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On spreading domed base with egg-and-dart border, the center chased with three cartouches featuring a dolphin interspersed with fruiting trophies on matted ground, the vase shaped stem applied with stylized lion masks and three scrolls with griffin terminal repeated on the lower bulbous section of the body, the cup fitted with a detachable sleeve chased with a wild boar and a stag hunting scenes, the slightly flaring upper part chased with scrolls and cartouches centered by a rosette and oval lobes, the cover chased with winged putti on fruiting garlands alternating with winged putti masks on matted ground, the finial shaped as Saint Christopher on vase shaped stem conforming to the body's stem, engraved inside the cover with eight coat-of-arms and names, marked on rim of cup with town marks, maker's mark of a unicorn and date-letter k and with later Dutch control mark, further stamped on foot-rim
21 ¼ in. (54 cm.) high
64 oz. 6 dwt. (2,000 gr.)
The Gorinchem Jonge Schutterij.
Acquired by Albert Denison, 1st Baron Londesborough (1805–1860) in 1850s.
Probably Baron Alphonse de Rothschild (1827-1905)
By descent to the present owners.
F. W. Fairholt, An Illustrated Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Antique Silver Plate formed by Albert, Lord Londesborough now the Property of Lady Londesborough, London, 1860, p. 21, plate XVII, 3, described as 'great standing cup, and cover, of silver, elaborately chased, once the property of the above-named fraternity. It is surmounted by the figure of St. Christopher; and the body of the cup decorated with representations of stag and boar-hunting.'
E. Voet, Merken van Haagsche Goud- en Zilversmeden, The Hague, 1941, p. 157-8, no. 7.
J.W. Frederiks, Dutch silver, vol. II, The Hague, 1958, p. 159.
Dawn of the Golden Age, Northern Netherlandish Art, 1586-1620, eds. G. Luijten and A. van Suchtelen, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 11 December 1993 - 6 March 1994, p. 431-432, no. 89.
M. W. Westgarth, A Biographical Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Antique and Curiosity Dealers. Regional Furniture, XXIII . Regional Furniture Society, Glasgow, 2009.
Dr. P. Biesboer, Delfts Zilver, Zwolle, 2020.


The cover engraved with inscription :' s.Aert van h. der clerde Steyn wort Stafel Conicx / Anno 1638 / s. Johan van Wevelick houen / wort Stafel / coninck.x anno 1648 / s. Aert van hoey wiert / coninck.x anno stafel 1653 / s.Aert van her Waerde / wort Stafel Coninck.x anno stafel 1654' together with eight coat-of-arms.

This spectacular cup and cover belonged to the silver collection of the Young guild of Saint Christopher in the Dutch town of Gorinchem (also spelled Gorkum) in the province of South Holland.

Militia guilds which appeared in the 14th century were voluntary civic guards composed of wealthy and influential citizens, members of the Reformed Church, appointed by the magistrates and who were armed with arquebuses to protect the city. Gorinchem had three militia guilds: the Saint Sebastian guild for the longbowmen, the old or Saint Joris (Georges) guild for the crossbowmen and the young or Saint Christopher guild for the arquebusiers. The Saint Sebastian guild was disbanded for misconduct leaving only the other two who are said to have owned ten cups: five for Saint Joris, four for Saint Christopher and one larger one to represent the three guilds. Each cup all virtually of the same design was surmounted by its holy patron and would be displayed in the guildhall and used at feasts and important events.
Whilst the silver plate of many of these shooting guilds across the Netherlands has not survived with the exception of Amsterdam, the group of Gorinchem guild cups remained intact until the 19th century when the whole of the silverwork and plate was sold by the guild for three thousands guilders to an antique dealer from the Hague. It was then shipped to England where it was acquired for seventeen thousand guilders by Lord Londesborough and described in Frederick William Fairholt, An illustrated descriptive catalogue, of the collection of antique silver plate, formed by Albert, Lord Londesborough; now the property of Lady Londesborough published in 1860.

