Nikolaus Schmidt, ‘Nautilus cup’, ca. 1600, Royal Collection Trust

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. Although once considered to be the work of Benvenuto Cellini, it bears the mark of Nikolaus Schmidt (master 1582), a Nuremberg goldsmith trained in the workshop of Wenzel Jamnitzer (1508-85). This is one of Schmidt's most celebrated pieces although other important works by him survive in the treasuries in Vienna and Dresden. His work is notable for its superb quality, fine sculptural elements and frequent incorporation of natural rarities.

Image rights: © Royal Collection Trust / HM Queen Elizabeth II

Possibly a member of the Peller family, Nuremberg, c.1610; William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, fourth Earl of Mornington, second Baron Maryborough, probably acquired post 1812; by who sold G.Robins, Warwick House, Regent St., London, June 1822 (lot 331); purchased by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell (£120); by whom sold to George IV in 1823 (250 guineas).

About Nikolaus Schmidt