Questions not answered by Mme. Delahaye’s latest book

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Thru December 2001: Questions not answered by Mme. Delahaye’s latest book
By Chevalier on Friday, August 17, 2001 - 11:22 am: Edit

Thanks, Peter -- it's an odd piece, isn't it? I think that at some point, Mme. Delahaye should be consulted.

(I visited her and her museum one afternoon in February, 1999. I'll never forget my first image of her, a slender woman pushing an enormous mower across the museum's front lawn. She stopped, mopped her brow, flashed a brilliant welcoming smile and gave me a tour. If only the francophobe Mark Twain had met Madame Delahaye ...)

By Petermarc on Friday, August 17, 2001 - 10:31 am: Edit

never seen a lautrec spoon in real life, not even a 'fake'(just photos)... considering the pattern is quite beautiful on it's own, it is surprizing there are not more of them floating about, even without the monogram ...i completely agree with david on authenticity and the use of his monogram on the spoon...

By Chevalier on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 07:59 am: Edit

Thank you, Oxygenee!

Can anyone else tackle these questions?

By Oxygenee on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 11:40 pm: Edit

Hmmm, 3 very interesting questions Marc, and I'd guess only Madame Delahaye or Phil would be in position to give a comprehensive answer.

I've never seen a spoon that I could date with any certainty to earlier than around 1870-80, which is of course when the real absinthe boom took off. Some spoons LOOK like they could be a little older - eg Les Losanges incurves #7,8,9 but this is probably just a function of the design and typical pattern of wear.

My guess is that originally a standard tea-spoon was used to stir the sugar at the bottom of the glass (after water had been added) - some earlier illustrations seem to support this idea (see for instance the "Le Don Quichotte" cartoon on page 68 of Madame Delahaye's "Art et Histoire"). I've never seen a pre-1870 ilustration showing a perforated spoon.

The Toulouse-Lautrec spoons are shrouded in mystery, some of it I think deliberate. I know of two or perhaps three parties in France who have an example. I've heard rumours that there are around a dozen in existence. The status of the vermeil reproductions that MCD refers to is also very unclear. The key point for me would be whether the spoons have an impeccable pedigree, traceable directly back to the Lautrec family - without this, I'd be nervous about them. They strike me as almost "too good to be true" - a bit like finding the bloodstained scalpel that Van Gogh used to slice his ear off. Its also odd to me that Toulouse Lautrec would use his artistic monogram on such an item, rather than his family crest or suchlike.

Anyway, this is all really just speculation. Having just had a great deal of help from Marie-Claude on another matter, I don't want to bother her with an "academic" query like this at this stage - perhaps the next Forumite to visit her Museum could ask her then...

By Chevalier on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 07:04 pm: Edit

Frenchman Phil, David, Ian, Justin, Peter, anybody: can you help?

By Wormwood on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 04:31 am: Edit

How do they know the spoons are reproductions.

Maybe he got drunk and kept leaving them in bars.
Next morning he had to get another one made.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 12:52 pm: Edit

Enquiring minds want to know.

1.) When were slotted absinthe spoons first used?

2.) Before then, what devices (if any) were used to add water and sugar to absinthe?

3.) On pp. 14 -15 of her latest book, L’ABSINTHE – LES CUILLÈRES, Mme. Delahaye shows an absinthe spoon owned by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. She writes that reproductions of it exist. Has anyone here seen these reproductions? Do you have any information about them? (Age, provenance, etc.)


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