A 'fruiting vine Thomason-type corkscrew
This is a fine example of a "Fruiting Vines and Autumnal Fruits" variation of Sir Edward Thomason's 1802 patent corkscrew and one of the best examples I have had. In Fletcher Wallis' numbering, this is a Thomason VIII, but really does not convey the artistry and visual appeal that it has.
The bright, bronze barrel is full size and is cast with grapes, flowers, fruit (medlars?) with vine and other foliage. It is also decorated with narrow bands of engine turning or milling. The helix is long and complete with a good point and the mechanism is in good working order. The bone handle is tight to the shank, has an excellent brush and the turned roundel is complete. It also has a good patina, but it is lacking a suspension ring.
Of all the Thomason variants, this is probably the most visually attractive and this is an excellent example. There is what at first sight appears to be a small (approx 5 mm.) crack towards the base of the barrel (this can be seen clearly in the first image), but this must be in the casting as there is no sign of it having sustained a heavy blow on the inside of the barrel nor is there any distortion of the shape.
I illustrated two similar examples (p.53 Illus. 3/31) of this variant of the Thomason corkscrew in "Great British Wine Accessories 1550 - 1900", but this one appears somewhat better than either!
Dimensions: 7.4", 18.6 cm (minimum) 10.5", 26,7 cm (fully extended)