Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Thomas Jefferson Randolph; by descent to Jefferson Randolph Keane II; by gift to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Accession Number: 1985-6
Historical Notes: Decanter and bottle stands, or "bottle sliders" as they were often called, were essential to the well-appointed dinner table of the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. In 1815 a visitor to Monticello wrote, "The dinner was always choice, and served in the French style; but no wine was set on the table till the cloth was removed."1 With the custom of removing the tablecloth before the dessert of fruit, nuts, and wine, decanter and bottle stands with wooden bases and baize-covered bottoms protected the table surface and no doubt made it easier to slide the bottle from one gentleman to the next.
Decanter stands are usually of greater diameter than bottle stands; great quantities of both were produced in fused silverplate, particularly by Sheffield manufactories. Jefferson included "4. bottle sliders" on his dinner canteen list of 1789, but he did not record the purchase of any while in Paris.2 Jefferson's acquisition of this later decanter stand is also unrecorded, but it was probably included in one of his many purchases of "plated wares." "4 plaited sliders with mahogany bottoms" appear on the inventory of Monticello made after Jefferson's death.3 The arched silver plaque set into the wood base and inscribed "Th Jefferson" in a facsimile signature is believed to be a later addition.