The Goodricke Cup

London, England, AD 1563

The Goodricke Cup is a standing cup in the form of an ostrich-egg cup. While the silver-gilt mounts and cover are original, the ostrich-egg bowl was replaced around fifty years later with a silver bowl.

The sixteenth-century European fascination with such exotic organic materials as egg, shell, wood, nut and ivory led to these being transformed by elaborate gold or silver-gilt mounts into magnificent objects of luxury and display, acquiring the highest status. The original mounts are richly embossed with relief strapwork, masks, foliage, fruit and animals. The replacement silver bowl is equally highly worked, but with engraved decoration by contrast, depicting a standing figure, birds and floral motifs.

It was customary in medieval Europe to demonstrate loyalty to family, monarchy or fraternity, and the appropriate badges were incorporated into the decoration of luxury objects. The enamelled medallion inside the cover bears the arms of Richard Goodricke of Ribstone, Yorkshire (died 1582). The cup was commissioned by him for his second wife, Margaret. The replacement rim is engraved with the Goodricke motto 'FARE/WEL/TIL/THEN', the monogram 'RG' and the date 1563, possibly referring to the date of their marriage.

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More information


C.H. Read. and A.B. Tonnochy, Catalogue of the silver plate, (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1928)

P. Glanville, Silver in Tudor and Early Stua (London, 1990)


Height: 34.600 cm

Museum number

M&ME Silver Catalogue 50


Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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