The design of these, first made in silver in the 1680s, was perfectly suited to the cooling of wine bottles or wine glasses with the bottle necks or stems held securely within the shaped rim. The deep base could then be filled with chilled water.
The large size of this example dating from the end of the reign of the emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) suggests it was most likely to have been made for bottles rather than glasses.
The exotic famille verte decoration of flowers and leaping carp combined with the European form would have made these extremely desirable among the high society of the time. A similar pair thought to have been acquired by George IV for Brighton Pavilion now resides in the dining room at Clarence House.
This one came for sale at Duke’s (25% buyer’s premium) of Dorchester from the family of Major Sir Alfred Hammond Aykroyd 2nd Baronet of Lightcliffe, Yorkshire (1894-1965). Duke’s expected it to bring £40,000-60,000 on November 9 and was not disappointed. The hammer price was £90,000.