Stirrup cup in sterling silver ( "curlew" with crab )
- • Handmade 100%
• Made in Rome, Italy
• Material : Sterling Silver
• Sculpture Lost Wax Casting
• Height : 13.5 cm (5.31 Inches)
This curlew is one of 12 silver "stirrup" glasses,(the price refers to this single glass) whose models date back to around the mid-1900s, and represent 12 animals that can be placed at the table to serve wine.
I personally made the model of this glass, which was particularly complicated becouse, turned on the head to contain the wine, the beak alone was not enough to keep the balance ... I had to insert a crab in the beak of the curlew , which is now stable! :-)
Most popular in the late 18th and 19th century, antique silver stirrup cups are a form of drinking vessel which were presented to riders on horseback prior to leaving or arriving home from a hunt; this happened whilst their feet remained in their stirrups. The custom is most commonly English, however Scottish hosts would also offer "a parting cup” to guests that visited on horseback. They called this beverage "dochan doruis" which literally translates to "drink of the door" and this would also be served in a stirrup cup.
Specifically crafted for comfort when held in the hand and without a base, their small capacity allowed the liquid to be drunk quickly. On occasions they would sit to a bespoke crafted tray to fit their unique shapes. The beverage served in the stirrup cup was usually wine or a spirit based punch mixed with various spices.
Early stirrup cups were essentially wine glasses , as however their popularity grew silver stirrup cups were crafted in shapes that were relevant to the hunt, such as a hound or fox head. The rim of a stirrup cup would often be engraved with a motto or inscription from the hunt to commemorate the event.