This rare type of bowl, filled with ice and used to cool glasses, originated in England around 1680 as an elaborate type of silver punch bowl, and was known as the 'Monteith'. Nathan Bailey's 'Household Dictionary' of 1721 defines a Monteith as 'a scallop bason to cool glasses in'.
A certain Anthony Wood noted in his diary in 1683: 'This year in the summer time came up a vessel or bason notched at the brims to let drinking glasses hang there by the foot so that the body or drinking place might stand in the water to cool them. Such a bason was called 'Monteigh' from a fantastical Scott called 'Monsieur Monteigh' who at that time or a little before wore the bottom of his cloake or coate so notched UUUUU'. This Monteigh was a well-known character of the day, described by Samuel Pepys as a 'swaggering handsome young gentleman', but it is unlikely that he had anything to do with the invention of these particular bowls.
The production of Monteith bowls peaked around 1700, at which time it was introduced on the continent as a silver bowl, most likely via Holland. Here it was also executed in Delft blue. A Dutch silver Monteith bowl, applied with two mask-handles like the present lot, may be found in the collection of Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, inv. M.B.Z. 216. Also, see lot 16 in this sale for an example in silver.
The Monteith type of bowl was similarly copied in China and found its way back to the European market as Chine de Commande. See for example a famille verte bowl in the collection of the Groninger Museum, inv. NAP 30.
A similar, yet polychrome, wine-cooler with the mark of Lambertus van Eenhoorn, is to be found in the collection of Museum Lambert van Meerten in Delft.