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Standing cup

Standing cup

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1650-1670 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engine-turned lignum vitae

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr. G. Flint Clarkson through Art Fund, in memory of Mr S Flint Clarkson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Lignum vitae, with engine-turned decoration. Octagonal straight-sided bowl; round the middle, a narrow band in relief; on the base are concentric patterns of wavy lines. Bobbin-shaped stem with a knop above decorated with bands of vertical incisions. Spreading foot, decorated with concentric bands of wavy lines in countersunk relief; on the underside are concentric rosette patterns.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


1650-1670 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engine-turned lignum vitae


Height: 14.5 cm, Diameter: 11.5 cm

Object history note

Given to the V&A in 1936 by G. Flint Clarkson [R.P. 336/1936].
A note in the R.D. says:- this cup formed an important addition to the coll. of English vessels of wood. The cup dated from the middle of the 17th century and is of exceptionally elegant form, owing much to the standing-cups of the contemporary English silversmith... The decoration was engine-turned on a foot-lathe and shows a happy sense of ornamental pattern in comparatively simple terms. It consists of varied wavy lines, some of them cut deep with g (?) of the foot; the stem is appropriately treated with rows of vertical notches. The undulating surfaces of the upper part have acquired a soft smooth texture which only time and the moisture of fingers can impart.

Descriptive line

Standing cup, British, 1650-70

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

F. Gordon Roe, 'Susan Meadows'' Desk, a study in love tokens, The Connoisseur, September 1946, pp.31-5

Labels and date


ENGLISH; middle of the 17th century
Lignum Vitae, with turned decoration.

When first imported in the early 16th century, this wood was used medicinally. Once the difficulties involved in working it had been overcome, however, its qualities of toughness and impermeability made it an ideal and popular wood throughout the 17th century for drinking vessels as well as pestles and mortars.

Presented through the National Art Collections Fund in memory of S. Flint Clarkson. [pre October 2000]


Lignum vitae


Engine turning


Woodwork; Food vessels & Tableware; Drinking; Household objects


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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