Wine Cistern thumbnail 1
Wine Cistern thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Silver, Room 66, The Whiteley Galleries

Wine Cistern

1884 (made)
Place Of Origin

object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
The Jerningham wine cooler, London, 1736-7. Electrotype copy Birmingham, 1884
Object history
Electrotype copy, made by Elkington & Co. of Birmingham in 1881-4, of the silver original by Charles Kandler, 1734-35, now in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

In 1857 the Victoria and Albert Museum made an agreement with Elkington & Co., the Birmingham manufacturers. Exploiting their new technique of electroplating, historic silver was reproduced 'increasing the copies of fine specimens ... that not only the consumer may become familiar with the beauties, but both artist and artisan may also be able to compare the same with their own productions.' The scheme was so successful that it was extended to other European collections, including those in Imperial Russia. The Jerningham wine cooler was one of about 200 examples of English silver in Russia to be electrotyped.

The original was commissioned by Henry Jernegan (Jerningham), a London goldsmith-banker, who wanted to create the largest ever wine cooler celebrating the pleasures of wine. He employed the sculptor John Michael Rysbrack to model the Bacchanalian scenes on the bowl, the crouching panthers beneath and the satyr handles. It took the German silversmith Charles Frederick Kandler four years to make. When it was finished in 1735, it weighed 8,000 ozs. In 1737 Jernegan offered the cooler as a lottery prize to raise funds for a new bridge over the Thames at Westminster. Silver medals were sold as lottery tickets for about five or six shillings each. The winner, Major William Battine, appears to have sold the cooler to the Regent Anna Leopoldovna of Russia in 1738. Since 1743 it has been in the Hermitage, St Petersburg.

The V&A has an impression of the engraving by Gerard Jean Baptist Scotin II(1698-17330) based on the drawing by Hubert Gravelot (1699-1733) after the drawing by George Vertue (1684-1756) who allegedly designed the cistern that was made by Charles Kandler - not Charles Frederick Kandler. CT 71991 museum number E.1594-1948. Sculptor Michael Rysbrack's involvement in the design of this object is discussed in M.I.Webb's Michael Rysbrack, Sculptor, published by Country Life, 1954. George Vertue's original drawing for the cistern is in the Library of the Society of Antiquaries, London. On the back an inscription in his hand reads 'The first design or sketch made invented by GV for that famous silver cistern exhibited to the publick when finished by Mr. Henry Jerningham and sold by way of Lottery..the chance fell to ..Batten Esq. of Sussex. The Plate working Silver smith Kendelar a German The Modeller in Wax Mr.M.Rysbrake for the figures and bass relievos besides several chasers were imployed to finish it, a work at least of three years to compleat it'. A further note says that it was forged out of one lump of silver. It is also mentioned by George Vertue in his Note Books which were published by The Walpole Society, vols XVIII,XX,XXII,XXIV.XXVIII,XXX,XXIX. an entry for 1742. Although Queen Caroline of Anspach, wife of George II, was interested in the piece, it eventually passed to the Imperial Russian Treasury.
Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
Angus Patterson, "The Perfect Marriage of Art and Industry: Elkingtons and the South Kensington Museum's Electrotype Collection", The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. 20, June 2012, pp. 56-77, ill. p. 70
Accession Number

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record createdFebruary 9, 2004
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