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  • Chalice
    William Butterfield, born 1814 - died 1900
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1856-1857 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    William Butterfield, born 1814 - died 1900 (designer)
    Keith, John (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver with gilding, set with semi-precious stones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 8

Object Type
A chalice is a cup used to contain wine at the most important act of worship of the Christian Church, the Holy Communion or Mass. This richly decorated chalice is in the Gothic style promoted by the architect A.W.N. Pugin and the Cambridge Camden Society ( later the Ecclesiological Society ). The architect, William Butterfield who designed the chalice, was often quite original in his interpretation of the Gothic style, as the elaborate patterning of the coloured stones shows.

William Butterfield (1814-1900), the designer of this chalice, trained as an architect and was appointed to supervise the Cambridge Camden Society's new scheme for the manufacture of church plate and furnishings in 1843. This chalice was made under the scheme by the official silversmith to the society, John Keith & Son. Henry Woodyer, the architect of the convent for which the chalice was commissioned, was a pupil of William Butterfield.

The chalice was made for use at the House of Mercy convent ( now called the Convent of St John the Baptist ) at Clewer in Berkshire. It was presented by Sister Elisabeth Morton, in the year after she took her vows as a nun, to be used in the new chapel that she had funded. The designer and architectural historian, Nicholas Pevsner, described the architectural style of the convent as 'joyless Gothic'.

Physical description

Silver gilt, pierced, engraved and applied decoration, and set with semi-precious stones with foiled crystals.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1856-1857 (hallmarked)


William Butterfield, born 1814 - died 1900 (designer)
Keith, John (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver with gilding, set with semi-precious stones

Marks and inscriptions

Below outside rim: maker, John Keith, sterling, duty, leopard, date; On base: incised '100'. Designed by William Butterfield for the Ecclesiological Society.

Inscribed on the underside: "Given by E.M. for the use of the Chapel of the House of Mercy, Clewer, June 1856"


Height: 24.2 cm, Diameter: 15.2 cm

Object history note

Designed by William Butterfield (born in London, 1814, died there in 1900); made in London by John Keith (active from about 1824)
Hallmarked for London

Elizabeth Morton was a wealthy member of the community of Anglican nuns at the House of Mercy. This was the first Anglican convent, and the subject of much controversy. The design of this chalice was something of a standard: in 1856, the Society published designs by Butterfield for chalices, which closely resemble this one. The Society's pronouncements on chalices were very specific - "every part is wrought, casting not being allowable. The knop is generally pierced. This, and every other part, may be, and have been, elaborately jewelled and decorated with enamels".

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt set with semi-precious stones, London hallmarks for 1856-7, mark of John Keith, designed by William Butterfield.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Sister Elisabeth Morton gave this chalice to her Anglican convent chapel in the year after she took her vows as a nun. Her fortune also paid for a new chapel for the community. Many churches and religious institutions benefited in this way from the generosity of individual patrons. [27/03/2003]


Silver; Gold; Semi-precious stone


Christianity; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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