The Cassel Silver group is made up of 9 outstanding pieces of 16th-18th century silver, including the celebrated Bacon Cup and a selection of other remarkable silver including ‘The Blacksmiths’ Cup’ - a Commonwealth silver standing cup - and a pair of 17th-century silver-gilt ginger jars and covers.
The silver gilt cup and cover, known as the Bacon Cup, is one of three made for English politician Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510-79) from the Great Seal of Queen Mary I of England and her consort Philip II of Spain. The cup was made by Affabel Partridge, goldsmith to Queen Elizabeth I and one of the foremost London craftsmen.
The bowl of the cup is engraved with the arms and motto of Sir Nicholas; the family crest, and a boar – a pun on the name Bacon – forms the finial, hence the ‘Bacon Cup’. The cup is amongst the few surviving examples of late 16th-century London hallmarked silver and, with its connections to the Courts of Queens Elizabeth I and Mary I, is a historically important work which perfectly demonstrates the goldsmiths’ art of the Tudor period.
The Bacon Cup is part of the remarkable collection of Sir Ernest Cassel, a German-born banker who, after emigrating to the UK in 1869, rose to become King Edward VII’s financial adviser and trusted friend. Cassel was a pioneering collector of historic English silver and his exceptional collection was comparatively little known in his lifetime. However it was later recognised for its rarity, splendour and importance.