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Calabash cup

Silver and calabash gourd

Date: Mid 17th century

13.7 cm height

Provenance: (By tradition) Jacob Bobart (d. 1680)

Bequeathed by the Misses Marjorie and Phyllis May Hawkins, 1982; WA1982.89

T. Schroder (2009), no. 33

By tradition this cup belonged to Jacob Bobart (c. 1600-1680), the first superintendent of the Oxford Physic Garden. Little is known of Bobart, although he is thought to have been a native of Brunswick in Germany and to have been an innkeeper by trade. On his death in 1680, diarist Anthony Wood described him as a 'servant to the Universitie: an understanding man: the best gardiner in England'. The calabash is a vine; it is found throughout the tropics and was cultivated from early times for its fruit and, when dried, for use as a container. The engraved pattern on this example is not European and was perhaps done in Mexico or Peru.

Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)

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