A Rare Pair of George IV Silver-Gilt Wager Cups

Maker: 
Joseph Angell
Dated: 
1827
Dimensions: 
7 1/2" high
Weight: 
15 oz

Each modelled as a lady in a long dress, holding aloft a swivel cup supported by 2 branches of fruiting vines. The swivel cup chased with acanthus leaves in the 17th century style and all based on German or Dutch examples of that period. The hems with a band of pellet and tongue decoration and when upturned the dresses form a goblet for testing the wager.

Price: 
£12,000
Provenance: 

The Worshipful Company of Vintners, 1827.

Illustrated in Michael Clayton, Christie's Pictorial History of English and American Silver, p.279, plate4

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Wager cups in English silver are extremely rare before 1890 after which a number of reproductions appear, mainly imported from Germany or Holland. Only five from the 17th century survive and probably less, if any, from the 18th century. In 1827 the Worshipful Company of Vintners commissioned a number of these cups to be made as copies of their own 17th century example, this pair unusually surviving together for nearly 190 years.

The wager was to fill both bowls with liquid (usually wine) and for the contents of the larger bowl (the dress) to be drunk without spilling any from the smaller swivel bowl.