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Antique English Cut Crystal Decanter Tantalus

Antique English Cut Crystal Decanter Tantalus

$550.00

For the well-appointed bar that has almost everything, we are thrilled to present this magnificent Antique Cut Crystal Three Decanter Tantalus. Acquired at market outside of London, this incredible set is one of the famed, highly sought-after Betjemann's tantalus.

An elegant addition for presenting your prized liquors, this antique tantalus features a top bar with handle that was designed to be locked in place keeping the decanters secure and "to stop servants and younger sons from getting at the whiskey"

This handsome tantalus is beautifully crafted of sturdy oak with a nickel-plated top bar engraved with the initials "HWLB". The exquisite crystal decanters are original to the set and are sure to impress with weighty round stoppers and gorgeous cutwork that has been stained a golden hue. To open the tantalus, depress the metal tab below the lock, which releases the top bar allowing the decanters to be removed.

Perfect for storing and safe-keeping your favorite cognac, whisky or spirits, this rare and stately tantalus will take pride of place on any home bar.


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. Please note: the tantalus no longer has its key and is permanently unlocked. The top bar functions perfectly and keeps the decanters secured, but can not be locked. The tantalus is in good antique condition with patina commensurate with its age mostly on the underside of the nickel-plated bar as shown in the alternate images. The tantalus overall measures 11.75" x 16.5" x 5.25" The crystal decanters are in excellent antique condition and measure 9.25" x 3.5".

Learn More About Tantalus Sets

The Betjemann tantalus was invented in 1881 by Dutch cabinetmaker George Betjemann, the grand-father of noted English poet and broadcaster, Sir John Betjeman. Many believe that the Betjemann tantalus was designed in order to prevent a household’s butler from stealing or sampling the decanters’ contents. However, it is just as likely that the ingenious Betjemann tantalus was another novelty device that became popular with the affluent middle-class of the late-nineteenth century.

The tantalus name is a reference to the "unsatisfied temptations" of the Greek mythological character Tantalus.

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