Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Cup and cover

  • Place of origin:

    Canons Ashby (made)

  • Date:

    1978 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Osman, Louis, born 1914 - died 1996 (designer and maker)
    Osman, Dilys, born 1916 - died 2012 (enamellers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, black cultured pearls and enamel.

  • Credit Line:

    The John Carrow Bequest

  • Museum number:

    M.231:1, 2-2007

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 68, shelf D, box 4 []

This cup was commissioned by Mrs G.L. Grant (known as 'Michael') to celebrate the love of Africa which she shared with her first husband, Commander John Hinton Carrow CMG, DSC (1890-1973). Commander Carrow entered the Royal Navy in 1905 and fought at Jutland. He was invalided out of the Royal Navy and served from 1919 to 1947 in Nigeria in the Colonial Administrative Service.

'Michael' Grant (she took her second husband's surname) coxed the Oxford University women's boat, and went as a postgraduate to Africa, where she had a pet lion. She enjoyed Louis Osman's sense of fun and his highly individual approach to goldsmithing. She used to say that the cup was in a sense unfinished because pressure from his creditors meant that he executed the final decoration of the drum rapidly so that she could leave by the back door while the bailiffs came in through the front. Louis Osman's design for a more elaborate version of the cup is in the collection of the V&A's Word and Image Department (E.328-1985).

Louis Osman was born in Exeter in 1914. He studied drawing at the Slade School of Art and trained at the Bartlett School of Architecture. In 1940 he married Dilys Roberts (1916-2012) who executed the enamelling on this cup. He practised as an architect and then, partly at the instigation of Gerald Benney, as a silversmith. He designed the gold crown for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969 and many commissions for the Goldsmiths' Company's collection. He died in 1996.

Physical description

Twenty-two carat yellow gold cup and cover, the bowl echoing an African stringed drum bearing a textured finish and supported on a recumbent Thompson's gazelle decorated in brown, white, beige and black enamels with the eyes represented by black cultured pearls. A rectangular base bearing the words 'BUT ALWAYS AS FRIENDS'. The cover is engraved as the sea with applied green enamelled foaming waves border and surmounted by two dolphins in grey and blue enamels.

Place of Origin

Canons Ashby (made)


1978 (made)


Osman, Louis, born 1914 - died 1996 (designer and maker)
Osman, Dilys, born 1916 - died 2012 (enamellers)

Materials and Techniques

Gold, black cultured pearls and enamel.

Marks and inscriptions

London hallmarks for 1978. Sponsor's mark LO for Louis Osman.


Height: 126 mm, Weight: 497.65 g, Width: 71 mm, Depth: 69 mm

Descriptive line

Gold and enamel cup and cover by Louis Osman, enamelled by Dilys Osman, England, 1978

Production Note

Hallmarked London, 1978.


Gold; Enamel; Pearl


Raising; Chasing; Enamelling; Engraving (incising); Stone setting

Subjects depicted

Dolphin; Gazelle; Drum



Production Type



Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.