Created around the middle of the 1st century, the Warren Cup caused something of a stir in the media due to its challengingly explicit homoerotic scenes.

The scenes reflect the mores of the time and the region in which it was created and used, and it is a precious means for us to reach back and understand those societies. Iconographic and stylistic details, such as the hair of the two younger participants, the beard of the oldest, and the musical instruments, suggest a cultured, Hellenised setting. The cup is, in fact, said to have been found at Bittir (ancient Bethther), about ten kilometres southwest of Jerusalem, with coins of the Emperor Claudius (reigned AD 41-54). The cup takes its name from its first recorded owner, Edward Perry Warren (1860-1928), an American collector and dealer who set up home at Lewes House in Sussex in 1890.

Provenance

Acquired by E P Warren, 1892-1902 (said to be from Palestine); inherited by H A Thomas (Warren's secretary); sold to John Hewlett (dealer); sold to Dr Ariel Herrmann (collector), 1996; current vendor.


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