Stirrup cups were for the pre-hunt drink, usually a port or sherry, offered to a member of the hunt mounted on horseback and about to depart for the hunt. As they were held in the hand they did not require a flat base Most of the cups are made of silver, although less expensive ceramic examples were also made, and they are usually in the form of a fox’s head or, more rarely, the head of a stag, greyhound or hare, or in the form of a hoof. Most silver examples date from the early 1700s to mid 19th century. Many stirrup cups survive from the peak period of their production, the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and their popularity as collector’s items has led to their continued production by modern silversmiths.
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