Six cups from the Gorinchem militia guilds including the present lot have been identified to this day from this group of ten: two for the Young or Saint Christopher guild and four for the Old or Saint George guild.
The other one for the Young or Saint Christopher guild was also made in the Hague but dated 1676 and is smaller and plainer and was previously on loan in the Museum Prinsenhof in Delft.
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam holds in its collection two cups from the Old or Saint George guild dated 1603 and 1604 attributed to the Delft goldsmith Nicolas Adriaensz de Grebber. This guild also owned a smaller pair (35 cm.) now in the Gilbert Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London made in 1592 by the Gorinchem goldsmith Melchior van Neurenborch. This last pair appears to be the earliest pair of the group and the only one made in Gorinchem by this city's most skilful master who died in 1602 leaving no choice for the guild to commission the later cups from Delft and The Hague goldsmiths. Sadly the Gorinchem guard’s archives for the years after 1598 are lost, making it impossible to trace the purchases of the guild except for the surviving cups.
The cup is in the style popular for these type of objects across Holland since the first half of the 16th century and often depicted in portraits of guilds such as Bartholomeus van der Helst’s of the Saint Sebastian archery militia of Amsterdam dated 1653 now in the Louvre Museum in Paris (inv. 1332; MR 744). The outline, shape and overall decoration is also very similar to the two in the Rijksmuseum dated 1603 and 1604 although these are resting on three rampant lions and are very slightly smaller in height at 40.3 cm. However the decoration of the central part is here exceptional and very much in the tradition of Flemish and German pieces. The chased rotating scene depicts a wild boar and stag hunting scenes inspired by Etienne Delaune after Baptiste Pellerin's series of five hunting scenes dated before 1554 (see J. Rohou, Graver la Renaissance, Etienne Delaune et les arts decoratifs, Paris, p. 116, n. 31). The inside of the cover is similarly engraved to those in the Rijksmuseum with eight coats-of-arms and names of the ‘coninckstabels’ with the dates commemorating the winners of the annual shooting competition known as ‘coninck’ or champion: in 1648 Johan van Woelick (?) was the ’schutterskoning’ and Aert van Hoey was champion in 1638, 1653 and 1654 and is recorded in the archives as being born in 1610 in Gorinchem where he died in 1665.

This cup is part of a group of ten cups and three collars according to Fairholt (op. cit. p. 20) acquired by Lord Londesborough.
Albert Denison, 1st Baron Londesborough (1805-1860) was the third son of Henry Conyngham, 1st Marquess Conyngham and Elizabeth Denison. Educated at Eton, he joined the Royal Horse Guards in 1821 before joining the diplomatic service as an Attaché successively in Berlin, Vienna and Florence. In 1835 he was elected as Member of Parliament. In 1849 he was bequeathed an immense fortune by his maternal uncle, William Joseph Denison, who required that he change his surname to Denison. This newly acquired wealth allowed him to invest in various properties including the estate of Grimston Park in North Yorkshire. An enthusiastic antiquary he was a fellow of the Royal Society and was president for two consecutive years of the British Archaeological Association upon its formation in 1843 and from 1855 first President of the London and Middlesex Archeological Society. With the house of Grimston he inherited a collection of armour and curiosities which he proceeded to enlarge acquiring many historical objects from London antique dealers such as David Falcke.
His collection was inherited by his second wife, Ursula Bridgeman, and a large part was sold at Christie’s over the course of four sessions: ‘Silver and silver-gilt plate, antiquities, old Sevres porcelain, bronzes, decorative furniture, marbles statues and busts and fine modern pictures’ sold on 8 May 1884 and ‘Modern pictures and sculpture’ on 10 May 1884 after her death in 1883; while his son the Earl of Londesborough sold ‘Pictures’ on 7 July 1888 and ‘Armours, Arms, carvings in ivory, Celtic and Saxon antiquities’ on 4 to 9 July 1888.
These sales were attended by some of the leading dealers including Frédéric Spitzer (1815-1890) who was active at the sale of Armours and Arms, in July 1888, purchasing, ‘a pair of page’s steel gauntlets’ (£99.15s); a shield of circular form’ (£46.10s), and ‘a Mentonniere, engraved with figures and ornaments’ (£651).
Although it cannot be proven that Spitzer acquired this cup for Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, it is interesting to remember that Spitzer often supplied him and his family and to note that the two Saint George guild cups in the Rijksmuseum were once part of Gustave de Rothschild's collection.

Christie's would like to thank Mr Dirk Jan Biemond from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Dr Pieter Biesboer for their help with this lot.

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