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Coolest cooler up for grabs

Sotheby’s Treasures sale next month will feature an enormous wine cooler that once belonged to an 18th century British ambassador.

winecooler.jpgWeighing 11.5 stone and crafted by one London’s finest goldsmiths, Philip Rollos, it is expected to reach between £1.5 million to £2m when it is auctioned on 6 July.

Queen Anne’s ambassador to Berlin, the third Baron Raby, Thomas Wentworth, commissioned the cooler in 1706.

Mario Tavella, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe called the object: “A huge status symbol and huge trophy.”

Queen Anne gave each of her ambassadors 5,893 ounces of silver to furnish their residences and flaunt the nation’s wealth to impress their guests.

Raby used nearly half of his allotted silver to make the wine cooler. Rollos himself was responsible for many pieces commissioned by Queen Anne’s ambassadors to the royal courts of Europe during her reign.

During his time in Berlin, Raby recruited the architect Jean de Bodt to design Wentworth Castle for him, in Yorkshire.

He completed another tenure as ambassador to the Netherlands and was First Lord of the Admiralty until 1714 before his death in 1739.

The auction will also feature lots that once belonged to the Duke of Urbino and Marie Antoinette.

Rupert Millar, 10.06.2010

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