This fine object d'art was fashioned in the style of the Italian Renaissance when precious items - coconuts, rare pieces of imported porcelain or rock crystal - were presented with elaborate mounts of precious metal in recognition of their value and importance. The fashion was emulated in the opulent and romantic climate of the 19th century, when designers looked to the great ages of the Renaissance and Baroque for inspiration. Not only did colourful and decorative enamels relate to objects that one would have expected to find displayed in the collections of the 16th and 17th centuries; they would have announced the wealth and education of the owner. The craftsmen of Bohemia, Prague and Vienna have been traditionally associated with the creation of precious, decorative objects for the collector. Enamels of the highest quality made in Vienna tend to be the most easily distinguishable, and a number of Viennese makers were awarded medals at various 19th Century International Exhibitions for their productions.
A virtually identical cornucopia was sold Christie's, London, 30 September 2004, lot 137 (£50,190).