Thistle Cup

Contributed by Museum of Edinburgh

This beautiful little silver cup is known as a 'thistle cup'. It is a design which was particularly popular in Scotland and it was probably used for drinking wine.

The earliest recorded thistle cup was made in Edinburgh in 1682. This one is a little later and was made in 1694-5 by an Edinburgh silversmith called John Seatoune.

It is called a thistle cup because its shape is designed to look like the head of a thistle flower. The base is rounded and the rim turns outwards at the edge, which copies the shape of the flower. The ridges which run up from the base resemble the 'calyx' (the cover around the bud from which a real flower emerges).

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