A Quaich: An Early Form of the Loving Cup

Advertisements
Quaich designed by  William Clark  1709
Quaich designed by William Clark 1709 | The Met

The quaich or quaigh is a type of Scottish drinking vessel. It is shallow and uncovered, similar to a porringer. Small quaichs are meant for individual use, while larger ones are passed around on ceremonial occasions like a loving cup. The bowl has two flat horizontal handles called “lugs” in Scotland. These handles are unpierced and droop downward at the ends. This design was meant to secure the cup when attached to the owner’s leg while travelling, as kilts did not have pockets and sporrans were not always spacious enough.

On anniversaries and special occasions, most Scottish regiments keep up a curious mess custom called “kissing the quaich.” The quaich, which, towards the end of dinner, is handed to each officer in turn, is full of liqueur whisky. Custom decrees that the vessel must be drained at a gulp, after which the holder twists it upside down from him and kisses the bottom’ to show it is empty. (Maladon News, 1917)

Quaich’s early examples are of wood, bone or horn, sometimes made with silver mounts and later ones entirely silver. Those with a wooden bowl were often made of vertical staves (some- times of alternating contrasting woods) bound horizontally with two bands of withies; some silver examples are decorated to simulate this form. Some examples have in the interior a decorative print on the bottom (originally made to cover the junction of the wooden staves). The width is usually in the range of 9.5 to 25 cm. Modern examples are made in many sizes.ย 

Sources

“KISSING THE QUAICH.” (1917, November 6).ย Maldon News (Vic. : 1916 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138732801

Newman, H. (1987, November 1). An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware. https://doi.org/10.1604/9780500234563

Advertisements

Design Store

Books | Design History

Advertisements

Silverware Terms

  • Regimental Silverware Reflect the Prestige of the Regiment

    Regimental Silverware Reflect the Prestige of the Regiment

    Regimental silverware is owned by military regiments for display and utilitarian use. Centrepieces, two-handled cups, tureens, and rose-water basins are used for their intended purposes and serve as symbols of unity and camaraderie within the regiment. They are taken with the regiment wherever it is stationed, reminding them of their history and traditions.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Regency Tankard – Intricate Low Relief

    Regency Tankard  – Intricate Low Relief

    Regency tankards were made in England during the Regency, 1811-20, with intricate low-relief figures adorning both the body and handle, often depicting scenes from mythology or history. They are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts as they represent a unique piece of history and artistry.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • A Quaich: An Early Form of the Loving Cup

    A Quaich: An Early Form of the Loving Cup

    The quaich or quaigh is a type of Scottish drinking vessel. It is shallow and uncovered, similar to a porringer.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


  • Ablution basin – Dictionary of Silverware

    Ablution basin – Dictionary of Silverware

    Ablution basin. A type of basin for holding water intended: (1) in ecclesiastical usage, for rinsing the hands or some object of church plate, such as a chalice; or (2) in secular usage, for rinsing the fingers at the dinner table (sometimes called a rose-water basin). Its founder donated two ecclesiastical ablution basins in 1515-16…


    Learn More โ†’


  • Achilles Shield – Dictionary of Silverware

    Achilles Shield – Dictionary of Silverware

    A silver-gilt convex shield with a sizable central medallion depicting the shield of encrusted iron made by the god Hephaestus for Achilles at Troy, as it is described by Homer in Book 18 of the Iliad. The medallion, which depicts in high relief a figure of the Sun (Apollo) standing in a quadriga (a chariot…


    Learn More โ†’


  • Keyhole pattern – Dictionary of Silverware

    Keyhole pattern – Dictionary of Silverware

    Keyhole pattern is a type of pierced work found on porringers, typically consisting of four to ten additional holes, with the terminal hole resembling a keyhole. It replaced the geometric pattern of c. 1730.Read More →


    Learn More โ†’


More design articles

Advertisements

โค๏ธ Receive our newsletter

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.