This enormous cistern formed part of Lord RabyÂ’s allowance of silver plate which he took with him as Ambassador Extraordinary to Berlin in 1706 and which he was entitled to retain after his return.

Such objects were an essential component in the etiquette of formal dining in the baroque period when the display of impressive plate reflected the status and importance of the host (or, in the case of ambassadors, the country he represented). Their function (in addition to being impressive) was to hold ice-packed bottles for the service of wine. This object was undoubtedly inspired by German examples seen by Lord Raby in Berlin on an earlier visit in 1701. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Thomas Wentworth, 3rd Baron Raby of Wentworth Castle, Yorkshire; by descent to Marquess of Lothian; SothebyÂ’s, 2010.

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