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Nikolaus Schmidt (c. 1550/55-1609)

Nautilus cup c. 1600

Nautilus shell with parcel-gilt silver mounts | 52.0 x 24.0 x 17.0 cm | RCIN 50603

Lantern Lobby, Windsor Castle

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This elaborate work of art was one of the highlights of George IV's Kunstkammer. George IV acquired it for the large sum of 250 guineas in 1823. When it was purchased it was thought to be the work of the most celebrated goldsmith of the period, Benvenuto Cellini, during the period he worked for Francis I of France. Historians were so convinced of this provenance that they concluded the face of Jupiter was in fact the face of Francis himself. The cup was an object of renown and during the later nineteenth century no description of a banquet at Windsor Castle was complete without a mention of the Cellini cup on display on the buffet. The maker is now known to be Nicholas Schmidt, a renowned goldsmith whose works survive in the Wunderkammer in Vienna and Dresden as well as in the Royal Collection.

This spectacular Kunstkammer object is one of the finest examples of antiquarian plate acquired by George IV. On its arrival in 1823, it joined a growing collection of virtuoso sideboard cups of varying dates and nationalities. <br /><br />Although once c

The shell is supported by Neptune riding a hippocamp ©