Mounted nautilus shell drinking cup

On display

Mounted nautilus shell, cut, polished and painted with horseman and plant sprays. The shell is mounted in silver-gilt, formed as a sharp-toothed sea monster, on which rides Neptune with his trident. The hinged side straps are formed as climbing lizards, each one with his tail round the head of the one below. The foot is formed as four-clawed bird's foot.


  • Title

    Mounted nautilus shell drinking cup

  • Associated place

    China (probable) (probable place of creation)
    Antwerp (possible) (possible place of creation)
    Italy (possible) (possible place of creation)
  • Date

    c. 1580
  • Material and technique

    nautilus-shell, silver-gilt mounts; painted

  • Object type

  • Dimensions

    32.8 cm (height)
  • No. of items


  • Credit line

    Bequeathed by Michael Wellby, 2012.

  • Museum location

    Second floor | Gallery 53 | European Goldsmiths' Work
  • Museum department

    Western Art

  • Accession no.


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Further reading

Tait, Hugh, Catalogue of the Waddeston Bequest in the British Museum: III. The Curiosities (London, British Museum Publications Ltd, 1991), 6

Wilson, Timothy, Winterbottom, Matthew, Treasures of the Goldsmith's Art: The Michael Wellby Bequest to the Ashmolean Museum (Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford, 2015)

Reference URL

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