Pineapple Cup and Cover

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German
Retailed by John Evans (London, England)
Pineapple Cup and Cover, 1610–11
Gilt silver
95.22

Standing cups were a popular form in Mannerist silver throughout Europe. Characterized by exaggerated shapes, naturalistic motifs, and impractical forms, these cups were intended primarily for display rather than use. The exoticism of rare gilded pineapple forms and cast silver shells and leaves curled around a tree trunk conveyed the status of wealthy patrons who displayed such piece of silver on sideboards decorated with ostentatious presentations of silver and gold. Also central to the patrons was the virtuosity of craftsmanship, the complexity of design, and possible mythological, allegorical, or historical references in these complex and sophisticated pieces.