These three rare silver communion cups were produced in direct response to the demands of a piece of 17th century ecclesiastical legislation.

In 1617, an Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament which required parishes to use silver cups to serve communion wine, leaving many parishes dependent on their congregations to raise the money for the costly plate used in their manufacture. In two of the three examples here - those by Robert Gairdyne and Charles Dickson - wealthy merchants commissioned and presented the cups to the church, thus not only contributing importantly to the continuation of religious practice, but also cementing local status. Unostentatious, and of a well-proportioned 'goblet' style - as opposed to the beaker style prevalent in Aberdeen drawn from German examples - the cups show a distinct southern influence and are evidence of the taste of the period. As such – and given their rarity (the Gairdyne cup is the earliest known and dated example of Dundee silversmithing) they represent an important addition to the McManus’ already impressive silver collection, an assemblage of more than 350 pieces, spanning the period from the 17th century to the early twentieth century.

Artists include

Provenance

Presented to Steeple Church (previously South Church), Dundee. On loan to the McManus from 1974 to 2005, thereafter returned to the Church.


McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum

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Exhibitions at McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum

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