Sunday, March 1, 2015

Unusual Artifacts: The Angel Chalice, c. 1905

"The Angel Chalice"
Phoebe and Ramsay Traquair with J.M. Talbot
Scotland, 1905
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in Edinburgh, Scotland around 1905, this cup is constructed of an abalone shell mounted in silver and decorated with enamel. A pierced silver foliate border adorns the rim of the cup which is supported on three, sculptural wires which terminate in moonstone mounts at the rim. Mounts of enamel mimicking cabochon-cut gems adorn the junctions of the supporting wire frames which hold enamel paintings of angels with musical instruments. The monogram “PT” is visible on one of these three triangular panels.

This chalice is the work of Edinburgh artist and jeweler Phoebe Traquair (1852-1936) whose celebrated enamel work is praised to this day. Phoebe’s husband, Ramsay, assisted on the design and the physical work was carried out by their frequent assistant J.M. Talbot. It’s the first, and finest, of a series of five chalices set with shells designed by Ramsay and Phoebe Traquair, and crafted by Talbot.

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