Silversmith Lorenzo Zandonati, Bologna, 18th century, second half

silversmith  Lorenzo Zandonati, Bologna, 18th century, second half: hallmark
Silversmith Lorenzo Zandonati, Bologna,
18th century, second half
 

silver warmer of circular shape, standing on four paw feet, gadrooned embossed body, pierced lid with floral motif, double scroll handle
silver warmer of circular shape, standing on four paw feet, gadrooned embossed body, pierced lid with floral motif, double scroll handle. Presumably Naples, 1824/1832.

Presumably Neaples, 1824/1832
 

silver warmer of oval shape, standing on four paw feet, pierced lid with floral motifs
silver warmer of oval shape, standing on four paw feet, pierced lid with floral motifs. Silversmith Giannotti Angelo, Rome, 1824-1865 silversmith  Giannotti Angelo, Rome, 1824-1865: hallmark
Silversmith Giannotti Angelo, Rome, 1824-1865
 

silver warmer of circular shape standing on a plain feet, body gadrooned and with large floral band, pierced lid and bud finial
silver warmer of circular shape standing on a plain feet, body gadrooned and with large floral band, pierced lid and bud finial. Silversmith Menazzi Girolamo, Rome, 1802-1835

silversmith Menazzi Girolamo, Rome, 1802-1835: hallmark
Silversmith Menazzi Girolamo, Rome, 1802-1835
 



silver bed warmer of circular shape with ebonized turned wood handle, large chiselled band on the body and on the lid
silver bed warmer of circular shape with ebonized turned wood handle, large chiselled band on the body and on the lid. Silversmith Biagio Giordano, Naples, 1774-1793
silversmith Biagio Giordano, Napoli, 1774-1793 1802-1835: hallmark
Silversmith Biagio Giordano, Neaples, 1774-1793
 

silver bed warmer of circular shape with turned wood handle. Plain body and pierced lid. Milan, about 1820
silver bed warmer of circular shape with turned wood handle. Plain body and pierced lid. Milan about 1820

Milan about 1820
 



silver warmer of oval shape standing on oval beaded foot. Body engraved with monogram FO and decorative motifs, pierced lid with leaves
silver warmer of oval shape standing on oval beaded foot. Body engraved with monogram FO and decorative motifs, pierced lid with leaves. Silversmith Angelo Codacci, Florence, 1773-1821

silversmith Angelo Codacci, Florence, 1773-1821: hallmark
Silversmith Angelo Codacci, Florence, 1773-1821
 

silver warmer of oval shape standing on four paw feet. Plain body, pierced lid with double wood handles.Swivelling double scroll handle with central ebonized wood support
silver warmer of oval shape standing on four paw feet. Plain body, pierced lid with double wood handles.Swivelling double scroll handle with central ebonized wood support. Silversmith O. Pini, Florence, ... 1811 ...

silversmith O. Pini, Florence, ... 1811 ...: hallmark silversmith O. Pini, Florence, ... 1811 ...: hallmark
Silversmith O. Pini, Florence, ... 1811 ...
 

(endnote) the tradition of women rendered pregnant by fire was well known in ancient Etruria and is mentioned in Roman age by Plinius and Livius. They report that Ocresia (a prisoner of war of noble origins) was rendered pregnant by the fire of the domestic Lares (household gods) generating in such way Servius Tullius, who, after the death of his spouse's father Tarquinius Priscus (Tarquin the Elder), was elected the sixth King of Rome.


English home page
www.silvercollection.it


This is a page of Silvercollection.it "A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu", a 1000 pages widely illustrated website offering all you wish to know about antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths (Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington), history, oddities ...

HOME PAGE - SITE MAP - SILVER DICTIONARY