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Tankard, ca. 1877, Silver Gilt
R & S Garrard & Co.


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Thomas W. Evans Collection

This impressive English tankard was dedicated to Dr. Evans by the Prince of Wales in 1877. It features the image of Saint George battling the dragon. Saint George was the patron saint of England and a long-standing motif of resilience. The large, silver-gilt tankard is a ceremonial drinking vessel, whose absurdly large and heavy form are ornamented with strapwork, suggesting the shapes of Renaissance hardware and armor. The sculptural figures of the knight and horse that adorn the lid are locked in combat with the vicious dragon. This tail form the handle. These forms are rendered drinking from this cup, only a symbolic act. Yet by making reference to a history of precious drinking vessels, a type common in Northern Europe for the middle ages and the Renaissance, the tankard evokes not only a longstanding communal form of celebration, but also a tradition of fine metalwork. The Garrard firm, which produces this monumental object, was also known its jewelry production and was closely associated with the British royal family.