Cathedral Pickle – Gardner 2287

Provenance: Lou Pellegrini Collection

This rather nice-looking pickle bottle has a round “Gardner Collection 2287” auction sticker which means it is from what many consider the most important antique bottle collection ever assembled. The collection was eventually auctioned in two parts of three sessions each on September 25, 26, and 27, 1975, and November 20, 21, and 22, 1975 at Robert W. Skinner Inc, in Bolton Massachusetts. The hard-bound Norman C. Heckler Gardner Collection auction book was the culmination of 3,000 hours of labor over a period of 12 weeks and has become with time, a necessary tool for the collectors and dealers alike.

See our museum example of a Cathedral Pickle – Gardner Collection 325.

From the inside front cover book jacket, “For the amateur and expert alike, the Charles B. Gardner bottle collection represents the finest and best-known personal collection of its type in the United States. The product of some 46 years of assembling by an expert with a deep knowledge of the art of glass-making, and an abiding love for man’s expression of beauty and utility in glass, it is a rare example of the great variety available to the bottle collector.”

“The Gardners have generously and graciously shared their home and time with interested collectors from throughout the country who have viewed the display of 3,200 bottles in an effort to study and appreciate for themselves the range and diversity of this remarkable collection. Never before, and perhaps never again in American bottle collecting, will such a variety of bottles be assembled and made available to the collector.”

The white circular Gardner Collection 2287 sticker represents the lot number in the auction catalog that simply reads, “2287. Food, pickle, square with cathedral arches and fancy designs, similar to V.R.#3 plate 87, 8 inches tall, bright green, rolled collared mouth, scarred base; 1/2 inch crack near base.”

Over time, “Cathedral” has overtaken “Gothic” as a more descriptive name for these bottles. Glassmakers developed these distinctly American Victorian-style bottles as a way of appealing to consumers. The bottles traditionally have high arched windows, intricate framing, and curvilinear details with a wide opening designed for retrieving its content with ease. These details mimicked architectural trends found in homes, churches, and other buildings and had ties to nature and religious iconography. 

This rare, probably Willington Glass Co. West Willington, Conn. square bottle would likely have included a cork stopper, perhaps sealed with wax and metal foil. The square body has chamfered corners, a short shoulder sloping to collar-rib at the base of a wide short neck with a turned-over collar. There is a rough depressed octagonal base. The sides have a sunken Gothic arch, ribbed columns, plain inner frame, outer side ornamented at the top by a tulip capital at the point. The inner frame has a double ogival at the top, a small quatrefoil above the pendant with a conventional ornament in the center. A paper label would have been affixed to one or more sides of the bottle.

See more Gothic-style bottles in the museum Food & Sauces Gallery such as our Cathedral Pickle Jar – Hexagonal and the very similar Willington Cathedral Pickle.

Primary Image: The Gardner 2287 cathedral pickle bottle imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum west coast studio led by Gina Pelligrini.

Support: Reference to American Bottles in the Charles B. Gardner Collection by Norman C. Heckler, Robert W. Skinner Inc., Bolton, Massachusetts, 1975.

Support: Reference to Ketchup Pickles Sauces – 19th Century Food in Glass by Betty Zumwalt

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

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