September 22, 2009 at 3:07 am #11290GarryParticipant
Here’s a Tap Bell of, I believe English origin.
It’s made of abalone Shells mounted in a (for lack of better wording) brass framework.
The brass along the bottom appears to be a lattice work on a rock wall.
Above it is a flowering grape vine with one flower and two bunches of grapes repeated 3 times around the unit.
The bell is hung from a brass rod in the center and struck by a spring mounted external brass wire clapper (see photos).
The base appears to be a white marble and has mounting wires to hold the brass in it (no screws).
The felt on the bottom is quite worn and the edge of the marble is yellowing.
4 inches tall and the base is 3 3/4″ diameter.
I would be interested in dating and narrowing down the history of this bell. I suspect a high end hotel bell of some sort? Perhaps from the 1960’s era?
September 23, 2009 at 1:59 am #15012hjlong3Participant
This bell was probably made in France in the early Victorian era about 1850. I have one with an insert with a painted panel of the cathedral of Lourdes. Many called them a Slave Call Bell as they were common in New Orleans in the mid to late 1800s. These are fairly common, but they are much older than you think. This is a beautiful bell.
Harry Long, MD
September 23, 2009 at 2:02 am #15013GarryParticipant
Chuckle! Thanks Harry!
I had also just posted an update on this one, as I had just found it in one of my Donna Baker books! I must have hit submit at the same time you did, but yours took precedence!
You are spot on!
Here’s what I found:
It’s a “Distinctive French Call Bell” often referred to as a “Slave Call Bell” first used by wealthy women on the Boudoir Table to call their maids. Later, when the French moved to Louisiana they were used to summon the slave servant. It’s a marble base with mother of pearl shells and gold filigree borders. This puts this 19th century bell age around the early to mid 1800’s.
The model I have also came in a version with a bird mounted on top and painted flowers on the shells.
So you nailed it!
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