Wine and milk don’t really mix. Nevertheless, the design of these silver wine coolers, from a set of four at Knole, was inspired by the appearance of milk pails. They were made by Aaron Lestourgeon in 1776, at a time when there was an increasing taste for idealised country life.
As Meredith Martin has described in here recent book Dairy Queens, this period saw the building of model farms and pleasure dairies, such as the Hameau de la Reine at Versailles and the Bergerie Royale at Rambouillet, where aristocratic ladies could channel their inner milkmaid.
There was a serious philosophical and moral undertone to this, as both milk and country life in general were praised as healthy, wholesome and socially regenerative.
Perhaps it is an indication of the pervasiveness of that trend that even a relatively hedonistic object like a wine cooler was given ‘dairy’ styling.
This set of wine coolers, together with another set of four, was recently accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Knole.