Rare Queen Anne Japanned Copper Wine Cistern
Rare Queen Anne Japanned Copper Wine Cistern
Rare Queen Anne Japanned Copper Wine Cistern

Rare Queen Anne Japanned Copper Wine Cistern

c. 1700 England

Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons


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The rope-twist edge above an oval body decorated with cranes and figures within landscapes on a simulated tortoiseshell ground, flanked by carrying handles.
The taste for lacquer and lacquered wares emerged in England during the reign of Charles II - who acquired Chinese lacquered cabinets for his own collections and renewed the charter of the East India Company in 1672. The fashion was promoted by John Stalker and George Parker who published 'A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing' in 1688.

The relationship between tortoiseshell and japanning or lacquering is an extremely interesting one. Yannick Chastang, in his book 'Paintings in Wood, French Marquetry Furniture', argues that the emergence of Boullework in a brown tortoise-shell ground in the Court of Louis XIV was a response to the admiration for Japanese Lacquer, but here we have japanning on a reddish ground in order to simulate tortoise shell.

There is another japanned wine cistern of extremely similar form known in the collection of the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton. The Badminton version has a more visible red ground, and lacks the rope twist rim, but is clearly the same form and surely the same maker. The Badminton cooler is illustrated in Rupert Gentle and Rachael Feild, 'Domestic Metalwork 1640 – 1820' (Revised edition, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1994), p. 45, Colour plate 18.

A dining-table monteith (verrière) of similar japanned tole depicting trompe l'oeil lacquer of golden landscapes on a 'turtle-shell' ground was sold from the collection of the late Simon Sainsbury - 'Simon Sainsbury: The Creation of An English Arcadia, Volume I', Christie’s, London, Wednesday 18 June 2008, Lot 95, p.176. It relates to contemporary sideboard-table cisterns for wine-bottles such as the 17th Century copper wine cistern at Ham House, Surrey. This cistern is of similar form, with the same rope-twist moulding round the rim and the base, is in the collection of the National Trust at Ham House, Surrey (National Trust Inventory Number 1139709). This cistern is dated 1675.

This form of iced-water urn is said to have been introduced in the 1680s by Monsieur Monteigh (or Monteith), which gave rise to the couplet quoted in 1707 in 'King's Art of Cookery': 'New things produce new words and so Monteith, Has by one vessel saved himself from death' (G.E. Lee, Monteith Bowls, London, 1978).
Height 26.50 cm (10.43 inches)
Width 63.50 cm (25.00 inches)
Depth 51.00 cm (20.08 inches)
Stock Code
Japanned Copper
Thomas Coulborn & Sons

Thomas Coulborn & Sons
Vesey Manor
64 Birmingham Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B72 1QP

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