Cellarette, Chippendale period

It isn’t always easy to tell whether Georgian wine furniture was intended to chill wine for serving or simply to store it at room temperature. Naturally, if it has an open trough shape and a metal liner, it plainly falls into the ‘chill’ category – and is almost certainly destined to live out the rest of its life as a jardinière. However, if it is in the form of a lidded box on a stand, then a swift examination of the underside is called for. The presence of a draincock to run off melted icewater is the obvious sign of a cooler, but you cannot be absolutely sure until you open the lid and see the lead lining.

We currently have a Chippendale period cellarette of exceptional elegance. The vertical corners of the box are chamfered, the chamfer continuing the length of each square leg. The inside corner of the leg is also chamfered, leaving the leg with a slim hexagonal cross-section. The junction of leg and box is decorated with plain chinoiserie brackets. Each vertical box side has a fielded panel with re-entrant corners and a circular boss; the timber of the panel is flame-figured mahogany veneered onto a straight grain mahogany carcass. The exterior is finished off with brass casters and a pair of carrying handles.

The interior still has the original alcohol-sodden baize lining, finished with silver braid, plus a pair of brass fitments to house the corkscrews. The size of each internal division corresponds of course to the diameter of the then current wine bottles, which were short and squat. Mot modern wine bottles are too tall to be housed here, regrettably, but liqeuer bottles fit quite nicely.

 
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