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A Russian porcelain verrière (wine glass cooler) from the Everyday Service, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, late 18th century. Ordered by Catherine II & decorated with bouquets of flowers (based on the German blumendekor) & burnished gilt accents. Double handle bowl with wave shape rim to secure the stems of wine glasses, the underside with factory’s blue Catherine II cypher mark. Dimensions: 4 in. h x 11 1/2 in. w x 10 in. d (10.2 x 29.2 x 25.4 cm).
Verrières, often called monteiths in British sources & riumochnaia peredacha in Russian, were filled with ice or cold water & were used to cool wine glasses & wine bottles before the days of refrigeration. Nathan Bailey, in the 1721 edition of his Household Dictionary, defined the monteith as”a scallopt bason to cool glasses in.” Porcelain wine glass coolers always had some sort of scalloped rim to hold the glasses, but the wave shaped forms on this example are particularly graceful & a difficult shape to retain during firing. The unusual shape made it worthy of the Imperial table, albeit for everyday use.
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