Thomas Heming

( 1795 )

A Set of Four Rope Handle Wine Coolers

Thomas Heming

( 1795 )

A Set of Four Rope Handle Wine Coolers

George II
London, 1769
Maker's mark of the Royal Goldsmith Thomas Heming

The arms are those Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

Height: 17 cm, 6.7 in.
Weight: 5860 g, 188 oz. 8 dwt.


Each with ram’s head handles and engraved with a coat-of-arms.

These elegant wine coolers are amongst the earliest of this new form of wine cooler introduced from France in the middle of the eighteenth century. Sets of four ice pails from this period are exceedingly rare.

The arms are those Charles Carroll of Carrollton descended from the Ó Cearbhaill lords of Éile (Lords of Ely) in King's County (now County Offaly), Ireland. Carroll left his native Ireland around 1659 and emigrated to the colony of Maryland, St. Mary’s City. Charles Carroll became a wealthy Maryland planter and was a strong advocate for American independence from the United Kingdom – indeed he was the last surviving signatory and sole Catholic signor of the American Declaration of Independence. Although Carroll retired from public life and his political activity in 1801, he came out of retirement to help create the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1827. On 4th July 1828, he performed his last public act with the laying of the cornerstone for the railway, which is now displayed at the B&O Railroad Museum.

Carroll’s Maryland estate, Doughoregan Manor, established in the early eighteenth century and identified as the largest parcel of land in Howard County, remains in the Carroll family today. From the 1970s, a portion of the Manor’s sprawling grounds, including the main house was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The son of a Midlands merchant, Thomas Heming was apprenticed to Edmund Bodington on March 7, 1738, and turned over on the same day to the Huguenot goldsmith Peter Archambo. He registered his first mark in June 1745; in 1760 he was appointed principal goldsmith to King George III, in which capacity he was responsible for supplying regalia and plate required for the coronation. Heming held this appointment until 1782, when he was ousted after an investigation into his apparently excessive charges. Grimwade (1976, p. 543) comments that "some of his earlier surviving pieces in the Royal collection show a French delicacy of taste and refinement of execution which is unquestionably inherited from his master Archambo." Among Heming's outstanding works are a silver-gilt toilet service made for Queen Caroline of Denmark in 1766 (Dankse Kunstidustrimuseum, Copenhagen; Hernmarck 1977, pl. 727) and a wine cistern of 1770, made for Speaker Brownlow (Belton House, Lincolnshire; Grimwade 1974, pl. 12).

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