This fabulous Celtic knot motif Irish sterling silver cream and sugar set was crafted by Dublin based silversmith, Hopkins & Hopkins and features a band of intricate interlaced knotwork with a Zoomorphic motif. The footed cream and sugar have a classic form and feature three well defined legs with lions' masks terminating in detailed lions' paws. The pieces are embellished with a 1" segmented band consisting of the heads and long twisting bodies of two stylized herons or 'Creyr' figures, recognized as the Creator among the Celts. The birds' bodies appear as two interwoven ribbons which are said to signify the intertwined lives of couples whose fates are bound together for eternity and the new life they will create. The sugar bowl and pitcher are finished with rolled rims cut in a scalloped edge design.
The cream and sugar are in very good vintage condition with no dents or repairs and have not been monogrammed. The pieces show minor signs of use commensurate with age and have a few light scratches and small spots of tarnish present. The underside of the pieces are fully marked with the Harp Crowned mark indicating the piece was assayed in Dublin, figure of Hibernia and a quatrefoil cartouche date marked for 1939. The cream and sugar also have the maker's mark "H & H" within an oblong punch for Hopkins and Hopkins. The measurements for the pieces are as follows:
5.5" from the back edge of the handle to the tip of the spout
4.25" tall as measured to the highest point of the spout
4" tall as measured to the highest point of the handle
5.125" diameter from the outside edges of the rim
2.5" tall as measured to the highest point of the rim
The pieces have a combined weight of 10.66ozt (331.5g).
This highly collectible silver footed cream and sugar display beautifully and would be a wonderful addition to an assembly of Irish silver, or work equally well as a stand alone decorative accent. A rare find sure to be a focal point wherever they are displayed.
A note on the maker and the origin of the design:
The Hopkins & Hopkins hallmark was entered with the Dublin Assay Office in 1883, and the company was in business at Dublin's O’Connell Bridge until 1974.
Hopkins & Hopkins are well known for their association with the Sam Mcguire Cup, a prize awarded to winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. H & H was originally commissioned to make the trophy in 1928, and worked with fellow Dublin based silversmith Matthew J. Staunton to actually manufacture the piece. Staunton's design for The Sam drew upon the motifs found on The Ardagh Chalice, which was part of the famous hoard of 8th and 9th century metalwork discovered in 1908 by two boys in an Irish potato field.
Hopkins & Hopkins use of the Ardagh motif ties in with the overall Celtic Revival which was taking place at the time of its production. This movement represented an effort to restore a sense of pride in a distinct Irish culture as evidenced in revered objects like The Ardagh Chalice and The Book of Kells. As early 20th century H & H print advertisements read, "...our dies used are facsimile reproductions of the original Celtic ornaments in the Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College Museum Dublin", and the company became known for its faithful reproductions of these treasured Celtic designs.
Vintage Irish Sterling Silver Hopkins & Hopkins Footed Cream and Sugar with Celtic Knot Motif and Lion Mask Feet