Cup thumbnail 1
Cup thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Cup

ca. 1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Drinking vessels in the form of owls and birds of prey were popular in German-speaking lands during the 16th and 17th centuries. On this example, the coconut shell has been carved with feathers and the silver mounts include wings with hinges which move as the cup is lifted to drink from.

The piece is also evidence of beliefs held at the time: a small bloodstone amulet engraved with a scorpion was mounted on the breast of the bird as a guarantee against poisoning. While the image of the scorpion was thought to prevent poisoning outright, the amulet's material was believed to protect against haemorrhage, a common effect of poisoning.

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Schatzkammer is one of the few collections of its kind formed in the late 20th century. The Schatzkammer, or treasury, was a new concept in the 16th century. It referred to a special chamber in which the most precious artefacts of a princely collection were housed. Gold and jewelled objects were mounted alongside exotic natural curiosities, including rock crystal, nautilus shells and ostrich eggs. Together they demonstrated not only the wonders of nature and the technical achievements of the artist, but also the intellect and culture of the patron.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


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

  • Cup
  • Cover
Materials and Techniques
Cast, raised and chased partially gilded silver (parcel-gilt), carved coconut shell and carved semiprecious stones
Brief Description
Parcel-gilt mounted coconut cup in the form of a falcon, the coconut body carved with feathers, the remainding body is of silver with silver-gilt talons and lower legs, Germany, ca, 1600
Physical Description
Cup in the form of a falcon, the coconut body carved with feathers, the remaining body is of silver with silver-gilt talons and lower legs, a silver-gilt vertical strap connects the lower and upper body with a putto mask at the junction, and at the mid point, an ancient Roman intaglio of a scorpion. The cover is shaped as a falcon's head, the beak and ears are gilded and the eyes inset with carnelians.
Dimensions
  • Height: 22cm
  • Width: 11.5cm
  • Depth: 11.5cm
  • Wings open depth: 21cm
  • Weight: 600g
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Ulm hallmark and Ulm maker's mark of either Samuel or Hans Kässborer ((Rosenberg, no. 4772))
  • 'B' in lozenge-shaped punch (Punched on underside of both wings and rim of cup and on inside of lid (obscured by later seal) Austrian tax mark for 'old' silver submitted to the Prague tax commission in 1806/1807 (for detailed discussion of this mark, see: Rohrwasser, Alfred. Österreichs Punzen. Edelmetall-Punzierung in Österreich von 1524 bis 1987. 2nd ed. Perchtoldsdorf: Verlag Bondi, 1987. Pp. 10-11.))
Gallery Label
12. Cup in the form of a falcon About 1600 Drinking vessels in the form of owls and other birds of prey were particularly popular in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. The hinged wings of this cup can be moved to mimic the falcon raising its wings. Ulm, Germany; possibly Samuel or Hans Kässborer (active 1600–10) Coconut shell, partially gilded silver and bloodstone and carnelian Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.61:1, 2-2008(16/11/2016)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: P.J. Mainz, Stuttgart. Sale, Neumeister Gallerie, Munich, lot 96, November 28, 1984. Purchased from S.J. Phillips, London, 1985.
Production
Maker's mark possibly that of Samuel or Hans Kässborer (Rosenberg, no. 4772)
Subject depicted
Summary
Drinking vessels in the form of owls and birds of prey were popular in German-speaking lands during the 16th and 17th centuries. On this example, the coconut shell has been carved with feathers and the silver mounts include wings with hinges which move as the cup is lifted to drink from.



The piece is also evidence of beliefs held at the time: a small bloodstone amulet engraved with a scorpion was mounted on the breast of the bird as a guarantee against poisoning. While the image of the scorpion was thought to prevent poisoning outright, the amulet's material was believed to protect against haemorrhage, a common effect of poisoning.



The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Schatzkammer is one of the few collections of its kind formed in the late 20th century. The Schatzkammer, or treasury, was a new concept in the 16th century. It referred to a special chamber in which the most precious artefacts of a princely collection were housed. Gold and jewelled objects were mounted alongside exotic natural curiosities, including rock crystal, nautilus shells and ostrich eggs. Together they demonstrated not only the wonders of nature and the technical achievements of the artist, but also the intellect and culture of the patron.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Bibliographic References
  • Rosenberg, Marc. Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen. 4 vols. Frankfurt am Main: Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt, 1922-28, vol. III, no. 4772, p. 348.
  • Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 142, pp. 526-29. ISBN.0875871445
Other Numbers
  • SG 197 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • SG 322 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1999.25 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.61:1, 2-2008

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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