Height: 28.5 cm, Width: 28.5 cm, Diameter: 18 cm base
British Galleries, room 122c
Made in London by Charles Reily & George Storer
Acquisition RF: Sir Paul Makins Bart.
Gift - Sir Paul Makins Bart.
66 Eaton Terrace, SW1
Glass liner missing. Reilly and Storer were in partnership from 1829 manufacturing good quality silver. The wine cooler was retailed by S.H. & D Gass ( 166 Regent Street ) who are known to have used Reilly and Storer to supply stock. Maker's mark of Charles Reilly and George Storer of Carey Lane. The vase presumably was once fitted with a liner.
Neg._No: JX 2260
The Victorian demand for naturalistic ornament stimulated the use of elaborate moulds, which were used for ceramics as well as metalwork. This cooler is an example of elaborate casting using multiple moulds. [27/03/2003]
A wine cooler or ice pail for a single bottle was a French refinement for dining more informally in smaller numbers, introduced into Britain in the early 18th century. The cooler was filled with ice to chill the wine before serving. By the early 19th century these individual wine coolers were beginning to be left on the table as part of the dressing of very grand dinners. The manufacturers Elkington & Co. advertised silver wine coolers in their sales catalogue of 1869 for between œ15 and œ60, depending on the complexity of the decoration. This example would have had a glass liner.
This wine cooler was designed in a style known as naturalism, which uses nature as the basis of the ornament. Love of nature was one of the most universal and respected sentiments in the 19th century. In addition to the revival of interest in historic styles, particularly the Rococo, with its playful use of natural forms, there was increased enthusiasm for employing nature as a decorative device on art objects. Naturalism was widespread and promoted as a good stylistic model by design reformers such as Henry Cole (1808-1882), the first Director of the V&A. Through the art schools under his control Cole emphasised the importance of appropriate decoration, which was secondary to an object's function. At its best naturalism could be strikingly original but in some cases the form and function were lost in decorative excess. Here the intertwined vines and hanging grapes signal the use of the vessel for cooling wine at the table.