Lot 6. A German large silver-gilt cup and cover, the 17th century elements of the cup assembled in the 19th century with some later additions, struck with spurious marks; 19.¼ in. (48.9 cm.) high; 6.¼ in. (15.9 cm.) diameter, 34 oz. 3 dwt. (1,063 gr.). Estimate GBP 10,000 - GBP 15,000 (USD 12,660 - USD 18,990)Price realised GBP 40,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019. 

On raised gadrooned foot surmounted by a baluster vase-shaped stem cast with grotesque masks and applied with three scroll brackets, the tapering bowl chased with three female masks framed by auricular scrolls, flower festoons, exotic birds and insects on a matted ground, the rim etched with a band of arabesque motifs, the detachable cover with corresponding decoration, the finial formed as a soldier holding an halberd and shield applied with an indistinct verre églomisé armorial panel, marked on foot, rim and in cover

ProvenanceRothschild collection. 

NoteThis form of German standing cup with straight sided beaker-shaped bowl and a flaring rim is a Renaissance form that appeared in the second half of the 16th century which was favoured by Augsburg goldsmiths, as was the etched band of arabesque motifs around the rim and the foliate scrollwork panels. The model spread beyond the main German goldsmithing centres to Hungary in the south and the Netherlands in the north, becoming one of the most popular forms which remained in fashion until the end of the 17th century.

This cup and similar types of silver and silver-gilt vessels would originally have been displayed either on the table or buffet during ceremonial banquets or in a kunstkammer. The Rothschilds based their collections on the kunstkammers of the Renaissance princes such as the Habsburgs, arranging silver objects with hardstones, ivory, enamels and majolica. They were amongst the first collectors to seek out objects throughout Europe, often following their own instincts as so little was still known with regards to authenticity. This explains why some items, which had been adapted or later embellished, found their way into their collections.

Christie's. Masterpieces from a Rothschild Collection, London, 4 July 2019