For the first time in more than 150 years some of the most extraordinary and enigmatic treasures of the Renaissance, a set of 12 European silver-gilt standing cups – known as the ‘Tazze di Aldobrandini’ – will be reunited and displayed together at Waddesdon Manor.
These beautiful table ornaments celebrate the Twelve Caesars, notorious rulers of ancient Rome. Each standing cup (or tazza) includes a portrait of one of the Caesars, as well as four episodes from his life on the supporting dish. The 48 vignettes bring to life the book, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, by Roman historian Suetonius (written in the early second century AD).
One of the great mysteries surrounding the Silver Caesars is that no record exists detailing their origin. We do not know when the set was made, by whom, for whom, or for what purpose. However, new research revealed in the exhibition now goes some way to answering those questions.
Dr Julia Siemon curator of The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery exhibition, will give the first of this year’s Waddesdon in London lectures about the findings of her research into the mysteries behind these beautiful table ornaments on the 9th April. Please register here.