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A MASSIVE GERMAN SILVER WINE-CISTERN
A MASSIVE GERMAN SILVER WINE-CISTERN
A MASSIVE GERMAN SILVER WINE-CISTERN
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THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
A MASSIVE GERMAN SILVER WINE-CISTERN

MARK OF PHILIPP JAKOB DRENTWETT V, AUGSBURG, CIRCA 1710

Details
A MASSIVE GERMAN SILVER WINE-CISTERN
MARK OF PHILIPP JAKOB DRENTWETT V, AUGSBURG, CIRCA 1710
Bombé oval, partly lobed and on four part-matted scroll feet, with detachable everted moulded shaped border, applied with two cast figural handles of male and female Bacchanalian figures, each resting on a part-matted scroll buttress, later engraved underneath with a coat-of-arms and dated '1858', marked inside bowl, on border, handles and each foot
42½ in. (108 cm.) long
765 oz. 12 dwt. (23,813 gr.)
The arms are those of Sir John William Ramsden 5th Bt. (1831-1914), the son of John Charles Ramsden (1788-1836) and his wife Isabella, (d.1887), daughter of Thomas Dundas, 1st Baron Dundas of Aske. As his father predeceased his grandfather Sir John became 5th baronet on the death of his grandfather in 1839. Having been educated at Cambridge, Sir John went on to occupy a number of political roles, serving for example as member of parliament for Taunton, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Monmouth, the East division of the West Riding of Yorkshire and Osgoldcross. He also served as Under Secretary of State for War and High Sheriff of Yorkshire. His wealth was vast and included a large proportion of the town of Huddersfield, which had been acquired in 1599 by William Ramsden and was sold in 1920 for £1.2 million, some 12,000 acres of land in the West Riding of Yorkshire, an estate of almost 140,000 acres in Inverness and 800 acres in Lincolnshire. This wealth would have been added to by his marriage in 1865 to Lady Helen Guendolen Seymour (d.1910), youngest daughter and co-heir of Edward Adolphus Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset. The couple had a son called John Frescheville Ramsden who went on to succeed his father as 6th baronet on his death in 1914.
Provenance
Sir John William Ramsden 5th Bt. (1831-1914) and then by descent to his son
Sir John Frescheville Ramsden 6th Bt. (1877-1958).
Sir John Ramsden Bart., of Bulstrode, Gerrard's Cross; Christie's, London, 26 June 1930, lot 65.
With Collection Bulgari, Rome, 1977.
Literature
C. Hernmarck, The Art of the European Silversmith, 1430-1830, London, 1977, vol. I. p. 139 and vol. II, p. 104.
J. B. Hawkins, Masterpieces of English and European Silver and Gold, Sydney, 1980, pp. 13-16, no. 2.
J. B. Hawkins, The Al Tajir Collection of Silver and Gold, London, 1983, vol. I, pp. 26-27.
The Glory of the Goldsmith, Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, London, 1989, p. 18, no. 8.
Exhibited
Sydney, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Masterpieces of English and European Silver and Gold, January, 1980, no. 2.
London, Christie's, The Glory of the Goldsmith, Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, 1989, no. 8.

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Lot Essay

As his father predeceased his grandfather Sir John became 5th baronet
on the death of his grandfather in 1839. Having been educated at
Cambridge , Sir John went on to occupy a number of political roles,
serving for example as a member of parliament for example as a member
of parliament for Taunton, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Monmouth, the East division of the West Riding o Yorkshire and Osgoldcross. He also
served as Under Secretary of State for War and High Sheriff of
Yorkshire. His wealth was vast and included a large proportion of the
town of Huddersfield, which had been acquired in 1599 by William
Ramsden and was sold in 1920 for 1.2 million, some 12,000 acres of land in the West Riding of Yorkshire, an estate of almost 140,000 acres in Inverness and 800 acres in Lincolnshire. This wealth would have been added to by his marriage in 1865 to Lady Helen Guendolen Seymour (d. 1910), youngest daughter and co-heir of Edward Adolphus Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset. The couple had a son called John Frescheville Ramsden who went on to succeed his father as 6th Baronet on his death in 1914.
It is probable that Sir John Ramsden purchased this cistern while travelling on the continent in 1858, the year engraved on the underside of the cistern beneath his coat-of-arms. The Ramsden archives, deposited in the Buckinghamshire Public Record office, show that Sir James was abroad during this year. Manuscript D-RA/A/3A/28, includes 'Receipts for goods, including objects d'art, medicines etc., purchased by Sir J. W. Ramsden in France and Italy, April - June 1858'.

WINE CISTERNS

The custom of arranging cisterns, fountains, ewers and sideboard-dishes to form a display during a formal banquet grew out of the medieval practice of placing silver to be used for serving wine on trestle tables on the side of the room. As noble and Royal life became less itinerant during the 17th century, the buffet became a permanent arrangement which in some German courts was an immense scale (the one in the Berlin Schloss, which has survived in almost original form since the end of the 17th century, is some 23 feet high). At a banquet, the various dishes comprising each course were highly dressed and decorated, and were piled on the dining table leaving little room for display of silver vessels. Therefore a buffet became essential for the elaborate and costly displays of plate so necessary to signify the status of the host.

The silver cistern, almost always the centre-piece of the buffet, served the practical purpose of cooling wine. Wine was decanted from casks into silver flasks or bottles which were then cooled in the cistern using water from a fountain positioned above. Another magnificent example of this system of function and display was the Hanover Cistern and Fountain, made for George I as Elector of Hanover, by Lewin Dedecke, circa 1710, sold Christie's New York, 23 October 2000, lot 486.

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