Mysterious mistletoe pewter (Art Nouveau 5)

Pewter1 I’ve just taken delivery of a pewter beaker and saucer, with mistletoe motif on both.  They’ve come, via Ebay, from France.  I’ve seen similar items before, but this is the first I’ve actually handled.


But what are they?  What is this strange object for? 





Pewter3 Some beakers (probably more accurately ‘tellers’) I’ve seen like this are German, and I assumed this one was too, as the vendor described illegible lettering around the mug rim as ‘German’. 


So I was surprised to find that this lettering (not at all illegible!) is French – and simply states “Au Gui L’An Nouveau” a variant on the usual “Au Gui L’An Neuf” – the traditional French ‘Mistletoe for the New Year slogan.  Can’t think why the vendor didn’t notice this.








But it partially answers the mystery – it’s something for the New Year.  And judging by the obvious wear to the mug sides it has been in regular use – perhaps passed round a drunken crowd in the early hours of January 1st for some decades?


Pewter2 It polishes up rather well – and the form and quality of the decoration (usual botanically accurate branches and leaves but botanically inaccurate berries placed between leaves) is obvious. 




Jules_brateau_a_teller_with_gui_pattern_ But this isn’t a particularly fine example of the type – compare it with this pic of a much classier version, also recently advertised on Ebay.  This has a maker’s name ‘Jules Brateau’ and a date of c 1900.


This ‘posher’ one had a reserve of several £100, but I picked up my version for just £30 – I think I prefer mine, not ‘cos it was cheaper but because it’s obviously been used.

One thought on “Mysterious mistletoe pewter (Art Nouveau 5)

  1. your ignorance and pomposity are truly amazing. jules brateau was the premier french pewterer of the late 19th/early 20th. any any idiot knows worn out items have little value, but check yours for marks. jb signed with a gibbet sybol, a pun on his name. maybe he has come back to bite you for your loud mouth!
    Reply: No need to be rude – I’m a botanist, not an antiques expert. So my ignorance of 19th century French pewterers is to be expected, not something that is ‘truly amazing’. This ignorance is, of course, why I was asking questions about the items in the blog. I’m not sure why you have a problem with this. Why is the entry ‘pompous’ or ‘loud-mouthed’? Your comment fits both these terms very much better than my original entry. But thank you for the information – it is useful and interesting.

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