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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    V&A Reproduction Department (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Electrotype, silver-plated

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122c, case 1, shelf EXP

Object Type
This two-handled cup is an electrotype copy of an English silver wine cup, hallmarked for London, 1719-20.

Materials & Making
The technique of making or reproducing objects by electrotyping was first demonstrated in 1838 and was developed by Elkington & Co. in the 1840s.The technique involves making a plaster mould from an original object and then making a model in base metal from that mould. The model and a quantity of the plating metal (usually silver) are then connected to electric terminals and placed in a bath filled with a conductive solution. The electrical current causes particles of the plating metal to be deposited on the surface of the model. The thickness of the plating can be regulated by the duration and voltage of the current. The plated object is then worked manually to erase imperfections. A difference in the quality of surface can be detected in unburnished pieces, and clarity of line is sometimes lost.

The extensive scheme for reproducing electrotype copies of metal objects was undertaken by the Science and Art Department in the latter half of the 19th century. Sir Henry Cole, the first Director of the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A), quickly grasped the educational potential of this new technique.

Place of Origin

London (made)


19th century (made)


V&A Reproduction Department (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Electrotype, silver-plated


Height: 13 cm, Width: 21 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

Two handled cup

Production Note

Original - 1719-20




Drinking; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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