By far the greatest silver service ever created was the Grand Service made by royal silversmiths Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell ...
moreBy far the greatest silver service ever created was the Grand Service made by royal silversmiths Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell for King George IV of England. It took over 10 years to complete and cost an amazing £100,000 (approximately $15 million in today’s currency). This historically significant and magnificently crafted ice pail hails from that very same Grand Service. It is the only known royal ice pail currently on the market since the great majority of the service still resides in Windsor Castle and is used by the Queen to this day.
This ice pail was one of two taken by the Duke of Cumberland when he became King of Hanover. The pail bears the coat of arms of the Duke and retains its custom-made silver plateau, also by Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell. It is widely assumed that the great John Flaxman himself designed the ice pails for the Royal Family. The ice pails were the centerpiece of the Grand Service, giving testament to their importance. It is not only exceptionally rare, highly important, and in phenomenal condition (the finial is a later replacement), but it is also impressively crafted and exquisitely beautiful.
There were six ice pails made for the Royal Family by Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell in 1827. In 1837, Queen Victoria assumed the throne of England and her uncle, King George III’s son, The Duke of Cumberland, became King of Hanover. The King took two of the ice pails that had his coat of arms on them along with a good bit of other royal silver and moved to Germany. Queen Victoria was so infuriated that she unsuccessfully sued to regain possession of the taken silver.
In 1866, Hanover fell to Prussian troops and all of the King’s royal silver was smuggled to Gmunden, Austria, and was eventually sold in 1923. One of the two royal ice pails eventually went to a museum and the other, the last remaining royal ice pail, went to a private Austrian collector. It is that exceptional ice pail that we are proud to offer to you now.
The second ice pail that was taken by the duke is pictured in Koopman Rare Art's 2005 exhibition book Silver from a Gilded Age: George III to Queen Victoria.
Hallmarked by Phillip Rundell, London, 1827
Royal Ice Pail: 16” diameter x 21” high
Plateau: 27” diameter x 4 1/2” high less