Literary Sherry signing by Poet Laureate

7th August, 2014 by Neal Baker

The British Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has signed a replica of her ‘Butt of Sherry’ to mark the opening of the exhibition Poetry for the Palace; Poets Laureate from Dryden to Duffy in Edinburgh.

Making her mark: Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy signs her Sherry cask

Making her mark: Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy signs her Sherry cask

Poetry for the Palace: Poets Laureate from Dryden to Duffy is the first exhibition to explore the relationship between poet and monarch over 350 years, through historic documents from the Royal Library and newly commissioned works of art.

However, there is also a longstanding history between the Poet Laureate and Sherry, as the exhibition also highlights.

Traditionally, the Poet Laureate was rewarded with a small stipend and a Butt of Sherry (once called Sherry Sack), from 1630 when Ben Jonson received it for the first time, until 1790 when the Laureate of the day, Henry Pye relinquished his Butt for a payment of £27 per year.

In 1984, to mark over 600 years of the trade in Sherry between the two countries, the Sherry Producers of Spain offered to revive the custom by giving a Butt of Sherry (720 bottles) on the appointment of Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate. He travelled to Jerez in Spain, chose some Sherry and signed his cask — a traditional mark of respect for distinguished visitors.

Sir Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy also went to Jerez in their turn, on appointment as Poet Laureate, to make their choices give their signatures.

The Laureate’s Sherry is then bottled using their own exclusive labels. Ted Hughes designed and drew his own, Andrew Motion’s daughter Siddy was responsible for his, while Carol Ann Duffy’s label has been created by the textual artist Steven Raw, whose work is also featured in the Edinburgh exhibition.

Examples of their bottles are included in the exhibition, together with photographs, the head of a Sherry barrel and other items.

Carol Ann Duffy, the 20th Poet and the first female Laureate, wrote a poem ‘At Jerez’ in 2011 which is also on view and reproduced on the back label of her bottles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Brand Ambassador – Santa Rita Estates

Santa Rita Estates
London or Hertfordshire but with flexibility to travel, UK

Sales Executive - Wine and Spirits Awards

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

On-Trade Channel Manager

Delegat Europe Limited (UK)
London / Midlands, GB

Trade Marketing Analyst

Delegat Europe (UK)
London, GB

Key Account Executive

Delegat Europe Limited (UK)
London / Midlands, GB

Senior National Account Manager

Conviviality
London, UK

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 31st March 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more