The manufacture of such French-patterned golden ormolu ice-pails, derived from the silver 'rafraichissoir a bouteille', was being considered at Messrs Boulton and Fothergill's Soho manufactory at Birmingham in the late 1760s. Appropriate for sideboard decoration, their basic form derives from the celebrated antique Borghese wine-krater marble vase, which is sculpted with bacchic satyr handles. A coloured sketch for a related satyr-handled vase, enriched with antique flutes, wave-scrolls and Roman foliage, features in the Boulton archives; and this also relates to the patterns for ormolu or silver pails that were sent by the firm in 1772 to Perigrine, 3rd Duke of Ancaster (d. 1778) (Nicholas Goodison, 'Matthew Boulton: Ormolu', London, 2002 pp. 257-260 and fig. 211).
Following the Duchess of Ancaster's suggestion, their pattern was improved by the addition of bacchic ram or goat head handles; and Boulton had these modelled by his chief designer Francis Eginton, who supervised the firm's manufacture of expensive metalwork. They supplied the Duke with two different sizes of 'ice pails' in ormolu with [silvered] plated linings' in 1773.
The present pails, apart from the addition of 'Venus' pearl-strings in the fashionable 'Etruscan' style, correspond to one that has been attributed to Boulton (Nicholas Goodison, ibid fig 214).