Elizabeth I Silver Chalice


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Object Description

A rare early English chalice dating to the reign of Elizabeth I. A very early date and in very good condition. This cup follows the standard design for Elizabethan communion cups and is most likely to have been made from pre-reformation silver. With straight tapering sides, slightly flared at the top, and would originally have had a cover (paten). Hand beaten finish as you’d expect at this date. The single hatched band of decoration is well executed and the definition is very good. There is applied wire ornament to the stem, the foot has a second band of hatched engraving.

Contains 180 ml.

Weight of chalice 190 grams, 6.1 troy ounces.

Height 15.3cm, diameter of top 7.7cm.

Extremely good silver marks for London 1571.

Maker probably James Feake.

Sterling silver.

Mark. Stamped below the rim with a full set of English silver hallmarks. Maker’s mark “IF”, listed as probably James Feake, a known maker of communion cups, in David Mitchell’s Elizabethan and Stuart Silversmiths of London. There are no precise records of silver makers marks prior to 1681 as all records were destroyed in the fire at Goldsmiths Hall in that year..

James Feake, London silversmith, free 1556. During his time he bound five apprentices and had a further two turned over him from other masters. Died c.1595.
James Feake II, Feake’s son, was apprenticed to William Feake 1582, free by service 1591. Upper warden 1621.

Object Literature

Most parish churches in existence at this date would have had a chalice very similar to this. The church authorities launched a programme from about 1560 to replace the ‘old massing chalices’ with ‘decent’ communion cups of prescribed design, such as this. The programme for refashioning old chalices was staggered from diocese to diocese over a period of about 15 years. The large and remote Welsh diocese of St David’s was one of the last to adopt the new form of communion cup.

Object Condition

In very good condition, particularly for a piece made over 450 years ago. Good clear marks, sharp engraving. Signs of an earlier repair to the foot.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)207 288 1939
+44 (0)7904 297419

Dealer Location

Vault 31-32
The London Silver Vaults
53-64 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1QS

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