LONDON - This fascinating and intricate piece, once owned by the Rothschild family and admired by Queen Mary, makes a sparkling debut at Sotheby's in London as a major highlight of the Treasures Sale

SOUTHERN GERMAN, AUGSBURG, THE ROTHSCHILD ORPHEUS CUP CIRCA 1600. ESTIMATE £600,000—800,000. 

The magnificent Rothschild Orpheus Cup is among the finest and most celebrated Renaissance Schatzkammer treasures to have come to the market. The provenance of this rare enamelled gold object dates back to 1862, when it was shown at the International Exhibition, on loan from the collection of Baron Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879). Displayed at the 1928 Exhibition of Art Treasures at the Grafton Galleries in London, the Cup was admired by none other than Queen Mary, who made a special detour during her visit to see it. It was observed by the Yorkshire Post that: ''The magnificent Orpheus cup of enamelled gold...from the collection of the late Baron de Rothschild, was one of the things which the Queen asked specifically to see, and she inspected the rich enamel and jewel work with great attention''. 

SOUTHERN GERMAN, AUGSBURG,  THE ROTHSCHILD ORPHEUS CUP (DETAIL) CIRCA 1600. ESTIMATE £600,000—800,000. 

Throughout its history the Cup has inspired increasing adulation. In the early 20th century it acquired a mythical association with the celebrated Florentine sculptor and goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini, and a link with the patronage of François I of France. Recent scholarship has revealed a southern German origin, dating the sumptuous en rond bosse enamelled parts to around 1580, and the later painted enamelled parts to around 1650. 

SOUTHERN GERMAN, AUGSBURG, THE ROTHSCHILD ORPHEUS CUP (DETAIL) CIRCA 1600. ESTIMATE £600,000—800,000. 

With its elaborate iconography depicting figures from mythology and minute attention to detail, the Rothschild Orpheus Cup may be admired for its virtuosic craftsmanship as well as its instructive meaning. Alongside Orpheus, the Goddess Diana also plays a starring role in the scene, as well as Atlas who carries the cup on his shoulders, adding to the narrative element of this extraordinary object. The Orpheus Cup has remained in the collection of S.J. Phillips, New Bond Street, for the past 88 years.

The Treasures Sale is in London on 6 July 2016 

LEAD IMAGE: SOUTHERN GERMAN, AUGSBURG, THE ROTHSCHILD ORPHEUS CUP CIRCA 1600. ESTIMATE £600,000—800,000. 


稀世瑰寶

06 July 2016 | London