The Goelet Cups for 1895
The Goelet prize cups were, this year as usual, supplied by Tiffany & Co. The prizes are the costliest that Mr. Goelet has ever offered, and although they will probably go on record as the $1,000 and $500 Goelet cups, the generous donor paid considerably more this year to secure two of the choicest examples of the silversmith’s art. The former is one of Tiffany & Co.’s famous Columbian Exposition pieces, a bacchanalian tankard weighing nearly 160 ounces. In general form it was suggested by the style of the carved wooden tankards made early in the last century. This silver tankard, however, merely suggests the form of the earlier ones, for the decorations, which reveal a blending of rococco work and bacchanalian characters, bear the stamp of originality. Under the lips of the tankard Satyr is represented, with an expression of thirst, surrounded by a rich growth of luxurious grapes and leaves, forming a broad border-like decoration around the top.
Around the lower part of the tankard a procession of babinos is seen, some riding on rams, and others walking and producing sounds with pipes, flutes and various instruments of the period, while others in this merry band have developed into fauns, and are sporting in gymnastic exercises as they join in the feast of wine and song. To give an appropriate support to the sentiment expressed in this frieze, the base of the cup is decorated with the proverbial ram’s head, smothered in lavish decoration of the wine producing fruit, while the ram’s hoofs are introduced as feet to the piece. The handle is of rococco character and very graceful. The tankard has a capacity of seven quarts, and it stands two feet high, measuring six-and-a-half inches in diameter at the bottom from which it tapers off to the top.
The other prize is a massive silver punch bowl of the famous Tiffany Indian chrysanthemum pattern. It weighs 200 ounces, stands 11 inches high, and has a capacity of 16 quarts. The decorative work upon this bowl, while not so lavish as upon the tankard, is still of a very superior order. The Indian chrysanthemum buds, leaves and flowers are not merely chased, but were first cast and then all the minute details of the beautiful flower brought out by repousse work and then applied to the bowl. The bas-relief work and chasing are examples of the most advanced work. Both trophies are, in many respects, among the most beautiful and costly that will be raced for during the season.
Source: The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review - 7th August 1895