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Beaker

  • Place of origin:

    London (assayed)

  • Date:

    1525-1526 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raised, moulded, stamped, flat-chased and partially gilded silver

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.577-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 70, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 1, shelf 2

This late medieval beaker is a very rare survival: many precious metal objects of this period were later melted down to create more fashionable items. Its form imitates earlier German drinking glasses. Its proportions appear to be unique in silver, suggesting it may have been converted from a font-shaped cup, though it shows no physical evidence of alteration. The almost complete destruction of domestic plate from the early 16th century makes such conjectures mere speculation, and it is quite possible that this is a solitary survival of a once common form.

This piece is an example of 16th century domestic silver. Such silver was both functional and ornamental. Objects for dining and drinking took elegant forms and were decorated in the latest styles. Beautifully crafted items intended only for display often adopted functional forms such as cups and dishes. Domestic silver was not confined to the most wealthy. Many people owned silver spoons or mounted vessels, items which often became treasured possessions.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

A shallow circular bowl with gilt interior and slightly spreading sides, flat chased with a broad band consisting of three tiers on imbricated lobes and standing on a circular moulded foot.

Place of Origin

London (assayed)

Date

1525-1526 (hallmarked)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Raised, moulded, stamped, flat-chased and partially gilded silver

Marks and inscriptions

London hallmarks for 1525-26

Mark: SC or a Rebus
Unidentified (Jackson, p.94)

Dimensions

Height: 5.7 cm, Diameter: 10.3 cm, Weight: 220 g

Object history note

Provenance: J. Dunn Gardner, sale, Christie's, lot 130, April 29, 1902. J. Pierpont Morgan. The Morgan Family, sale, Christie's, New York, lot 58, October 26, 1982.

Descriptive line

Silver, parcel-gilt, London hallmarks for 1525-6, mark (unidentified)

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

Jackson, Charles James. An Illustrated History of English Plate, Ecclesiastical and Secular. London: Country Life/B.T. Batsford, 2 Vols. 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover Publications, 1969. Vol. 2, fig. 890, p. 684.
Jones, E., Alfred. The Gold and Silver of Windsor Castle. Letchworth: Arden Press, 1911, p. XI, 2, pl. I.
Jones, E. Alfred. Old silver of Europe and North America from early times to the nineteenth century. London: B.T. Batsford, 1928, p. 97, pl. XXVIII, no. 6.
Taylor, Gerald. Silver Through the Ages. 2nd ed. London: Cassell and Company, 1964, p. 80
Clayton, Michael. The Collector's dictionary of the silver and gold of Great Britain and North America. 2nd ed. [Woodbridge, Suffolk]: Antique Collectors' Club, 1985, p. 30.
Clayton, Michael. Christie's pictorial history of English and American silver. Oxford: Phaidon/Christie's, 1985, p.10, no.1. ISBN.0714880183
Schroder, Timothy. 'Early English silver rarities'. The Antique Collector. June 1986, vol. 57, no. 6, fig. 3, p. 116-17.
Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 2, pp.35-37. ISBN.0875871445

Labels and date

(Gallery 70, case 1)
7. Lobed beaker
1525–26
London, England; maker’s mark possibly SC or a rebus
Partially gilded silver
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.577-2008 [16/11/2016]

Production Note

Maker's mark possibly sc or a rebus (Jackson, p. 94)

Materials

Silver; Silver-gilt

Techniques

Raising; Moulding; Die stamping; Flat chasing; Parcel gilding

Categories

Drinking; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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