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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Medieval Silver-Gilt Liturgical Chalice

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LOT 0417

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,590 - 4,780
USD ($) 3,650 - 4,870

Bid History: 4   |   Current bid: £1,101 (+bp*)

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Bid History: 4   |   Current bid: £1,101
FRANCE, CIRCA 1500-1520 A.D.

A tall silver-gilt chalice with bell-shaped bowl, hexagonal stem divided in two with a central compressed knob, each face decorated with foliage motifs, the central ornamental knob with six raised lentoid shields with engraved floral motifs, enclosed within foliage in relief; the foot formed from a large down-swept hexagon ending with rounded lobes; one lobe with a cross botonny enclosed in a tondo; the space between each lobe engraved with a cherub head. 6 7/8 in. (278 grams, 17.5 cm high). [No Reserve]

Antiquitaten Metz GmbH Kunstauktionen, 28 November 2015, lot 40.
Ex central London gallery.
Accompanied by an academic expertise by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11417-192186.

Cf. British Museum, inventory no. 1855,1201.9; cf. also Williamson, P. (ed.), The Medieval Treasury: The Art of the Middle Ages in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1986, pp.208-209; Ritoók, A., ‘Chalice of the Calixtines – Inscribed Bohemian Chalices from the Carpathian Basin’ in Acta Historiae Artium, Tomus 59, 2018, pp.173-188, fig.1, for similar.

This chalice, for serving the Holy Communion, is a rare surviving example of goldsmith's work produced in Northern France, maybe in Rouen or Paris, the most important cities for metalwork in the north of France. Beautifully constructed with much of the original gilding, the bell-shaped bowl set on a hexagonal stem and its flared hexagonal foot, making it a beautiful example of liturgical objects from the French Renaissance.

It was a well-known practice in later medieval wills for wealthy women to donate a chalice or chalices to the church and to frequently bequeath other metal objects that could be used as raw materials by the church, to transform them into elaborate items. This richly decorated chalice is a clear example of the sumptuous objects the wealthy church devotees supported through their patronage, and a rare survivor of the great artistic tradition of Gothic and Renaissance silver, considering the destruction and the melting of holy objects during the French Revolution.