Covered cup

Ref: 3100
  • Designer / Maker

    Manufactured by Elkington & Co.  (1824-1968)

  • Detail

    Gilded electrotype, with enamel

    Height: 25.5 cm

    English (Birmingham), circa 1873

  • Literature

    H. Blairman & Sons, Furniture and Works of Art, 2000, no. 14 (for another example, now in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

  • Collection

    Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Notes

    The present covered cup appears to be identical in form to one shown at the Vienna International Exhibition, 1873; it is illustrated in a publication, the title page of which reads: ‘Universal Exhibition / Vienna 1873 / Illustrations of Art Manufactures … by / Elkington & Co‘. The accompanying text records: ‘As early as 1862, in the London Exhibition [Elkington’s] Champ-Levé Enamels excited considerable attention and admiration …’.

    The electrotype process employed in the manufacture of the present cup and cover was discovered in 1838. Henry Elkington, the firm’s founder, took up the technique almost at once. According to J.B. Waring: ‘The metal employed by the Messrs. Elkington is a hard, fine white alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc, fusible only at a very high temperature, or else German silver; and the silver or gold deposit, when applied, is found to be very durable; (Masterpieces of Industrial Art & Sculpture at the International Exhibition 1862, London, 1863, III, pl. 211).

    In the production of champlevé and cloisonné enamels, Elkington & Co. were in direct competition with the Parisian firm of F. Barbedienne (1839-1965) and Christofle & Cie.