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John Coney, The Holyoke Caudle Cup (c. 1690) 

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at The Holyoke Caudle Cup (c. 1690) by John Coney.

About the Work

Title : The Holyoke Caudle Cup
Artist : John Coney
Year : c. 1690
Medium : Silver
Dimensions : 13 x 23.5 x 14.3 cm (5 1/8 x 9 1/4 x 5 5/8 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Holyoke Caudle Cup

A caudle cup refers to a small silver cup that has two handles, typically originating from England in the 17th century. Such cups, as the name suggests, were used for caudle. Caudle refers to a blend of wine and spices that was traditionally served at important events, including weddings and funerals. The mixture may also be made with using a mix of ale and spices.

The Holyoke Caudle cup was one of two cups by John Coney in Harvard’s collection. The former was gifted to the President of Harvard, Edward Holyoke by his great-great-granddaughter.

As described by Beth Potier in The Harvard Gazette :

 “In addition to the finely detailed scrolled handles similar to those of the Stoughton Cup, the Holyoke Caudle Cup is ringed with embossed flowers and leaves, from which the faces of young children peek out.”

Other Details

John Coney’s The Holyoke Caudle Cup is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 2340, European and American Art, 17th–19th century. It is part of the museum’s collection of the The Silver Cabinet: Art and Ritual


To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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