Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: George IV’s Gilt Bottle Cooler, 1827

Bottle Cooler
Silver Gilt, 1827-1828
John Flaxman for Rundell, Bridge & Rundell
Made for King George IV
One of a set of four.
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
John Flaxman, the chief designer at the Royal Jewelers of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, shared King George IV’s love of antiques and passion for exotic architecture. This bottle cooler of silver gilt by Flaxman was part of a set of four designed specifically for George IV. Its marine theme would have appealed to George IV who preferred to stay at the seaside in Brighton. Combined into a magnificent marriage of Renaissance and Rococo style, we see a figure of Venus rising from the waves, surrounded by three tritons.

So thrilled was George IV with this piece and its companions, that he ordered similarly-themed suites of silver gilt to use in the Brighton Pavilion. These eclectic pieces showed George IV’s interest in the arts as well as foreshadowed the trends in design which would rise in prominence during Queen Victoria’s reign.

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