The One

The Hope Cup | A Magnificent Gold Vase by Jean-Valentin Morel

NEW YORK | 2 FEBRUARY

‘The Hope Vase – an extraordinary affair of flawless technique (…)’, as Arthur Grimwade, one of the world’s greatest experts on Silver, once described the iconic present lot, was made as a special commission for Henry Thomas Hope by Jean-Valentin Morel (1794-1860), one of the most talented goldsmiths of the 19th century (Arthur Grimwade, Silver for Sale: Christie’s in the Thirties, Norwich, 1994, p. 165).

Shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855 (official catalogue, class 17, section 5, no. 5104), Morel won the great medal for this true tour de force of enamelling and lapidary art that tells the story of Perseus and Andromeda from Classical Greek Mythology: ‘La coupe est tirée d’un bloc de jaspe qui pesait quatre-vingt livres, c’est la plus grosse pièce de jaspe oriental que l’on connaisse. La taille a demandé trois ans de travail et l’invention de nombreux procédés’ (L. Dussieux, Les Artistes Français à l'étranger: Recherches sur leurs Travaux et sur leur Influence en Europe; Précédés d'un Essai sur les Origines et le Développement des Arts en France, Paris, 1856).

The Hope Cup will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s The One Sale on 2 February 2024.

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