Fine Antique Silver & Objects of Vertu
A Large Royal Silver Sailing Cup of Exceptional Quality & Detail
with original oak case
Presented by Her Majesty Queen Victoria
Made by Elkington & Co
Height 23” (58.5cm); Weight 162 troy oz (5044g)
THE GIFT OF
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
TO THE ROYAL MERSEY
YACHT CLUB REGATTA
WON BY THE AEOLUS
THE PROPERTY OF
CHARLES TENNANT COUPER
6th July 1861
Notes & Condition Report
After the cup was won by Charles Tennant Couper in 1861, Elkington & Co borrowed the Royal Cup
to exhibit it at The International Exhibition of 1862, South Kensington, to demonstrate their outstanding
quality and exceptional workmanship that they can produce.
This Royal Cup was illustrated in The Art-Journal, New Series Volume I, 1862, with the following text:-
“The eminent manufacturing firm of Messrs. ELKINGTON & Co., of London and Birmingham, are extensive contributors.
We have selected, as preliminary examples of their works, the three objects engraved on this page.
The largest is the silver cup called the “Queen’s Cup,” presented last year by Her Majesty to the members of the
Royal Mersey Yacht Club, and won by the Aeolus. Owned by Mr C.J. Cooper, jun., of Glasgow.
The design is strictly of a nautical character; the lid surmounted by a schooner-yacht, under full canvas; the body of the cup,
on which is the inscription, rests on a basin of shell-like form; and on each handles, as supporters, stand a sailor “holding on” by a rope.
The upper moulding of the plinth represents a capstan, and the lower part is ornamented with anchors and cables”.
The Royal Mersey Yacht Club was founded in 1844 in Liverpool and survives to the present day.
In 1861 the club launched a major new 3-day regatta with races for cutters and schooners that
ran down the Mersey and out to the North West Lightship in the Irish Sea.
Mr Charles Tennant Couper Jnr. of Glasgow entered his brand new cutter Aeolus that was built in Fife.
The first day's race was for a purse of 100 Sovereigns, the weather was very stormy and Aeolus came in a close second.
The main event the next day was for a splendid new silver cup, and as Hunt's Yachting Magazine describes it:-
"The Prize for contention was Her Majesty's Cup, value £100, which it is said Her Majesty chose personally,
and is a magnificent specimen of Art. It is of a vase shape, standing upon an ebony pedestal; festoons of ropes and chains
surround the base of the bowl, the handles are formed by the figures of two sailors, in the act of saluting, most exquisitely executed;
at the base are two coils of hawser, on each of which rests a silver anchor; and a chastely ornamented lid, surmounted by a schooner
yacht under full sail. The usual presentation inscriptions and Royal Cypher are engraven upon the sides".
Seventeen vessels entered the race, but only eight finished. Over same course, in much lighter winds,
the race was closely contested but her rival Thought finally piped Aeolus at the post.
However, by a cruel twist of fate, the race had exceeded the stated time limit of 9 hours and so the result
was declared invalid and the race was therefore re-scheduled for the final day of the regatta.
In this final race Aeolus was hardly challenged and finished an easy winner
Hunt's Yachting Magazine concludes:
"Mr Couper, accompanying it with some brief and appropriate remarks upon the sailing of the Thought on Friday, and that of Aeolus
on Saturday, expressed himself that it was almost a pity that so splendid a trophy could not be divided between two gallant champions;
three hearty cheers were then given by the assembled yachtsmen respectively for the Aeolus and the Thought;
the Cup having been filled with Champagne, the health of Her Majesty was drunk with all honours...".
The quality of silversmith for this Royal cup is outstanding
This is Elkington's work at their very best
The detail of the sailors is superb
Original gilding inside the cup and lid
The only fault is that the tiny pennant (flag) at the top of the mast has been bent over
(I would not suggest straightening this, as it could easily break off)
The hallmarks are excellent
Without damage or repair
The original oak box looks fantastic and still has remains of wax seals
and labels from being stored in Mr Couper's bank vault.
The original green felt inside the box has pretty much disintegrated.
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