( 1771 - 1844 )
A Highly Important Pair of Silver-Gilt Wine Coolers & Stands
Each campana-shaped, the detachable stands on three paw-feet, with gadrooned and acanthus foliage border, the body on fluted spreading circular foot, cast and chased on the lower part with oak and vine tendrils, with two leaf-capped fluted bracket handles with satyr's mask terminals, the upper part of body cast and chased with a frieze depicting the Triumph of Bacchus beneath trailing vines on matted ground, each with egg-and-dart rim, engraved on beneath the frieze "AD 1809", the collars engraved with numbers 6 and 31 marked on feet and underneath the stands and feet.
The form, calyx and handles of these wine coolers are derived from the famous Medici Krater, as engraved by Piranesi in Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi of 1778; and the Triumph of Bacchus frieze is derived from a Roman sarcophagus in the Vatican Museum, published by E. Q. Visconti, in Museo Pio-Clementio in 1782-1802, (see D. Udy, "Piranesi's 'Vasi', the English Silversmith and his Patrons", Burlington Magazine, December 1978, pp. 828-29).
The Medici Vase was one of the great inspirations of Renaissance and later art. A monumental bell-shaped krater, it is believed to have been sculpted in Athens in the second half of the first century AD. Some five feet high, its sides are carved with a mythological bas-relief which has defied precise identification over the centuries. A half draped female figure, apparently Iphigenia, is seated below a statue of a goddess, possibly Diana, while heroic warriors look on. They are perhaps Agamemnon and either Achilles or Odysseus. The vase appears in a 1598 inventory of the Villa Medici in Rome, but its earlier history is unknown. It was moved to Florence in 1780 and since then it has been displayed in the Uffizi Gallery. During the past four hundred years it has been the subject of innumerable paintings as well as engravings, the most famous of which is one by Stefano della Bella of 1656. It often featured in capricci or composed views that were a specialty of the Roman painter Giovanni Paolo Panini and others. Angelica Kaufmann painted the 2nd Lord Berwick on his Grand Tour seated beside the vase.
Silver designers regularly used engravings of Roman archaeological discoveries published by Piranesi, Visconti, and others. It is known, for example, that the Storr workshop had a number of Piranesi's engravings, and it seems almost certain that the workshop, or the firm's retailer Rundell's, also owned copies of Visconti's work. Indeed, the present lot relates directly to a working design for Rundell's produced by Thomas Stothard and William Theed, but originally attributed to John Flaxman now contained within a folio labelled "Designs for Plate by John Flaxman, etc." in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see C. Oman, "A Problem of Artistic Responsibility," Apollo, March 1966, pp. 174-83).
Rundell's commissioned Storr to make wine coolers of this important model on more than one occasion. A set of eight by Digby Scott and Benjamin Smith of 1808 are in the Royal Collection. We owned another identical set of four wine coolers in 2013 without their stands made in London, 1811 by Paul Storr. This set of four were also made for Richard the 1st Earl of Howe and were made to complement this pair of coolers made two years earlier. Interesting there is an additional set of four wine coolers on stands which are in the Whitehouse in Washington gifted to them by Margaret Biddle, heiress to the Montana mining fortune, in 1958.
The Earl of Howe’s service was clearly exceptional. Having been educated at Eton and then Oxford, Howe took his seat in the House of Lords in 1820, having succeeded his paternal grandfather as Viscount Curzon. In 1821 he took the surname Howe after that of Curzon by royal licence, and shortly afterwards he was created 1st Earl Howe.
The earl’s politics were Tory. Between 1829 and 1830 he was a Lord of the Bedchamber and he later acted as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Adelaide - losing that office for a brief period on account of his voting against the Reform Bill.
Richard William Penn Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe (1796-1870), by descent to,
Francis Penn Curzon, 5th Earl Howe (1884–1964), of Penn House, Penn, Buckinghamshire,
The Rt. Hon The Earl Howe, P.C., C.B.E.; Christie's London, 1 July 1953, lot 108 (£440 to Carrington, with liners),
With Thomas Lumley Ltd., London, February 1954, acquired by,
Jean Walter (1883-1957) in 1954, bequeathed to his wife,
Domenica Walter (1898-1977), bequeathed to,
Jean Bouret (1914-1979) (légataire universel) in 1977, then by descent.
N. M. Penzer, Paul Storr: The Last of the Goldsmiths, London, 1954, pl. XXIX.
Son of Thomas Storr of Westminster, first silver-chaser later innkeeper, born 1771. Apprenticed c'1785. Before his first partnership with William Frisbee in 1792 he worked at Church Street, Soho, which was the address of Andrew Fogelberg. This is also the address at which Storr's first separate mark is also entered. First mark entered as plateworker, in partnership with William Frisbee, 2 May 1792. Address: 5 Cock Lane, Snow Hill. Second mark alone, 12 January 1793. Address: 30 Church Street, Soho. Third mark, 27 April 1793. Fourth 8 August 1794. Moved to 20 Air Street, 8 October 1796, (where Thomas Pitts had worked till 1793). Fifth mark, 29 November 1799. Sixth, 21 August 1807. Address 53 Dean Street, Soho. Seventh, 10 February 1808. Ninth, 21 October 1813. Tenth, 12 September 1817. Moved to Harrison Street, Gray's Inn Road, 4 March 1819, after severing his connection with Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. Eleventh mark, 2 September 1883. Address: 17 Harrison Street. Twelfth and last mark, 2 September 1833. Heal records him in partnership with Frisbee and alone at Cock Lane in 1792, and at the other addresses and dates above, except Harrison Street. Storr married in 1801, Elizabeth Susanna Beyer of the Saxon family of piano and organ builders of Compton Street, by whom he had ten children. He retired in 1838, to live in Hill House in Tooting. He died 18 March 1844 and is buried in Tooting Churchyard. His will, proved 3 April 1844, shows an estate of £3000. A memorial to him in Otely Church, Suffolk was put up by his son Francis the then incumbent of the parish. For full details of Storr's relationship with Rundell, Bridge and Rundell please see N.M. Penzer, 1954 or Royal Goldsmiths, The Art of Rundell and Bridge, 2005.
Storr's reputation rests on his mastery of the grandoise neo-Classical style developed in the Regency period. His early pieces up to about 1800 show restrained taste, although by 1797 he had produced the remarkable gold font for the Duke of Portland. Here, however the modelling of the classical figures must presumably have been the work of a professional sculptor, as yet unidentified, and many of the pieces produced by him for Rundell and Bridge in the Royal Collection must have sprung from designs commissioned by that firm rather than from his own invention. On the other hand, they still existed in his Harrison Street workshop, until destroyed in World War II, a group of Piranesi engravings of classical vases and monuments bearing his signature, presumably used as source material for designs. The massiveness of the best of his compositions is well shown in the fine urn of 1800 at Woborn Abbey, but the Theocritus Cup in the Royal Collection must be essentially ascribed to the restraint of its designer John Flaxman, while not denying to Storr its superb execution. Lord Spencer's ice pails of 1817 show similar quality. Not all Storr's work however was of classical inspiration. The candelabra of 1807 at Woburn derive from candlesticks by Paul Crespin of the George II period, formerly part of the Bedford Collection, and he attempted essays in floral rococo design from time to time, which tend to over-floridity. On occasions the excellence of his technical qualities was marred by a lack of good proportions, as in the chalices of the church plate of St Pancras, 1821. In spite of these small lapses there is no doubt that Storr rose to the demands made upon him as the author of more fine display plate than any other English goldsmith, including Paul De Lamerie, was ever called upon to produce.
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