The Huntingdon wine cistern
Abraham Portal ( British, 1726 - 1809 )
Weighing close to eighty pounds, this monumental cistern was made for Frances Hastings, the 10th Earl of Huntingdon, following his appointment to the cabinet of King George III. Originally it would have held ice to chill wine in the Earl’s country home as a grand display of his power and prestige. The cistern itself bears lion-mask handles and both the royal arms and those of the Earl of Huntingdon. Hoofed legs connected by a chain form its detachable base. The size of this cistern and the likelihood that such a large piece would have been melted down as tastes changed make this a particularly rare object.