Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design III


A monteith is a large bowl usually made of silver with a scalloped rim: the bowl would be filled with ice and water, and wine glasses would be cooled and rinsed in this, their stem bases suspended in notches around the rim. Now in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, this example was made in Dublin by Thomas Bolton in 1702-03 at the request of Sir Richard Cox, Lord Chancellor of Ireland at the time of William III’s death. It was one of the prerogatives of the office that the holder could keep the Great Seal of Ireland when a monarch died: Cox had his melted down and used to create the monteith seen here. It carries both his arms and those of James Butler, second Duke of Ormonde who was then Lord Lieutenant, contained in foliate cartouches on the vessel’s fluted sides. One clever detail: the scalloped top can be removed, thereby transforming the piece into a regular punch bowl.

4 comments on “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design III

  1. Aeneas Ryan says:

    Some additional information on the individuals associated with this stunning piece:

    • Thank you very much for this contribution, which is most interesting (as is everything on your website, other readers are encouraged to visit). Castletown Cox is a house I know well and to the best of my knowledge the estate was acquired by Michael Cox rather than inherited from his father: it was intended to be a family property as opposed to the palace in Cashel which passed from one Archbishop to the next.

  2. bredahaugh says:

    The focus of this exhibition on design is very interesting, and timely , as this year has been designated the Year of Irish Design. I am enjoying the posts very much. Is there any possibility of the show travelling to Ireland?

    • Thank you for getting in touch and I am delighted that you are enjoying the week’s posts. Unfortunately there is no possibility the show will travel to Ireland: the offer was made but turned down on grounds of cost.

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