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Cup and cover - Cup and cover

Cup and cover

  • Object:

    Cup and cover

  • Place of origin:

    Tuscany (artist German, made)

  • Date:

    1681 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Senger, Philipp (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 6, The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery, case CA6

Throughout the ages artists and craftsmen have made virtuoso carvings as a display of their skill and ingenuity. Although ivory, wood and stone are relatively easy to carve, other materials such as gemstones are much more demanding. Most of these carvings were made for wealthy patrons and collectors, who delighted in the rarity of the material and quality of the carving.

The sculptor of this cup and cover, Philipp Senger (Filippo Sengher) was an ivory turner to Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1642-1723) and made this object in 1681. He appears to have made this piece entirely on a lathe, including the figure that supports the cup. The elegant shape recalls silver vessels, but it was designed as a work of art and was not destined to function as a goblet.

This virtuoso piece epitomises the artist's skill as a turner. It is interesting to see here that the one figurative element, the supporting putto, is turned, rather than carved.

Physical description

Cup and cover, supported by a standing putto, partially draped. Inscribed.

Place of Origin

Tuscany (artist German, made)


1681 (made)


Senger, Philipp (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'Filippo Senger tornitore del signor granduca di Toscana invenit; Filippo Senger turner to the Grand Duke of Tuscany designed this'
Inscibed under base with inked-in background

'The figure was also turned in 1681'
Inscribed inside the bottom of the bowl with inked-in background


Height: 34 cm, Width: 14 cm, Depth: 10 cm, Weight: 0.240 kg

Object history note

Purchased for £11 8s. at the sale of the collection of James Alexandre, Comte de Pourtalès (1776-1855), held at his hôtel, 7 rue Tronchet, Paris, 6 March 1865, lot 1543.

Descriptive line

Cup and cover, ivory, by Philipp Senger (Filippo Sengher), German, made in Italy (Tuscany), 1681

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

South Kensington Museum, Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington Vol. I, For the Years 1852 to the end of 1867 (London, 1868), p. 31
Maskell, A., Ivories (London, 1905), pp. 297-8, pl. LXV
Longhurst, Margaret H., Catalogue of carvings in ivory (V&A, London, 1926-9), vol. 2, pp. 89-90, pl. LXXVI
Aschengreen Piacenti, K., 'Documented works in ivory by Balthasar Permoser and some documents related to Filippo Senger' in: Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz vol.4, no.10 (February 1963), p. 283
Von Philippovich, E., Elfenbein, (Munich, 2nd rev. ed. 1982), pp. 428, 431
Trusted, Marjorie. ed. The Making of Sculpture: The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture, London: V&A Publications, 2007, p. 121
Diafane passioni. Avori barocchi dalle corti europee, exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Museo degli Argenti, Florence (16 July – 3 November 2013), Florence, 2013, cat. no. 35, p. 150
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 289, pp. 295, 6

Production Note

German artist, active Tuscany and Florence between 1675 and 1704.





Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Vases


Sculpture Collection

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