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History of the Chalice

what is a chalice

A chalice is similar to a goblet, but it is often decorated in a manner which denotes its connotations to the Christian faith; for example having the form of a cross or an inscription referring to prayer, God or Jesus.

For a vessel to be considered a chalice in the eyes of the Christian church, it often has to be blessed first. In the Roman Catholic church and some Anglo-Catholic churches, it was the custom for a chalice to be consecrated by a bishop or abbot.

Occasionally, without any evidence of religious decoration or ornamentation, we are able to decipher that a vessel would be considered a chalice rather than a goblet due to the style of the piece. Often a large, wider base signifies that it was used by many as part of a religious ceremony, furthermore the shape of the cup also indicates it’s use; a more square or triangular shape is more likely to be an attribute of a chalice, whereas often a goblet will have a more rounded, graduating form between the stem and the lip of the cup.

At AC Silver we have some fine examples of the antique drinking chalice. This piece is an early form which predates the records that were destroyed by fire at the London Assay office in 1681; their catalogues and documentation began again in 1697. Due to this unfortunate event we are unable to associate a maker with this chalice, however its provenance is evident in its form and the clear date mark.

Communion Chalice

In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and many other denominations of the Christian faith, a chalice is a cup used to hold sacramental wine during significant ceremonies such as the Holy Communion.

Andrew Campbell started trading in antiques during the 1970s. Initially, Andrew lived in the South of England, travelling the country, searching for items of silver to buy. Andrew sold these items at various London markets and antique fairs. Over time, and through selling at a range of venues, Andrew built up a large and diverse customer base from private buyers to national and international trade customers.
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