This cup is one of only twenty-five known examples of English sleeve cups, so-called because of the pierced sleeve encasing the cylindrical cup and lid. The silver gilt cup intentionally shows through the sleeve, creating a rich interplay of silver and gold. The sleeve, cast and chased in high relief, depicts eagles with outstretched wings surrounded by dense foliate scrolls. The unusual eagle feet and finial are found on only one other sleeve cup (now in the collection of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London).
Although the majority are not hallmarked, sleeve cups probably date to the reign of King Charles II (1660–85). These cups, masterpieces of the baroque silversmith's art, undoubtedly served as presentation gifts.
Artist Nicholas Wollaston, English, active 1627-1670
  • Sleeve Cup
Date ca. 1670
Medium silver, gold
Dimensions Overall: 7 9/16 × 7 7/8 × 5 3/4 inches, 1 kg 189.4 g (19.2 × 20 × 14.6 cm, 2 pounds 10 ounces)
Overall (cup): 4 7/8 × 7 7/8 × 5 3/4 inches (12.4 × 20 × 14.6 cm)
Overall (cover): 2 15/16 × 5 1/4 inches (7.5 × 13.3 cm)
Credit Line Booth American Company Centennial Gift in memory of Ralph Harman Booth, President of the Detroit Museum of Art, Founding President Arts Commission and Detroit Institute of Arts
Accession Number 1985.36
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View British S3BB, Level 3 (see map)
Marks Marks, on bottom of cup: NW
Marks, on underside of lip of cover: NW
Duke of Northumberland;
(S. J. Shrubsole, New York, New York, USA);
May 3, 1984, (Sotheby's, London, England) lot no. 53.
Booth American Company (Detroit, Michigan, USA);
1985-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Antiques (January 1985): p. 59 (ill.).

"Family Art Game," DIA Advertising Supplement, Detroit Free Press, May 18, 1986, p. 13 (ill.).

Sales cat., Sotheby's. London, May 3, 1984, no. 53.

Barnet, P. "From the Middle Ages to the Victorians." Apollo 124, no. 298 (December 1986): pp. 501-503.

Darr, A.P. "European sculpture and decorative arts acquired by the Detroit Institute of Arts 1978-87." The Burlington Magazine 130 (June 1988): p. 496 (fig. 104).