Antique Sterling Silver from Nelson and Nelson Antiques

Georgian Royal Silver Wine Coolers London 1831-1832


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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 691470

Please refer to our stock # BC172 when inquiring.
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This is a pair of rare royal Georgian sterling silver wine coolers, lavishly embellished with exceptionally fine quality decoration and each handsomely engraved with a pair of royal crests. They were made to order for the sixth son of King George III, Augustus Frederick 1773-1843 and the heavy guage of the silver and the extraordinary quality of the craftsmanship are a testament to their ownership by a man of wealth and taste. They rest upon 4 elegantly curving feet which have been accented by pretty shell motifs and further enhanced by gently stippled foliage in the Rococco style. Each of these 4 attractive mounts culminates in a magnificently crafted branch highlighted by beautifully detailed leaves and berries and rising in a flowing curve which comes to rest beneath each of the elaborately decorated carrying handles. These are extraordinarily detailed and comprise textured leafy motifs at each end centered by a profusion of shining berries. They rise from a cornucopia of fruits, leaves and berries, all of which have been intricately and meticulously crafted with great skill and precision. The lift-off collar has been exquisitely decorated; the outer border encircled by leaves and encircled by leaves and berries of the very finest quality set atop rows of incised lines and interspersed with shell motifs, and the inner rim consisting of a row of bead work complementary to the berries of the outer rim. The beauty of the design together with the exceptional quality of the workmanship would be enough to make these pieces noteworthy, but what makes them really special is the presence of the beautifully engraved royal crests on the front of each and the coats of arms which grace the backs. The royal crests show the crowned lion and the unicorn flanking an oval shield surrounded by the phrase “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (Evil to he who has evil thoughts) and topped with a large regal crown. An unfurled banner beneath their feet displays the motto “ Si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos” (If God is with us, who is against us. The coat of arms on the backs is smaller but is also of interest. It shows the crowned lion of England standing upon a small crown inside an oval and surrounded by a repeated engraving of the royal motto, “Honi soit qui mal y pense”, the whole emblem topped by a further crown. These symbols constitute the coat of arms of The Duke of Sussex, the title held by Augustus Frederick. These magnificent and historically important wine coolers are both in superb condition with a soft and pleasing patina together with crisply defined details on all the decoration. They were both made by different silversmiths, one by Edward Farrell in 1831 and the other by William ker Reid in 1832. (Augustus Frederick had an extensive collection of silver objects and gave special commissions to many of London’s finest silversmiths in order to extend his collection at one time). The bases of each cooler have been clearly stamped with a full set of hallmarks showing the lion passante, the leopard’s head, the King’s head, the initials of the maker and the date letter. Each piece has also been stamped with the distinguishing mark in use between 1864-1893 to show that it was taken to France and then returned to England. The cooler made by Edward Farrell has been fully hallmarked on the removable liner which has also been marked by a pair of dots. The collar has not been hallmarked but does carry the same pair of matching dots, showing that it is definitely original to the cooler. Other pieces which we have seen over the years have also been marked in a similar fashion so we are sure that this item bears all the proper and appropriate stamps. The Reid cooler has been marked with a series of 3 matching dots on both the collar and the removable insert and also has a full set of hallmarks on the latter and a maker’s mark, lion passante and tax stamp on the former. These coolers are of exceptionally fine quality and their royal connection adds to their importance and significance to any lover of Georgian silver at its very best. They are truly very special indeed. Each measures 5 ½” in diameter at the top opening and stands approx. 9 ¾” to the beadwork rim.