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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

1 & 3: Coconut cups with silver-gilt mounts

Coconuts – or ‘nuts of India’ as they were called before 1600 – are the fruit of the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera. By 1400 these trees were growing in India, from where their expensive and highly desirable nuts were imported to Europe and made into cups for the wealthy, who believed that they could neutralise poison. Relatively few early English examples survive, and these two are amongst the earliest known, with the larger cup dating to the early 1400s.

England, early to mid 15th century Coconut, silver gilt

The Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

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