The Lacock Cup

Tour schedule

The Salisbury Museum 
31 January 2015 – 4 May 2015

Palace Green Library, Durham 
1 June 2015 – 31 August 2015

Norwich Castle 
4 September 2015 – 11 January 2016

Nottingham Castle Museum 
20 January 2015 – 8 May 2016

Wiltshire Museum 
11 May – 17 July 2016

Recommend this exhibition

A rare chance survivor with a uniquely English history, the Lacock Cup is one of the most significant pieces of secular English medieval silver. In December 2013, The British Museum and Wiltshire Museum jointly acquired the Cup and it can now be enjoyed across the country as a Spotlight Tour.

The Lacock Cup is a stunning piece of craftsmanship and has a unique history. In the medieval period the Cup was used for feasting. The Cup is elegantly decorated, formed of hammered sheet silver, edged with gothic motifs and twisted ropework which has been gilded. The sweeping lid and trumpet shaped foot would have drawn the attention of the viewer, as it does today. In the post-Reformation era, the Cup became a sacred vessel: a chalice for communion wine in a Protestant church. The dual roles of this piece, as feasting cup and holy chalice, offer a window onto the turbulence of the Reformation, when long held traditions as reflected in art were transformed under successive Protestant and Catholic monarchs. It encapsulates a rich array of practices, historical shifts, and both human and divine associations.

The Cup will tour to five venues across the UK, each of which will highlight connections with their own collections.

Sikh Akali-Nihang turban

The Lacock Cup. Plain and gilded silver, England, 15th Century. Jointly acquired by the British Museum and the Wiltshire Museum with the support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, John Studzinski, the Art Fund, the American Friends of the British Museum, the British Museum Friends, the Jean Sibley bequest, a gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden, Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, the Headley Trust and individual contributions.