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Christening cup

Christening cup

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1868 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Barnard & Sons (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver gilt, beaded and engraved

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 1

Object Type
Gifts of silver were often given to mark rites of passage, such as marriage, retirement or christening. The custom of a christening gift may have begun in the Tudor period (1485-1603). Silver spoons were a popular present, hence the saying 'born with a silver spoon in the mouth'. In 1661 the diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) gave a set of silver spoons as a christening gift to a child in his family. Cups and porringers (small, two-handled bowls) could also be given as christening presents.

By the 19th century the standard gift for a christening was a set of cutlery, a cup or a mug. Manufacturers' catalogues from the later part of the century show boxed sets of cutlery with a cup, mug or egg cup. These could cost over £12 depending on the number of pieces and the richness of the decoration.

Barnard & Sons was one of the largest and most successful manufacturing silversmiths in London in the 19th century. They supplied retailers throughout England with good-quality silver and also exported to such countries as America and India.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1868 (made)


Barnard & Sons (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver gilt, beaded and engraved

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed: 'Nesta Mary Platt from her GODFATHER'


Height: 14.2 cm, Width: 6.8 cm base

Object history note

Made by Barnard & Sons, London

Descriptive line

Christening Goblet

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This christening cup is a fine example of the kind of commemorative gift that was often given by a relative at a child's christening. The silver-gilt goblet is decorated with beading and engraved ivy leaves, signifying eternal life. [27/03/2003]


Metalwork; Religion; Ceremonial objects


Metalwork Collection

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