A pair of tureens that are a Rococo tour de force in silver, and among the finest treasures of the National Trust

We're taking a look at nine of the greatest objects on display in the National Trust's properties across Britain — this time around we look at the incredibly intricate soup tureens of Ickworth.

The National Trust’s collections are not only vast, but contain objects of astonishing beauty, quality and human interest. To coincide with the Trust’s 125 anniversary, we asked nine senior curators — including national experts in painting and sculpture, textiles, furniture and decorative arts — to choose their favourite object from among those in their care.

Pair of silver soup tureens, Frederick Kandler, London, 1752–53, at Ickworth, Suffolk

James Rothwell, Decorative Arts curator

I have chosen these theatrical creations — among the most lavishly Rococo pieces of English silver — because they are a tour de force of craftsmanship and also because they say so much about the patron, the 2nd Earl of Bristol, and his times. The young Earl was determined upon a political career and a fashionable and suitably magnificent array of dining silver was a pre-requisite.

All eyes would have been on these glittering stage-props as liveried footmen removed the lids with a flourish, before Lord Bristol presided over distribution. Further attention would have been drawn to them when they were removed to allow the second act to commence, great silver dishes bearing roast meats taking their place.

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