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Peg tankard

  • Place of origin:

    Scandinavia (possibly, made)
    Denmark (probably, made)

  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raised, cast, chased, engraved silver and parcel gilt

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA20

A wedding medal is part of the lid of this late seventeenth tankard. It is surrounded by the names of the couple, Boerge Hansen and Marthe Brems, and the date of their marriage, 1691. The shape of the tankard with its sturdy ball feet and robust handle can be found on many baroque Northern European, especially Baltic, wedding and peg tankards from the period: drinking games were popular at weddings.

Lid and tankard also feature lavish floral decoration that was engraved and then blackened to increase the contrast to the silver surface. The flowers depicted here feature striped petals, likely to represent a multicoloured variety of tulips. First introduced to continental Europe in the sixteenth century, tulips were cultivated in particular in the Low Countries, and became the most sought-after and revered flower of the Golden Age in the Netherlands. In 1637 they even caused the first recorded speculative bubble, and were still very much in vogue later on in the century. Tulips also were a key motif of Baroque art, from tulip portraits in still lives to ornamental use, as on this tankard. Here, the flowers shape is assimilated to another type of ornament typical for the time: their leaves are turned into scrolling foliage.

Sir Arthur Gilbert (1913-2001) and his wife Rosalinde (1913-1995) formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Their collection is on long-term loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Physical description

Silver, parcel - gilt cylindrical tankard standing on three ball feet

Place of Origin

Scandinavia (possibly, made)
Denmark (probably, made)





Materials and Techniques

Raised, cast, chased, engraved silver and parcel gilt

Marks and inscriptions

mark NOS [possibly]
base of the tankard

Engraved inscription around medal in lid. The names Boerge Hansen and Marthe Brems are both documented in Denmark. The inscription in combination with the medal probably commemorates the couple's marriage.


Height: 20.5 cm, Weight: 1424 g, Length: 21.0 cm, Width: 17.1 cm, Diameter: 16.2 cm Lid, Diameter: 6.0 cm Medal in lid

Object history note

Provenance: S. J. Phillips, London, 1981.

Historical context note

The name 'peg tankard' was given to this type of drinking vessel because of a series of pegs set at regular intervals down the inside wall of the body. Francis Grose's 'Dictionary', published in 1785, describes the function of these tankards as follows: "By the rules of good fellowship, every person drinking out of one of these tankards, was to swallow the quantity contained between two pins; if he drank more or less, he was to continue drinking until he finished at a pin: by this means persons unaccustomed to measure their draughts were obliged to drink the whole tankard."

Descriptive line

Silver, parcel - gilt cylindrical tankard standing on three ball feet.

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

Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 150, pp. 554-556. ISBN.0875871445


Silver; Gold


Raising; Casting; Chasing; Engraving (incising); Parcel gilding


Drinking; Metalwork; Silver


Metalwork Collection

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