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Standing cup: M.31 & A-1933

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Enameller: Court dit Vigier, Jean I (Probably)
Enameller: Reymond, Pierre (Cover)




Copper, enamelled en grisaille and gilded

Copper, enamelled in grisaille with flesh pink on a black ground, appearing very dark manganese-brown at the edges. The hemispherical bowl of the cup is supported on a vase-shaped knop on top of a bell-shaped circular foot. The low domed cover has a flange round the edge, and a raised central area with a replacement finial in the form of a horizontal metal grotesque mask. This is held in position on the underside by a lump of red sealing wax. The interior of the cup is decorated with the Creation of Adam, surrounded by a broad black border. God stands on the right. He is bearded and crowned and wears a voluminous long gown. He extends his left hand towards the nude figure of Adam lying on the ground to the left. In the landscape background there are hills and a lake with three sea monsters in it; trees on either side behind the figures; and between them, many animals, including oxen, a pelican, a lion, a camel, a goat, a rabbit, and a cat stalking a mouse, and, on the right of God, a stag and a hind. The underside of the bowl is decorated with a radiating design of four grotesque masks, curling strapwork, swags and beading. The initials '.I.C.' are painted below one mask on the strapwork. Round the rim there is an egg and tongue border. The vase-shaped knop is decorated with three female masks and swags, with a white band above, and on the foot, is a battle scene al antica, with nude warriors on foot and on horseback. The outer edges of the foot and rim are white. The cover, a replacement, is decorated on the exterior with a central flowerhead surrounded by four leonine masks on curling strapwork, around which is a continuous procession of revelling putti wearing vine wreaths in their hair. One is seated in a chariot, the next holds a ewer, two walk together behind another accompanied by a goat, two skip along behind a trumpet player, the next holds a large jar above his head, the next sits holding a vine branch and the last carries a basket of grapes above his head. Around the scene there is a border of bound laurel, and on the flange, remnants of a gilded border no longer legible. The underside is decorated with a radiating design of four winged putto's heads linked by swags over strapwork surrounded by gilt arabesques, and remnants of a gilded guilloche border.


History note: Cup: uncertain before Alfred Aaron de Pass (1861–1952), . Cover, probably Andrew Fountaine IV (1808–73) but not in the Catalogue of the Fountaine sale of 1884. The Hon. W.F.B. Massey-Mainwaring, M.P. (1845–1907), and the Hon. Mrs Massey-Mainwaring; Robinson & Fisher, 6 June, 1904, lot 81; sold to Lichfield.

Legal notes

Given by Alfred A. de Pass in memory of his son Crispin (d. 1918)

Measurements and weight

Height: 19.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1933) by de Pass, Alfred A.


16th Century, second half#
Circa 1570 CE - Before 1580 CE


Standing cups with tall stems and wide shallow bowls were an Italian form of drinking vessel for wine which was being made in silver in north west Europe by the early 1530s. Known as tazze in Italy, the were described as coupes or coupes-tasses in France. Some of them were provided with covers, and the larger examples may have been used as stands for sweetmeats rather than for drinking. The earliest Limoges enamel examples, date from the mid 1530s. Substantial numbers were produced there after1540 in the workshops of Léonard Limosin, Pierre Reymond, and Pierre Courteys. The earliest fully signed by Jean Court dit Vigier is dated 1555, and a year later he signed another bearing the arms of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, who was to marry the Dauphin in 1558. After this most of the marked cups from his workshop were initialled 'I.C.', and some scholars consider that not all of them were enamelled by the same hand. Most of the cups were decorated inside the bowl with a scene from classical mythology or the Old Testament, and the outside of the covers with processions of deities or putti, scenes from the story of Adam and Eve, or medallions with profile heads. The scene on the interior of this example was based on Bernard Saloman’s woodcut illustration of the 'Creation of Adam' in Claude Paradin's 'Quadrins historique de la bible', Lyon 1553 or later editions of 1555 or 1560, but differs from it in several details. The introduction of hares in the background suggests that the enameller was also influenced by Etienne Delaune’s 'Creation of the World' and 'Creation of Adam' in which hares are depicted. These formed part of a series of prints of the story of Adam and Eve which were published in 1569, and also occur on the exterior of the covers of several tazze with the Creation of Adam or the Temptation in the bowl, indicating that they date from about 1570 or later. It therefore seems likely that the original cover of the Fitzwilliam's example was decorated in the same way, and that the whole was made after about 1570 rather than in the late 1550s.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( pink, white, black) gold
Foot Of Cup Diameter 10.5 cm
Rim Of Cup Diameter 17.5 cm
Rim Of Cover Diameter 19.5 cm
Cup Height 15.5 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Raising (metal forming process) : Copper, raised, and enamelled en grisaille with pale pink and salmon-pink wash on a black ground, appearing very dark manganese-brown at the edges

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: .I.C.
  • Location: On underside of bowl of cup on strapwork
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Initials

Inscription present: narrow rectangular paper label

  • Text: 1240
  • Location: On underside of cover
  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: probably an f crossed and 8

  • Text: f 8
  • Location: On rim of cover
  • Method of creation: Scratched
  • Type: Initial

Inscription present: rectangular paper label with serrated ends and bottom edge, where there is a red printed line; the date is written sideways to the other words

  • Text: Limoges/enamel/by Jean/Courtrey/signed I.C/16 cent
  • Location: On underside of foot of cup
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in faded black ink
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: oval paper label printed with the words inside an oval black border line

  • Text: FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM/GIVEN BY/ALFRED a. DE PASS/1933 printed and 31 hand-written
  • Location: On underside of base of cup
  • Method of creation: Printed in black and hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.31 & A-1933
Primary reference Number: 156452
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 5 March 2024 Last processed: Wednesday 6 March 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Standing cup" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-22 00:06:22

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