Likely England, Unmarked, c1640-70



Formed in the Portuguese fashion prevalent at the time,

and of heavy gauge silver,

the deep round lobed bowl of flowerhead form, with an embossed flowerhead to the interior,

the opening petal edges further "studded" with punch-beading;

sided by two beaded s-scroll foliate handles,

and raised on a short stem with bladed knop (Portuguese influence) and small circular foot;

one side of the bowl prick-engraved E over WH in the British manner.


Style : Throughout the 17th century, England had ambassadorial links and strong trade with Portugal,

as well as periodic restored alliance with Spain.

Along with that trade came the importation of wine, as Britain had proven too cool and damp for grapes.

Sometimes with the wine came a small silver footed Portuguese or Spanish "tasting cup"

to be passed around the table, and known as a

"bernegal - "a cup for drinking with a wide mouth and undulating form".


However, both this cup and its initialing have been defined as

"likely of English manufacture rather than Portuguese"-

citing the depth of punch decoration, and pricked initialing (no "W" in Portuguese).


Dating : Most 17th century small silver pieces (apart from spoons) remained unmarked.

'Further, during the 1649- 60 Commonwealth Period, most silver was melted

(for reasons of "austerity" and taxation for wars).

Thus exact maker and dating of this cup is not possible.

For a short time during the second half of the 17th century, England produced some small silver cups

( 4-5" high and without handles) as well as the flat-bottomed 2-handled "wine tasters".

However, the estimated date range for this handled tasting cup is Charles II,

or possibly earlier - from Charles I (d.1649) or Commonwealth periods and

contemporary with the popularity of the Portuguese bernegal.

Condition : Excellent for age, with several expected minor repairs to the chasing and around the rim;

one handle likely with a small loss


2.5" High, 3.75" Diameter, 5" Over Handles / 4 oz.






Please Inquire










Attributed to Juan de Zurbarán “A Basket of Fruit with Bernegal” c1645


Above a painting with Bernegal (possibly ceramic), c1645 :

"A Basket of Fruit with Bernegal", Attributed to Juan de Zurbarán

Collection of Masaveu Bodegó (Wiki Commons)




Although only a few inches high, the small bernegal illustrates the great breadth and interweaving

of ideals and arts between European nations c1600 -

in this case, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and England.


Below are "links" to three "rare rock crystal bernegals", 1575-1660, residing in the Prado, Madrid,

having belonged to the Grand Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XIV of France, and father of king Philip V of Spain.

Each was made in Milan - with related forms made possibly in Prague -

and well worth viewing.

The "ceramic bernegal" in the painting above is Spanish,

and the "silver bernegal" deemed English, with decidedly British inscription,

of Portuguese-influenced construction.








Also, a golden example was retrieved by Mel Fisher (1980) from the sunken vessel Santa Margarita, 1622.






Also See :


EARLY ENGLISH WINE TASTERS :  Their Lore, Influences,& The 'Disputes' of Name & Purpose



Their Lore, Influences ...

& The 'Disputes' of Name & Purpose



Rare Mid-17th Century English Silver Tasting Cup



(An Article Regarding Sharing of 'Ideas & Concepts')




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Rare Mid-17th Century Silver "Tasting Cup", Likely English in the Porguese Manner;, c1640-70 


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