The Bowes Cup

1554 The Bowes Cup, Queen Elizabeth I Coronation Cup

Silver-gilt standing cup and cover with cast, chased and engraved Renaissance decoration, with enamel armorial bearings of Sir Martin Bowes. Originally set with rock crystal. Gift, in 1561, of Sir Martin Bowes, Prime Warden 1558. Maker’s mark: Queen’s Head. Measurements: Height 49.3 cm. Diameter 19.3 cm.        

The cup is known as Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Cup. The lid finial has a female figure holding an enamelled shield with the coat of arms of Sir Martin Bowes. Traditionally, the Lord Mayor attended the Coronation banquet, acting as the monarch’s chief butler. As a fee he received the cup from which the Sovereign drank. Sir Martin Bowes, Prime Warden in 1558, received this cup. Presented to the Company in 1561 as a ‘remembrance’, it remains one of the principle treasures of the Company’s antique silver collection. The cup’s style recalls Nuremburg goldsmiths’ work of the period. The stem is directly taken from an engraving published shortly before by Balthasar Sylvius.

Exhibited in: “Historic Plate of the City of London”, Goldsmiths’ Hall, 1951.

“Treasures of the 20th Century”, Millennium Exhibition, Goldsmiths’ Hall, 25th May – 21st July 2000. 

1554 Bowes Cup

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