Silver horse race cups designed by Scottish architect Robert Adam for sale at Bonhams

Fine Silver and Gold Boxes
20 Jun 2012
London, New Bond Street

Two 'Richmond Cups', designed by the famous 18th Century Scottish architect and designer Robert Adam, as the prize for the Richmond Gold Cup, the highlight of the annual Richmond Races, is to be auctioned at Bonhams Fine Silver Sale in London on 20 June. They are estimated at £50,000-70,000 each.

The Richmond Cup was awarded every year from 1757 until 1858 and a new cup was made to Adam's original design for each occasion. One of the cups to be auctioned at Bonhams dates from 1773 when the race was won by Perdita owned by a noted horse breeder and owner, Sir John Lister Kaye, one time high sheriff of Yorkshire. The Richmond Races were held on the land of Sir Laurence Dundas for whom Adam worked and the cup was commissioned by his son, Thomas. The other cup was awarded to the winner of the 1784 race, Phenomenon.

The design for the cup is among the 9,000 Adam drawings bought by Sir John Soane after his fellow architect's death and now housed in the Soane Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.

Robert Adam, with his brother James, developed the Adam style which was at the forefront of the classical revival in Scotland and England and had a major influence on architecture and interior design in Europe and America. Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Adam was appointed Architect of the King's Works in 1761 and served as MP for Kinross-shire from 1768-74.

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