George Hodder George II Irish Antique Sterling Silver 2-handled Cup, Cork, c. 1750
Two-handled cups are a great form which can be used as drinking vessels or to display lovely floral arrangements. 'The most excessive drinking naturally took place on festive occasions such as weddings and christenings, the chief stimulating agent being the number of toasts proposed... Naturally the silversmiths rose to meet the challenge and produced vast quantities of two handled silver cups to help the wine down the eager throats of the Anglo-Irish gentry who represented the Irish culture of the time'.(1)
This example is a famous form with a stepped dome base, a wide body with cast and applied harp-shaped handles.
The upper rim and midsection are ornamented with applied molded bands. The interiors exhibit soft hammering from being hand-raised.
On one side has a later, excellently engraved (c. 1920?) coat of arms with an elaborate shield and lion masks. They are the arms of several branches of the ancient Wright family. Engraved under one of the handles are the scratch weight '21oz = 10p' and the period initials 'L * W', so the later arms may indicate descent in the original family.
This exceptional antique sterling silver cup is marked on the side underneath the top rims with the maker's mark along with 'STERLING'. It measures 9.25 inches across the handles by 6.75 inches tall, weighs 21.0 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition with the above mentioned later arms.
Douglas Bennett, Collecting Irish Silver 1637 - 1900 (Souvenir Press, London, 1984), p. 23.
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