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Garrick's Cup made from Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree


Mixed media





Height: 59cm
Width: 41cm
Depth: 11.5cm

Other materials

Wooden cup (16x7) with accompanying letter (15x20) and copper medal (3.5x3.5) in wooden display cabinet with gilt and plaques


"CUP MADE OF SHAKESPEARE'S MULBERRY TREE / PRESENTED BY DAVID GARRICK TO MRS COLMAN." (top); "GARRICK'S MEDAL AS STEWARD, STRATFORD ON AVON, 1769." (below) "WE SHALL NOT LOOK UPON HIS LIKE AGAIN" (on medal); "To Mrs. Colman with a cup made of the Mulberry-Tree which Shakespeare planted. As Bigot Priests, who never would give up, But to their sacred tribe the hallow'd Cup; So I, great Shakespeare's Priest, to Priesthood true, Ne'er gave the Cup, but to the chosen few, And therefore Colman, it is sent to you. DG. Octr. 7th 1776" (on letter)


Presented by Charles Oldham F.R.C.S.

Exhibition history

1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (63) 1951 London, Tate Gallery, "Pictures from the Garrick Club" (43) 1997 London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, "Dramatic Art Theatrical Paintings from the Garrick Club" (3) June 2017 - September 2017, Lichfield, Johnson Birthplace Museum, "Johnson and Garrick: A Friendship in constant Repair" October 2017-February 2018, London, Dr Johnson's House, "Johnson and Garrick: A Friendship in constant Repair".

Related works

See P0131

Shakespeare is reputed to have planted a mulberry tree at New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, which was sacrilegiously cut down by the Reverend Francis Gastrell in 1756. Garrick was an early purchaser of this wood, having had some made into a chair for his Shakespeare temple at his Hampton house in 1758. However it was Garrick's 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee that really created a boon for the mulberry mongers following Stratford town's commissioning of a carved box, to contain the declaration of Garrick’s freedom of the town, granted to him the previous year on 11th October 1768. For the Jubilee, medals struck from gold, copper gilt and silver were issued, which were to be worn with a “Shakespeare Favor”, an advertisement announcing: “A ribband has been made on purpose at Coventry call’d The Shakespeare Ribband; it is an imitation of the Rainbow, which uniting the colours of all Parties, is likewise an emblem of the Great Variety of his Genius. Each change of many colour’d Life he drew.”
As steward for the festival Garrick’s medal was of course made from something more rare and valuable than gold; the wood from Shakespeare’s mulberry tree.
According to an engraving by Hultmandel (P0131), a mulberry cup was presented to David Garrick by the Mayor & Corporation of Stratford-upon-Avon, also at the Jubilee. However the engraving also claims that after the death of Mrs Garrick the cup was "sold at Mr Christies Auction Room, King Street, St James, on the 5th May 1825 and purchased by Mr J Johnson of Southampton Str, Covent Garden, who caused this Print to be made to perpetuate the above circumstance - ", which suggests there were more than one in existence. The decoration of the two is also different in its details.
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