A W N Pugin, a Gothic Revival silver, gilt and enamel drinking cup or beaker, John Hardman and Co., Birmingham 1848, flared cylindrical form, applied with three champleve enamelled roundels of rose, fleur de lys and monogram EP, linked by tubeline bordered and parcel gilt bands of etched geometric quatrefoils on a rusticated ground, below an engraved inscription: 'Eleanor Frances Baptised III April MDCCCXXXXIX St Mary East??Maw??' with fleur de lys and trefoil incised rim, the base with a further gilt and raised band, between trefoil headed arcading and a chased foliate banded foot, 10.5cm high, 5.31ozt Provenance: the Hardman Archives, Birmingham Library, Day Book records an entry on 30th March 1849, for a Christening cup £6, commissioned by the Rev'd Dr John Gibson of Jesus College, Cambridge; thence by descent Note: A W N Pugin began his collaboration with the Birmingham based ecclesiastical metal manufacturer John Harman in 1838, promoting themselves as the first Medieval Metalworkers, in which Pugin acted as designer for Hardman's workshop. Produced at the height of this partnership (during which time the new Houses of Parliament were still being refurbished by the company to the designs of Pugin), the same motifs and design elements appear on several other items of the same period housed in international museum collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum. As a pioneer of the English Gothic Revival, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin's metal designs for Hardman continued to be popular in both domestic and religious environments for decades after Pugin's death in 1852. Pieces produced during his lifetime, when Pugin was working directly with Hardman on a daily basis (as evidenced in the Harman Archives Day Books), such as this cup, rarely appear on the market and the Hardman Archives show a very small number of solid silver domestic items being produced during this period at all; making this a highly important piece of early Gothic Revival design. John Gibson, Dean of Jesus College, Cambridge from 1842 to 1857, was one of the guiding forces of the Gothic Revival in Cambridge in the 1840s. As treasurer of the College chapel restoration fund, he commissioned Pugin to direct the renovations of the building between 1846 and 1849. His entry in the Hardman order books, includes two private commissions, one of which is this beaker, made for the christening of Eleanor Frances, presumably a relative; the day book record having been entered four days before the christening at St Marys church. This is the only record found for a domestic beaker or cup of any kind produced during the 1848/49 hallmarking period and in the surrounding months.

Sold for: £3,200

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