'Loving Cup' presented to Brighton Museums

  • 21 November 2011

The Art Fund has presented an Edward Jones 'Loving Cup' to Brighton & Hove Museums. The silver bowl is marked with the names of artists Glyn Philpot and Vivian Forbes, who met as soldiers during the First World War and shared a close relationship until Philpot's death in 1937.

Silver loving cup, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Silver loving cup, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

The Art Fund has presented an Edward Jones 'Loving Cup' to Brighton & Hove Museums. The silver bowl is marked with the names of artists Glyn Philpot and Vivian Forbes, who met as soldiers during the First World War and shared a close relationship until their deaths in 1937.

The cup

A loving cup is a large drinking vessel, traditionally shared by a number of people to symbolise friendship and unity. The cup presented to Brighton & Hove Museums is a silver bowl in the Arts and Crafts style, hallmarked for Edward Jones of Birmingham in 1912. The first names of Glyn Philpot and Vivian Forbes are engraved around the bowl's circumference. The bowl was owned by Robin Gibson, Chief Curator of the National Portrait Gallery 1994–2001, who wrote a biography of Philpot and mounted an exhibition of his work. Gibson bequeathed the cup to the Art Fund following his sad death in 2010.

Glyn Philpot and Vivian Forbes

Glyn Philpot (1884–1937) was an English artist who is remembered predominantly for his portraits of his contemporaries, among them Siegfried Sassoon. He had already achieved success as a painter before the outbreak of the First World War, during which he met Vivian Forbes (1891–1937) while training at Aldershot with the Royal Fusiliers. The two developed a close relationship, at times sharing a home and studio in London.

The relationship was not to end happily: Forbes became increasingly jealous of Philpot's other friends and, after returning home from Paris in 1937 to find Philpot dead of a sudden brain haemmorhage, took his own life with an overdose of sleeping pills.

The first post-war exhibition of Philpot's work was held at Brighton Museum in 1953, and a number of his key paintings and sculptures are owned by Brighton & Hove Museums.