William EDWARDS, Melbourne Hunt Club Cup Enlarge 1 /7
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London, England, Great Britain 1819 – Australia 1889

  • to Australia 1857

Melbourne Hunt Club Cup c.1859 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: metalwork, trophies, silver, gilt interior

Primary Insc: stamped inside lid: emu/WE/kangaroo
Secondary Insc: engaved on side of cup: MELBOURNE HUNT CLUB/ WON BY "BOBBY"/ RIDDEN BY HIS OWNER/ jas BEVAN ESQ'/ OCT 8TH 1859
Dimensions: a) & b) 43.9 h x 32.9 w x 22.3 d cm a) 32.5 h x 32.9 w x 19.5 d cm b) 12.1 h 22.3 diameter cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1953.A-B
Subject: Sport

The extravagance and eclecticism of mid-19th century English and Australian presentation silver is visible in this object. Celebrating a type of success is the presentation cup by the Melbourne goldsmith, William Edwards. Made soon after his arrival in Australia in 1857 and the establishment of his business in Melbourne, this extravagant work combines neoclassical forms with robust decoration, suggesting the abundance and success achieved by many in mid-19th century Australian colonial life. There are kangaroos and emus on the base, racing horses, vine leaves, fruit and grapes in a cast band on the body of the cup and a figure of a horse on the lid. It is engraved with the following inscription:

Melbourne Hunt Club Cup
Won by ‘Bobby’
Ridden by his owner Jas Bevan Esq
Oct 8th 1859.

Robert Bell

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002