National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis French 12th Century (mounting); Alexandrian 2nd/1st Century B.C.(cup)
French 12th Century (artist)
Alexandrian 2nd Century B.C. (artist)
Alexandrian 1st Century B.C. (artist)
Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis, 2nd/1st century B.C. (cup); 1137-1140 (mounting)
sardonyx cup with heavily gilded silver mounting, adorned with filigrees set with stones, pearls, glass insets, and opaque white glass pearls
overall (height): 18.4 cm (7 1/4 in.) overall (diam. at base): 11.7 cm (4 5/8 in.) overall (diam. at top): 12.4 cm (4 7/8 in.)
Widener Collection
On View
From the Tour: Medieval Metalwork and Enamels
Object 1 of 8


Abbey Church of Saint-Denis, France, from 1137/1140 to 1791;[1] Cabinet National des Médailles et Antiques, Paris, from 30 September 1791 to 16 February 1804;[2] acquired 1804 by Charles Towneley [1737-1805], London; in the Towneley family, London, until possibly 1920. (Harry Harding, London), in 1920; (Goldschmidt Galleries, New York), by 1921; purchased 20 March 1922 by Joseph E. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, after purchase by funds of the Estate; gift 1942 to NGA.

[1] Abbot Suger did not disclose the provenance of his sardonyx cup. It may have been brought to Saint-Denis by dealers who flocked there in great numbers, or it may have been a pawn redeemed by a wealthy lender of the Jewish community that had settled in Saint-Denis and Paris (Panofsky, Erwin, Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis and Its Art Treasures, 1946, 2nd ed., Princeton, 1979: 55.)

[2] In fulfillment of the law ordering the nationalization of the monastic orders, on 30 September 1791 the chalice was taken away from Saint-Denis and deposited at the Cabinet National des Médailles et Antiques. On the night of 16-17 February 1804, it was stolen from the Cabinet National, forced into a plaster bust of Laocoön, and smuggled, presumably by way of Holland, to England, which was then at war with France.

Associated Names

Full Screen Image
Artist Information (Alexandrian 1st Century B.C.)
Artist Information (Alexandrian 2nd Century B.C.)
Artist Information (French 12th Century)
Conservation Notes
Exhibition History

«back to gallery»continue tour