Loving cup

Maker: Richard Williams

Date: 1772

Culture: Irish, Dublin

Medium: Silver, silver gilt

Dimensions: Height: 5 in. (12.7 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Irwin Untermyer, 1968

Accession Number: 68.141.191


This Dublin-made cup does not fit into any style of the period, but instead is inspired by vernacular forms that would have been made of humbler material—in this case, wood. Its everyday counterpart was probably much larger and likely to have been found on a farm. A romantic evocation of earlier times, the cup is unusual in its anticipation of a mid-nineteenth century movement of producing folk-type objects in precious materials.

The arms belong to an unmarried baronet of the Crofton family, and include two mottos in ancient Irish, which may reflect the owner's special interests. The maker, Richard Williams, was a Dublin goldsmith. The city was an important center for silver crafts in the eighteenth century.