French brass wine cooler ca 1730 with engraved family armorial and “Regence” flat chased decoration.
Aristocracy of these times would show their wealth by the way they dined. As someone pointed out silver in the eighteenth century was the vehicle to show off the art of dining and wealth of the silver displayed on the dining table established the place of the patron in society. Ordering a silver dinner service could ruin an estate so even in these extravagant times there had to be some savings made. Solid silver wine coolers were very expensive so even Royal house holds had only few pairs of them in one service, and a solution was born; “French plate” coolers. These were made by silversmiths /as opposed to brass smiths/ keeping the same quality standards, but the metal was brass as opposed to silver. The brass was than mercury plated, or silver leaf burnished onto the metal. This technique flourished in France from the second half of the 17 th century, and it delivered the right look at a fraction of the price…
With the influx of the Huguenots french plating came to England at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Height of cooler:22 cm