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Lord Raby's silver wine cistern

Philip Rollos, 1705-6, Lord Raby's silver wine cistern

The massive cistern or wine cooler, weighing almost 2,600 ounces, was supplied to Thomas Wentworth, Lord Raby (later Earl of Strafford) when he was appointed ambassador to Berlin in 1705. All ambassadors were entitled to take with them silver objects weighing up to 5,893 oz of white silver and 1,066 of gilt in order that they could entertain in an appropriate style in the name of their sovereign. On return home they were generally allowed to retain this 'official' silver, emblazoned ith the royal arms, as recompense for their services. Massive silver wine cisterns or coolers were the most impressive and often the most sculptural objects made by goldsmiths for dining rooms in the baroque period (c1660 - c1730). They were filled with packed ice for keeping bottles cool and frequently formed an 'eyecatcher' on the sideboard together with other ceremonial and useful pieces. After being used at Berlin (where it would have rivalled the King of Prussia's magnificent silver) Lord Raby's cistern would have joined the rest of his accumulated silver at his seat at Wentworth Castle, near Barnsley (designed by the purssian court architect Jan de Bodt).