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Frans Francken the Younger was the most famous of an Antwerp dynasty of painters; he trained with his father, Frans the Elder (1542-1616), and joined the Antwerp guild in 1605. He was a painter of religious and historical subjects as well as being the inv

Bringing the wider world to a princely court

Nikolaus Schmidt (c. 1550/55-1609)

Nautilus cup c. 1600

RCIN 50603

Lantern Lobby, Windsor Castle

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This elaborate work of art was one of the highlights of George IV's Kunstkammer. George IV acquired it for the large sum of 250 guineas in 1823. When it was purchased it was thought to be the work of the most celebrated goldsmith of the period, Benvenuto Cellini, during the period he worked for Francis I of France. Historians were so convinced of this provenance that they concluded the face of Jupiter was in fact the face of Francis himself. The cup was an object of renown and during the later nineteenth century no description of a banquet at Windsor Castle was complete without a mention of the Cellini cup on display on the buffet. The maker is now known to be Nicholas Schmidt, a renowned goldsmith whose works survive in the Wunderkammer in Vienna and Dresden as well as in the Royal Collection.

The large nautilus shell is supported on the shoulder of a figure of Neptune, with one arm upraised, riding a hippocamp with a curled tail, on a domed base chased with sea monsters and shells. The base has a silver beaded rim and four feet cast as double-

Nautilus cup ©