An antique dealer who bought 210lbs of scrap silver and commissioned a craftsman to make a massive 17th century-style wine cistern from it has put it up for sale.
Simon Wingett wanted to create a copy of something that was once used to display opulence, wealth and power in only the finest residences.
The cistern stands almost two feet high and weighs 15 stone, the same as a baby elephant – and it takes two people to lift it.
A silversmith local to Simon’s Burton Antiques business near Bridlington in Yorkshire spent 22 months making it after having to learn traditional skills.
It was based on an historic mahogany version worth £250,000 – and it is valued considerably higher than that.
It is being offered on the antique online marketplace 2Covet and has attracted international interest.
Simon said: “My business partner and I decided to make one of these objects; there are incredibly few originals left in the world.
“We studied a George II mahogany wine cistern by Benjamin Goodison which we decided to base it on.
“I spent many hours buying up scrap silver from auction houses around the country. Many objects sold are worth only the weight of the silver.
“This scrap silver was then used to create the cistern; the craftsman used the lost wax method and other original techniques and it took him nearly two years.
“After around 1720 silver cisterns were phased out to be replaced by wooden versions and we wanted to get back to the original.
“It’s a bit of a punt but we are able to reach a worldwide market through 2Covet and we’ve had a lot of interest.
“If the demand is there we will make a worldwide limited edition run of eight – all bespoke and all handcrafted with no artists’ copies.
“Originally a host would place a dozen wine bottles in a cistern, with ice, and a plug at the bottom would allow the water out. And ours has that feature.
“The cistern, which is called the Burton Fleming Cistern after where my business is based, has a lion’s face and hairy paw feet and is being kept at a secret location because of its value.”