Pair of silver-mounted frosted glass claret jugs, 1844, £11,000 at Dore & Rees.

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Set to the handles, feet and neck with elaborate fruiting vine mounts, the pair also bear an inscription indicating it was retailed by Hunt & Roskell Late Storr, Mortimer and Hunt.

Claret jugs of this famous bacchanalian model in silver or silver gilt feature in many reference books and important collections.

However, this duo, offered by Dore & Rees (25% buyer’s premium) at Frome, Somerset on March 22, is remarkable for two reasons.

The jugs come with matching stands and also carry the coronet finials and the crest of George Augustus Chichester, 2nd Marquess of Donegall (1769-1844).

The Anglo-Irish nobleman and politician was famously profligate and a lifelong gambler (he even married the daughter of a moneylender and owner of a gambling house as part of an agreement to resolve some debts) and was seriously in hock when he died in 1844 at his home at Ormeau, County Down.

As these splendid claret jugs are hallmarked that same year, one must wonder if Hunt & Roskell was ever paid by its esteemed client.

Estimated at £8000-12,000, they sold at £11,000.


Pair of silver-mounted frosted glass claret jugs, 1844, £11,000 at Dore & Rees.

Mortimer & Hunt and its successor Hunt & Roskell had many European customers and is known to have exported extensively during this period.

A pair of similar jugs in silver gilt with the coronet of a Continental noble family sold for £22,000 at Sotheby’s in 2011.