The Crawford Cup by Unknown Artist

This two handled 'Kanthros' type drinking cup is horizontally banded in shades of purple and white and appears at its most exquisite when light passes through it.

Details

Medium:
Fluorite
Dimensions:
9.7 x 10.7 cm
Art Fund grant:
£2,300 ( Total: £2,300)
Acquired in:
1971
Vendor:
A I Loewental

Finding pieces of murra large enough to carve was very difficult and extremely expensive. This cup is made from a relatively rare and valuable mineral, fluorspar, which was prized in Roman times for its banded appearance and the special flavour which it gave to wine drunk from it. In Roman times, the mineral could only be found in Parthia, modern day Iran. According to Pliny, fluorspar vessels were first brought to Rome by Pompey the Great in 62-61 BC after his victories in the East. Fluorspar has been employed in more recent times for ornamental purposes using Derbyshire fluorspar, known as blue John. Few such cups have survived from antiquity. It was presented to the British Museum in commemoration of Lord Crawford's 25 years as Chairman of the Art Fund.

Provenance

Discovered in a Roman tomb on the Turco-Syrian frontier during the 1st World War, 1919; A.I. Loewental.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8299 www.britishmuseum.org

Entry details

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