Rare 18th century Ship’s Barrel


There are some pieces that on first looking, you may wonder why a garden antiques business would be selling an 18th century maritime wooden casket or drum? However, its often love at first sight and this is the nicest, most spectacular antique ships drum I have found, perfect for bringing individuality to home, conservatory décor to display plants or small trees.

Back in the 1700’s, ship’s barrels were manufactured to store a range of goods mostly made of oak, but sometimes chestnut as this piece is.  Chestnut unlike oak wouldn’t have expanded in damp conditions, making this a cut above the rest, perhaps made for the captain or officers. Ships drums or barrels were the mecca for storage going back to Roman times, transporting essentials across oceans as their empire grew.  To preserve foods, meat was often stored in brine in a ships barrel such as this. Alternatively, this may have been a storage barrel for grain. Chestnut was often used for wine as oak barrels imparted vanilla tannin to the wine. Chestnut had the added benefit of being neutral and allowed the wine to age and breath. Italy was a good source for the chestnut barrels and winemakers liked barrels from volcanic soil areas. .

For stability from a moving ship, this barrel or wooden cask is wider at the base (73cm), and still maintains the original iron banding and wooden tap. In superb and in its original condition, this is a delightful piece of maritime history. It has simply had some careful waxing to maximize the colour and depth of grain in the wood.

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Dimensions53 × 57 × 87 cm




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