Description & Technical information

A pair of George III ormolu ice pails from the Shugborough Suite by Benjamin Vulliamy.  Each ice pail bears the Anson family coat of arms engraved in the platform beneath the bowl: originally part of a suite of six, they are numbered 1 and 2 respectively. When commissioned, the cost of each pail was £133, an enormous amount, equivalent to around £140,000 today.The shop ledgers from Vulliamy & Son are preserved in the National Archives in Kew, England. Lord Anson was a regular client at Vulliamy, and his name appears many times in the ledgers. One of Anson’s larger commissions, dated 20 December 1811, included a set of six ice pails. Lord Anson made and suggested alterations to their design, in which he was actively involved.The entry for the ice pails in the shop ledger is as follows: ‘For making six very Magnificent Ice pails to correspond with the silver [illegible] Stand. The necks of the Ice Pails are ornamented with chased water Leaves and the bodies with a rich border of Vine Leaves + grapes + three highly chased Masks of Silenus taken from the Antique, the bodies of the pails are supported with three Eagles with their wings extended highly chased sitting on blockings placed on a circular Base. The whole executed in the very best manner from original designs and Models amended + altered according to Lord Anson’s directions + very strongly Gilt in chased burnished Gold at 500 Gs pr agreement.’

Date:  1811
Period:  George III, 1750-1850, 19th century
Origin:  English
Medium: Ormolu
Dimensions: 30.5 cm (12 inches)
Provenance: Commissioned by Thomas, 1st Viscount Anson, Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire, England, until sold.
Christie, Manson & Woods, 27 November 1941, lot 124.
Sotheby's, 23 November 1979, lot 26.
Private collection, Alabama, USA.
Literature: Vulliamy & Son, shop ledger 34, commencing 17 May 1809 and ending 30 August 1814, p. 89.
Nicholas Goodison and Robin Kern, Hotspur - Eighty Years of Antiques Dealing, 2004, pp. 256 - 7.