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Chalice

Chalice

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    mid 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Biais Ainé et Cie (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt with chased decoration

  • Museum number:

    M.25&A-1983

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 1 []

This chalice originally belonged to James Alipius Goold who became the first Catholic bishop (later archbishop) of Melbourne in 1847. He was an Irishman from County Cork who had studied for the priesthood at Augustinian monasteries in Perugia and Viterbo in Italy.

The foot and bowl of the chalice are decorated with grapes and sheaves of wheat. This decoration refers to the bread and wine used in the Last Supper which Christ ate with his disciples before his arrest. In the mass the bread and wine are believed by Roman Catholics to become the body and blood of Christ. The decoration therefore relates to the function and significance of the chalice.

Physical description

The chalice has a hexafoil foot, stamp-cut with a beaded rim, the trefoliated lobes have wheat ears alternating with a single bunch of grapes and vine-leaves. The details are chased and the background matted. A roll moulding separates the foot from the tubular stem. The flattened spherical knop is divided into six segments with broad ribbing between them. Each segment has a Gothic quatrefoil on its most prominent surface and a field of engraved diapering above and below. The calyx of the tall bowl has stamped pierced work echoing the motifs of the foot. The bowl appears to be a replacement.

Paten:
Circular paten with a profiled moulding around the centre so that it can rest within the bowl of the chalice. The central area engraved with a crown of thorns, the letters IHS (Sacred Monogram) and the Sacred Heart pierced with three nails

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

mid 19th century (made)

Artist/maker

Biais Ainé et Cie (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt with chased decoration

Marks and inscriptions

BIAIS AINE ET CIE, PARIS
Stamped Biais Aine et Cie, Paris and marked HL with a device (unidentified maker's mark). Paris guarantee mark from 1838.

Marked HL with a device (unidentified maker's mark). Paris guarantee mark from 1838

Dimensions

Height: 24.50 cm, Diameter: 15.10 cm base, Diameter: 131 mm of paten

Object history note

Previously the property of James Goold, the first Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia.

Historical context note

Saints and Symbols
Like most religions, Christianity has a rich language of images and symbols. This iconography would have been clearly understood in the past but it may be less familiar to modern eyes.

Though often decorative, the symbols used on religious metalwork also refer to the function and significance of the objects. The contemplation of religious motifs can draw believers into a deeper understanding of their faith. Complex theological themes can be represented in a visual form. A chalice, for example, might be adorned with the tools used in the Crucifixion (the 'Instruments of the Passion') to direct the viewer's mind towards Christ's sacrifice and his death on the cross.

The use of images has caused controversy throughout Christian history. While supporters held that imagery glorified God and helped believers understand their faith better, critics attacked its use as superstition and idolatry.

Saints
Christians venerate saints as men and women who, through the holiness of their lives, became especially close to God. The saints include martyrs who suffered and died for their faith as well as great teachers and preachers. Their lives provide an example and inspiration for the faithful. Roman Catholics also believe that saints can intercede on their behalf with God. In Christian iconography, saints are usually depicted with a distinctive object or 'attribute' associated with their martyrdom or works. For example, St Bartholomew, who was skinned alive, holds a flaying knife, and St George is shown with a dragon.

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt, made in Paris, second half of the nineteenth century.

Labels and date

Chalice and Paten
This paten would have been used during the Mass to serve the consecrated bread. Along with a chalice, it originally belonged to James Alipius Goold, who became the first Roman Catholic bishop of Melbourne in 1847 (and later archbishop). He was an Irishman from County Cork who had studied for the priesthood at Augustinian monasteries in Perugia and Viterbo in Italy.

The paten is decorated with a crown of thorns, referring to that worn by Jesus on the cross, the letters ‘IHS’ and a heart pierced by three nails. ‘IHS’ represents a contraction of the name Jesus Christ in Greek. Known as the ‘Sacred Monogram’, it has been used as a symbol for Christ since the 6th century. The heart pierced by nails is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a symbol that became popular among Catholics in the 17th century.

Paris, France, about 1850; marked ‘HL’
Silver gilt
Museum no. M.25 & A –1983 [22/11/2005]

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail

Materials

Silver-gilt

Subjects depicted

Wheat; Grapes

Categories

Metalwork; Religion; Christianity

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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