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

Cruet

1856-1857 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

These small vessels were used in Roman Catholic worship. They held water and wine for the Eucharist and were used at weekday services. Edward Pugin was the son of A.W.N. Pugin, the influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style, and related to the Knill family, who commissioned the furnishings for their chapel in St George’s Cathedral.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Stand for Cruet Set
  • Cruet, One of a Pair
  • Cruet, One of a Pair
Materials and techniques
Silver, silver-gilt, glass, enamel
Brief description
Cruet, silver, glass, silver gilt, enamel, made by John Hardman and Co, possibly designed by E.W. Pugin, Birmingham hallmarks for 1856-1857
Physical description
Cruets: Glass bodies, sixlobed, one with silver mounts, the other silver gilt. Circular domed foot, mounts of pierced fleurons and trefoil foliage with supporting strap from foot to neck. This bends back to form the handle over a pierced roundel. Cover domed with spiralling gadroons, rope twist moulding surrmounted by gilt lions bearing a cross crosslet fitchee.

Stand: Shaped as two circles interlocking with a third smaller circle, rope twist moulding, narrow band of flower heads on a matted background. Engraved central depression. In the centre a roundel enclosing and applied sheild of copper gilt enamelled in red with the Knill arms.
Dimensions
  • Of cruets with stand height: 14cm
  • Of stand length: 18cm
Marks and inscriptions
  • Mark of John Hardman and Co on each
  • On each cruet: sterling standard and duty mark.
  • On stand: Full Birmingham hallmarks for 1856-7
  • Engraved on the stand: " Lavabo inter invocentes manus meas et circumnato altare tuum Domine."
Gallery label
Cruet Set These small vessels were used in Roman Catholic worship. They held water and wine for the Eucharist and were used at weekday services. Edward Pugin was the son of A.W.N. Pugin, the influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style, and related to the Knill family, who commissioned the furnishings for their chapel in St George’s Cathedral. Birmingham, England, 1856–7; possibly designed by Edward Pugin (1834–75), made by John Hardman & Co. Glass, silver gilt and enamel 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
These small vessels were used in Roman Catholic worship. They held water and wine for the Eucharist and were used at weekday services. Edward Pugin was the son of A.W.N. Pugin, the influential architect who promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style, and related to the Knill family, who commissioned the furnishings for their chapel in St George’s Cathedral.
Bibliographic references
  • Pugin, A Gothic Passion exhibition
  • Langhome, Richard and A.H. Westwood, Birmingham gold and silver, 1773-1973: an exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the Assay Office, Birmingham: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1973.
  • 'St George's Cathedra', in: The Survey of London, vol. 25: St George's Fields (The Parishes of St George the Martyr Southwark and St Mary Newington), ed. Ida Darlington (London, 1955).
Collection
Accession number
LOAN:SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL.5:3-2005

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Record createdAugust 24, 2005
Record URL
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