Elkington's 1862 London Exhibition Wine Coolers

Elkington's 1862 London Exhibition Wine Coolers

Dimensions: H: 12 in / 31 cm  |  W: 11 in / 28 cm  |  D: 9 in / 22 cm



A Magnificent Pair of Parcel Gilt Silver & Enamelled Wine Coolers
From a dessert service exhibited at the 1862 Great Exhibition London
Being made by Elkington & Co

Designed in the ‘Graeco-Pompeian’ manner by A.A. Willms (see below); four claws support the incurved plinths; four scrolled feet hold the circular trumpet form bodies, each of which has four domed panels, separated by foliate strapwork and enamelled panels decorated with anthemions and tendrils, depicting dancing and pipe-playing Satyrs, and Maenads holding tambourines or thyrsi; the lobed collars bearing a presentation dedication to Edmund Sykes Hett (c.f.): over, the necks, enamelled with anthemions, have everted tops, and house silver gilt liners, with Birmingham silver Assay Marks. The feet bear the Birmingham Assay Marks, and date letter for 1862. The undersides bearing the stamped Design Registration date for 1 November 1862. Housed within an oak lidded lockable coffer bearing a plaque reading ‘E.S.Hett Esq.’

Weight, 7280gr. 234 ounces
Circa 1862


Almost certainly exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1862
Illustrated in J.B. Waring’s ‘ Masterpieces of Industrial Art’ volume 3, published by Day & Sons in 1863, at the command of Queen Victoria.  It is to be noted that as Elkington & Co were on the judging committee, they were ineligible to receive prizes, but however, the Jury remarked on the service ‘The dessert service has great merit, …in excellent taste, and the effect is very beautiful’.
‘Report by the Juries on the Thirty Six Classes into which the Exhibition was divided’ London 1863, Class XXXIII, p.4 Official records
‘The Illustrated Catalogue of the International Exhibtion of 1862’ volume 2, pp7-8
By family repute; Elkington & Co, sold to Wilson, Sons & Co. Ltd; presented to Edmund Sykes Hett Esq (1832-1901); thence by family descent.
Attached; Correspondence regarding the Wine Coolers from Elkington & Co to the family, dated 1898 and 1908
The inscription on the rim reads ‘Presentation from the Shareholders of Wilson, Sons & Company Limited to Edmund Sykes Hett Esq. on his retirement from the Chairmanship of the Company, as a token of their great esteem and appreciation of his valuable services over a period of more than twenty years. 5 July 1898’
Wilson, Sons & Company were a South American maritime group, founded in 1837 in Salvador, Bahia
Alastair Grant, a researcher & historian at the Victoria & Albert Museum, on seeing the pair, described them as ‘Striking & Important’ and wishes to include them in an upcoming exhibition on the works of Elkington & Company.


Auguste Adolphe Willms

Auguste-Adolphe Willms (1827-99) was one of the many talented French designers who worked for Elkington & Co during the nineteenth century; previously having been employed in Paris by such makers as Jean-Valentin Morel, Christofle and Froment-Meurice. In 1855 he joined Elkington’s design team; four years later he was heading the studio and remained in that position until his death.

Elkington & Company

Elkington and Company was founded by the brothers George and Henry in 1832, after perfecting their newly patented method of electro plating in gold and silver, for which their first patent was granted in 1840. They exhibited at the European and British nineteenth century Great Exhibitions, and were given permission by Queen Victoria in 1868 to copy the collection of Royal Plate. Royal Warrants were granted to them by, inter alia, Queen Victoria, Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, and George V, and various European heads of states. Frederick Elkington was the eldest of George Elkington’s sons.

REF No. 8107

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