The Theocritus Cup

Ornate cup with intricate stem.

Silver gilt, John Flaxman (1755-1826) / Paul Storr (1771-1844)

This design is taken from the description of a drinking cup by the Greek poet, Theocritus (c300 - 260 BC) in his First Idyll. On one side is a maiden with two youths competing for her favour. The other side shows a fisherman and a boy seated on a wall, unaware of the two foxes stealing their food and grapes. Designs inspired by ancient Greek or Roman literature were often used to decorate objects in the Neo-Classical style.

On the base is an inscription:

"the Mayor, Alderman, Bailiffs and Common Council of the Borough and Corporation of Liverpool to Thomas Earle."

It is dated 1811 and is embellished with the arms of the Town of Liverpool and those of Thomas Earle (1754 - 1822).

The designer, Flaxman, was one of the greatest Neo-Classical sculptors of his day, but was also particularly noted for his illustrations. He worked for Wedgwood from about 1775, producing wax reliefs for his Jasperware.

Paul Storr was one of the outstanding silver manufacturers of his age. He was apprenticed to the Swedish silversmith Andrew Fogelberg, before becoming a partner in the firm of Rundell and Bridge, the Royal silversmiths.