Cathedral Pickle – Gardner 325

Provenance: Lou Pellegrini Collection

This absolutely stunning pickle bottle with a round “Gardner Collection 325” auction sticker is from what many consider the most important antique bottle collections ever assembled. The collection was eventually auctioned and the sales occurred 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.

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 325 sticker represents the lot number in the auction catalog that simply reads, “325. Food, pickle, square with cathedral arches and fancy design, quart, yellow green, rolled collared mouth – smooth base. (Plate XVI).” When looking at the referenced color plate, our subject pickle is one of seventeen bottles on the page, no more than an inch in height. In the Price List and Addenda in the back of the catalog, you see that the pickle bottle sold for the handsome sum of $600.

This rare, probably New England quart mold is not seen often though we believe there was an example in the Burton Spiller collection. The square Gothic bottle follows a cathedral design with four sides with chamfered corners. The glass color is yellow-green with olive striations. There is a long, slightly double-ogee shoulder sloping to a wide cylindrical neck with a round collar. The bottle has a smooth chamfered base with a round recessed circle. There is a second later-applied sticker reading “BKNN Toms” within the base, though the meaning is unknown.

Each side has elaborate recessed Gothic arches and triple recessed beveled vertical windows with an ogival or arced top. Pointed Lancet arches are used on cathedral pickle bottles to create narrow verticle window panels. In this case, the four panels are smooth and would have been where a label was placed. The top ogival arch has a pair of repeated opposite images, one a debossed scalloped shell and the other a clock face supported by a fleur-de-lis. Beneath are elaborate decorative multifoils above the arched windows.

See more Gothic-style bottles in the museum Food & Sauces Gallery: Cathedral Pickle Jar – Hexagonal and Willington Cathedral Pickle.

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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