Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries

Ciborium

1845-1846 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

In the 19th century the revival of interest in medieval ritual led the Anglican church to adopt vessels it had not used since the Reformation. One of these was the ciborium (for holding the consecrated bread for the Eucharist) which could now be ordered from Roman Catholic or Anglican suppliers.

Surviving records for the manufacturers, John Hardman & Co., show that St George’s Cathedral bought this ciborium for £20 in March 1846. It was designed by A.W.N. Pugin, a highly influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silver, parcel-gilt, semi-precious stones
Brief description
Ciborium, silver, parcel-gilt with semi-precious stones, Birmingham hallmarks for 1845-6, made by John Hardman and Co, designed by A.W.N. Pugin
Physical description
Ciborium, silver, parcel-gilt, set with semi-precious stones. Hemispherical bowl with an engraved arcaded pattern terminating in trefoils and with mouldings. Engraved calyx and stem; moulded collet. The bosses setr with carbuncles. The mullet shaped foot engraved; the lobes each with a Cross of St George. The cover engraved and set with semi-precious stones, inscribed " sanctus " surmounted by a cross.
Dimensions
  • Height: 29cm
  • Of base diameter: 14cm
Marks and inscriptions
  • Birmingham hallmarks for 1845-6 on the bowl.
  • Mark of John Hardman and Co on the bowl.
Gallery label
Ciborium In the 19th century the revival of interest in medieval ritual led the Anglican church to adopt vessels it had not used since the Reformation. One of these was the ciborium (for holding the consecrated bread for the Eucharist) which could now be ordered from Roman Catholic or Anglican suppliers. Surviving records for the manufacturers, John Hardman & Co., show that St George's Cathedral bought this ciborium for £20 in March 1846. It was designed by A.W.N. Pugin, a highly influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. Birmingham, England, 1845-6; designed by A.W.N. Pugin (1812-52), made by John Hardman & Co. Silver, partly gilded, set with semi-precious stones Lent by St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark(22/11/2005)
Credit line
Lent by St. George's Roman Catholic Cathedral
Historical context
The Gothic Revival
In the Victorian period a dramatic and profound change took place in religious life. Centred on a renewed interest in the Middle Ages, it affected the appearance of churches and how services were conducted. The influential architect A.W.N. Pugin promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. Although Pugin was Catholic, his theory appealed to Anglicans of the Oxford Movement - radicals who hoped to restore pre-Reformation services to the Church of England.

The Cambridge Camden Society, founded in 1839, studied the past to identify the medieval architecture and furnishings that would be appropriate for the revived services. The society became an arbiter of style, offering an Anglicised version of the Gothic. By the 1870s some of the equipment normally found in Catholic worship, such as the ciborium, was appearing in Anglican churches.

It was not universally welcomed. Some observers found the incense, the altar cross and the emphasis on ritual scandalously 'Popish' or 'high church'.

The Gothic Revival in Europe
The Gothic revival in Europe owed more to nationalism than religious zeal. The completion of Cologne's medieval cathedral was an affirmation of German culture. In the Habsburg empire, Czechs and Hungarians similarly expressed national pride through Gothic architecture.

Champions of the Gothic claimed by the 1850s that the style was triumphant in Europe. But classical architecture remained a serious rival, even in church building. Much of the most important Gothic work was in church restoration. In Germany and France, goldsmiths like Franz Xaver Hellner supplied Gothic church furnishings.
Summary
In the 19th century the revival of interest in medieval ritual led the Anglican church to adopt vessels it had not used since the Reformation. One of these was the ciborium (for holding the consecrated bread for the Eucharist) which could now be ordered from Roman Catholic or Anglican suppliers.

Surviving records for the manufacturers, John Hardman & Co., show that St George’s Cathedral bought this ciborium for £20 in March 1846. It was designed by A.W.N. Pugin, a highly influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style.
Bibliographic reference
Copy or creation: Victorian treasures from English churches: exhibition organised by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and the Victorian Society, 17 May to 7th June 1967, at Goldsmiths' Hall
Collection
Accession number
LOAN:SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL.4-2005

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Record createdAugust 11, 2005
Record URL
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