egg basketThis week we have an egg basket from the Montpelier estate in Gaithersburg. The shape is sometimes referred to as a “buttocks” egg basket… let’s see what the wordpress “searches that brought people to your site” statistics page does with that… thanks to its indented bottom, designed to allow maximum egg capacity with a minimum of egg movement. The basket is in quite good shape, but with no distinguishing marks to indicate a maker.

Montpelier was built by Henry Brookes, in what is now Gaithersburg, between 1783 and 1793. It was sold in 1814 to Samuel Funk, and had several other owners until it was bought in1905 by George Washington Burnap Bartlett. The Bartlett family sold the property to developers in the 1950s, and by 1966 the house had been demolished. The IBM facility (now Lockheed Martin, I think) on Route 355, just north of Montgomery Village Avenue, stands on the Montpelier site.

George Washington Burnap Bartlett was from a long-established Baltimore family, and he brought with him to Montpelier many fine pieces of furniture (several of which his granddaughter later donated to the Historical Society). This basket may have come with the family from Baltimore, or it may have been left at Montpelier by a previous owner. Perhaps it was used (in its twilight years, anyway) primarily as decoration, because it’s in great condition, and was considered worthy of saving when the Bartlett family left Montpelier. 

The basket actually lost its number at one point (see, Dr. Adams’ giant yellow numbers have their merit), but happily the Historical Society staff/volunteer who accepted the donation drew a little picture of the egg basket’s distinctive shape on the deed of gift, leading to its identification and a reunion with its history.