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  • The Rothschild Orpheus cup will sell at Sotheby's
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • cupOrpheusRothschildThe

The Rothschild Orpheus cup will sell at Sotheby's

The Rothschild Orpheus cup will be offered at Sotheby's with an estimate of £600,000-800,000 ($784,170-1m).

The work was produced circa 1600 and features spectacular decorations from Greek mythology - including Ovid's Metamorphosis and the myths of Orpheus and Atlas.

Rothschild Orpheus bowl
Baron Lionel de Rothschild is the first known owner of the bowl

Its name derives from its time in the collection of the banker and politician Baron Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879).

The cup was originally attributed to Benvenuto Cellini, an Italian goldsmith; although research has indicated that he is unlikely to have been behind it.

Instead Christie's locates it origins in Augsburg, Germany - a centre for the production of stunning craftwork during the renaissance.

The piece is constructed from painted enamel and gold and is set with rubies.

Sotheby's explains that "the Rothschild Orpheus Cup is a seminal example of a Schatzkammer treasure which was admired for its virtuosic craftsmanship as well as its instructive meaning."

A circa 1785 enamel and ormolu singing clock is expected to make £400,000-600,000 ($584,120-876,180).

While the case was designed and produced in China, the mechanism was built by clockmaker Robert Philp in London.

While the trend in the west was for functional, plain clocks, the Chinese were obsessed with the novelty appeal of clockwork. Huge, elaborate pieces were created - often as sweeteners for trade deals.

Usually the internal mechanisms would be shipped to China and the casing built around them.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • cupOrpheusRothschildThe