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Ice pail and cover, Davenport & Co., c. 1810

This ice pail and cover, used for the storage and transportation of ice cream, is a striking example of early 19th-century naturalism.

Unlike many other production lines of the Davenport works, this distinctive type of modelling was particular to the factory. Davenport was one of the big four English ceramic firms during the early to mid-19th century, alongside Minton, Spode and Wedgwood. However, the firm left no archive, and its importance was largely forgotten until the 1970s.

Ice pails were usually made in three parts: the pail itself, which was packed with ice; a liner (missing from this example), which contained the ice cream or other frozen foodstuffs; and the cover, which would be filled with ice and perhaps topped with fruit.

Ice pail and cover, Davenport & Co., c.1810
Museum number: C.64:1, 2-2005 – © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2005

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