Classically elegant, this is a very rare set of four antique Sheffield plate wine coolers that most like date closer to 1780 than 1800. Any wine cooler dating before 1800 is rare, and a set of four is exceptional.
Of cylindrical form, they feature a very rare classical gallery around the collar opening and ring handles on applied classical mounts. Each has a solid wooden base underneath and is engraved with a crest of an arm holding a dagger rising from a ducal coronet.
This gallery is extremely rare and only found on very early coolers. The only other time we have seen this feature is on the set of wine coolers that George Washington ordered for Mount Vernon in 1789.(1) Considering that his have ring handles which attach to lion masks (stylistically later), these may easily predate his.
Each in the set of four measures 6 inches high by 8 inches over the handles. As with most antique Sheffield silver plate, they are unmarked by the maker (as are Washington's) but each piece is correctly numbered with 1, 2, 3 and 4 indicating all pieces are original to each other and that they are an original set of at least four. They are in very good/ excellent antique condition with no meaningful bleeding and new felt underneath. (It is interesting to note that very early antique Sheffield was sometimes made with a thicker layer of silver and sometimes can be found in excellent original condition.)Endnote:
- Kathryn C. Buhler, Mount Vernon Silver, (Lunenburg, VT: The Stinehour Press, 1957), p. 50.