The arms are those of H.R.H. William Frederick, 2nd Duke of Gloucester (1776-1834). He was the only son of Prince William Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester, brother of George III. As the great-grandson of George II, the 2nd Duke was allowed the style of Royal Highness in 1816, upon his marriage to his first cousin Princess Mary, fourth daughter of George III and sister to George IV. The Duke served in the foot guards, and was promoted to Field Marshal in May of 1816. He devoted much time to charitable causes, and was President of the African Institution, advocating the rights of Africans in Parliament.
This pair of wine coolers is from a set of eight, each with Royal Arms and copper linings, made by Robert Garrard, 1816, the same year as the Duke's marriage. The wine coolers were disbursed at the 1904 sale of silver and silver-gilt from the collection of the Duke of Cambridge. A pair from the set (possibly these) came to auction again at Christie's, London, October 17, 1962, lot 102. A tray engraved with the accolé coats-of-arms of the Duke and his wife, by Paul Storr, 1815, sold at Christie's, London, March 7, 1990, lot 117.
The design for these wine coolers is derived from the famous Medici Krater, as engraved by Piranesi in Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi of 1778. A working pen drawing, made for the retailer Rundell's and attributed to either John Flaxman or William Theed, survives within an album labelled "Designs for Plate by John Flaxman, etc." in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see C. Oman, "A Problem of Artistic Responsibility," Apollo, March 1966, p. 174-183).
CAPTION: William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, in uniform of the First Regiment of Guards, by Charles Bestland