each on a circular stepped lobed foot, the ovoid bodies with naturalistic bark and vine bases, spirally fluted above and on the detachable covers, the handles and finials cast as entwined grapevines, shallow detachable liners; the bodies William Frisbee, 1810, the covers and liners William and John Frisbee, 1811, the latter numbered 3 and 4
Though iced desserts had been known in fashionable French circles since the mid-seventeenth century, with Charles II sampling them during his exile, they did not proliferate widely in England for another hundred years, when regular deliveries of ice from Iceland and Scandinavia made cold delicacies possible year-round. Dessert coolers survive from about 1760 on, but mostly in glass, which displays the brilliant colours of sorbet to full effect, and porcelain, which slows melting. Silver-gilt examples are very rare but not unknown; a single Paul Storr cooler of 1804 sold Christie's, London, 11 December 1968, lot 68, and Parke-Bernet, New York, 6 March 1973, lot 312.
The pair now offered must have formed part of an exceedingly impressive dessert service, and their similarity to wine coolers is no coincidence. In the later years of Louis XV the porcelain factory at Sèvres was already producing matched cooler suites with one vase for ice cream and the other for chilled dessert wine, while in England, Philippa Glanville notes that "grand and richly decorated 'Warwick' and dolphin-supported pails... were clearly intended to double as ornamented vases for the sideboard" (Elegant Eating, London, 2002, p. 86-88). In the present case the liners and covers, made a year after the bodies, suggest modification by the Frisbee workshop shortly after purchase to allow not only for wine but also for the cold desserts so much in vogue. The surviving design for an eighteenth-century Leeds pottery ice cream cooler matches precisely the interior design of the Frisbee models and is show here in cross-section, labelled above 'the false bottom, wherein are put the things which are to be Iced,' and below with 'the lower part to put the Ice' (Ibid.)
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