An Elizabeth I silver-gilt standing cup, maker’s mark I.H. in shaped shield, London, 1594, and a cover, circa 1680.

The stem of the cup is in two sections, with four C-scroll brackets with greyhounds heads.

The plain silver-gilt bowl is enclosed by four straps pierced with flowers and scrolls; the lip engraved with a band of running scrolls of flowers, thistles and acorns, height 27.9cm.

The bowl of this cup would originally have been formed from the shell of an ostrich egg. The Renaissance brought an intense interest in foreign and exotic materials and ostrich eggs were highly regarded as examples of wealth, scientific interest and curiosity.

The inclusion of such an object into a drinking vessel, with silver mounts of the highest quality, would have appealed greatly to a wealthy connoisseur as an enviable conversation-piece.


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