Bell or tulip-shaped beakers became the dominant form used throughout France in the first half of the eighteenth century. The decoration frequently consists of Berain-type strapwork, either in relief or engraved, lambrequin engraving around the rim, and gadrooning on the foot.
This beaker may have been a component of a dressing table set but equally could have been part of a set of cutlery and other dining implements to be used when the owner was traveling.
Although it remains difficult to establish exactly what beverages would be taken in silver beakers of this period, they may have held water, spirits, beer or even hot, spiced wine. They may also have been used for coffee as illustrated in late seventeenth-century engravings when the beverage was served at a tepid temperature.
The rapid development of ceramic manufacturing in the eighteenth century as well as the vast imports from China led to the replacement of silver drinking vessels by porcelain as well as glass.
Daughter of one of the founders of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, Catherine D. Wentworth (1865-1948) was an art student and painter who lived in France for thirty years. She became one of the most important American collectors of eighteenth-century French silver and on her death in 1948 bequeathed part of her significant collection of silver, gold boxes, French furniture and textiles to the Metropolitan Museum. The collection is particularly strong in domestic silver, much of it provincial, and includes a number of rare early pieces.
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