Cup and cover thumbnail 1
Cup and cover thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 6, The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery

Cup and cover

Cup and Cover
1681 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a set of an ivory cup and cover made by Gran Principe Ferdinando de' Medici of Tuscany (1663-1713) in 1681. This cup and cover is in pentagonal shape with eccentric turned mouldings. The stem is an open spiral coil. Inside the cup is the inscription; 'Princeps F. MDCLXXXI'. It was turned by the Medici Prince (the son of Grand Duke Cosimo III) under the tutelage of Philip Senger(Filippo Sengher; active in Florence 1675-1704), who was the court-turner of ivory for the Medici Court in Florence. A turned ivory box and lid in the Museo degli Argenti, Florence, similarly signed and dated 1678 testifies to the Prince's early proficiency in his hobby.
This piece is an example of the 'extraordinary passion for the lathe turning' in princely households, the product of a 'princeps artifex' (MacGregor 2007, p. 43).


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Cup
  • Cup and Cover
Materials and Techniques
Ivory
Brief Description
Cup and cover, ivory, by Prince Ferdinand de'Medici of Tuscany, under the tutelage of Filippo Sengher, Italian (Tuscany), ca. 1681
Physical Description
Ivory, of pentagonal shape with eccentric turned mouldings; the stem is an open spiral coil. Inscription. The main body of the cup is composed of three pieces of ivory fitted together. The lid comprises two main pieces, as well as a knop surmounting the whole.
Dimensions
  • Whole height: 33.8cm
  • Width: 10.2cm (Note: Measurement from Object Card)
  • Height: 34.5cm (Note: Measured for Europe 1600-1800)
  • Width: 12.5cm (Note: Measured for Europe 1600-1800)
  • Depth: 10cm (Note: Measured for Europe 1600-1800)
Marks and Inscriptions
'Princeps F. MDCLXXXI' (inside the cup)
Gallery Label
CUP AND COVER Italian, Florence; dated 1681 By Grand Prince Ferdinando Of Tuscany (1663-1713) Ivory The inscription inside the cup (Princeps F. MDCLXXXI) shows that it was made by the Medici prince, the son of Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici. He was taught in the art of turning by the court turner of ivory, Philip Senger (active in Florence 1675-1704; an example of his work can be seen in the adjacent gallery). This art was practised by noble gentlemen and another example signed by the prince (dated 1678) shows that he became good at turning while still young. (1993 - 2011)
Object history
This object was purchased in 1865 for £7 12s., from a sale of the collection of James Alexandre, Comte de Pourtalès (1776-1855), held as his hôtel , rue Tronchet, no. 7, Paris, 6 March 1865, lot 1544, where many Italian art objects were being sold as a result of their flooding the market after the Napolenic wars.



Summary
This is a set of an ivory cup and cover made by Gran Principe Ferdinando de' Medici of Tuscany (1663-1713) in 1681. This cup and cover is in pentagonal shape with eccentric turned mouldings. The stem is an open spiral coil. Inside the cup is the inscription; 'Princeps F. MDCLXXXI'. It was turned by the Medici Prince (the son of Grand Duke Cosimo III) under the tutelage of Philip Senger(Filippo Sengher; active in Florence 1675-1704), who was the court-turner of ivory for the Medici Court in Florence. A turned ivory box and lid in the Museo degli Argenti, Florence, similarly signed and dated 1678 testifies to the Prince's early proficiency in his hobby.

This piece is an example of the 'extraordinary passion for the lathe turning' in princely households, the product of a 'princeps artifex' (MacGregor 2007, p. 43).
Bibliographic References
  • Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 31
  • Klaus, Maurice. Der drechselnde Souverän: Materialien zu einer fürstlichen Maschinenkunst, Zurich: Ineichen, 1985, p. 153, fig. 94
  • Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 90
  • Diafane passioni. Avori barocchi dalle corti europee, exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Museo degli Argenti, Florence (16 July – 3 November 2013), Florence, 2013, cat. no. 36, p. 152
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 290, p. 297
  • MacGregor, A., Curiosity and Enlightenment. Collectors and Collections from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 43, fig. 32
Collection
Accession Number
75:1-1865

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record createdApril 1, 2008
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