Rakow Library Collection Highlight: Documenting an Anglo-Saxon Cone Beaker from Faversham

This watercolor drawing of a cone beaker is not a new acquisition at the Rakow Library. In fact, it’s been in the Museum’s possession—along with the actual glass object it represents—since 1985.  It’s a treasured item in our collection, however, and one we’re excited to share.

Watercolor of glass cone beaker

Figure 1. Watercolor of cone beaker. CMGL 107763

The watercolor (Figure 1) and its accompanying annotations document the discovery of a 7th century cone beaker found in 1862 at the site of an important Anglo-Saxon cemetery in southeastern England.  The site, King’s Field in Faversham, Kent, was likely once a villa of the kings of Kent.  Many centuries later, William P. Hoare, a physician practicing in Kent in the middle of the 19th century, acquired the beaker (quite possibly as a form of payment from a patient).  His son, painter William Webster Hoare, illustrated the family’s recent acquisition in this watercolor dated February 2, 1878; annotations were made by William P. Hoare.

Cone beaker, England, probably Kent, 7th century A.D. (85.1.4).

Figure 2. Cone beaker, England, probably Kent, 7th century A.D. 85.1.4

The beaker itself (Figure 2) was blown and decorated with several horizontal trails to form a pattern of lozenges.  Though it’s over 1,300 years old, it’s still in remarkable condition.

In 1885, after the death of William P. Hoare, family members immigrated to Australia with the beaker; there it remained with the family for the next one hundred years until the Museum acquired it in 1985 from P. T. Cooke, the great-grandson of William P. Hoare.

Learn more about the Anglo-Saxon cone beaker from Faversham in an article by David Whitehouse from the Journal of Glass Studies. http://www.cmog.org/article/anglo-saxon-cone-beaker-faversham

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