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SIDNEY-SPENSER  April 2003

SIDNEY-SPENSER April 2003

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Subject:

Re: Sidney coconut cup at Huntington

From:

Roger Kuin <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sidney-Spenser Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Apr 2003 08:54:01 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (88 lines)

The first thing to do would surely be to trace it its provenance BACK
from the Huntington -- that might well provide some clues, even
second- or third-hand. It is certainly an interesting confirmation of
Sidney's connection with the New World. As a coconut, it wouldn't be
linked to Virginia, though that was Sidney's last New World
connection (see the 1585 letter to him from Ralph Lane, more or less
proposing him as a successor). Could there be a Dyer connection?
Andrew Dyer, Edward's brother, was one of Frobisher's captains -- but
again, that might be too far North. Sidney's friend Duplessis-Mornay
had two Brazilian Tupi Indians in his French household -- perhaps
there's something there. Or even Drake himself -- might the cup, if
it really was given to the Sidneys by Elizabeth, be made from a
coconut Drake brought back and have been in some sort a tacit amends
for yanking Philip back at the last moment from his voyage with
Drake? Just some scattered thoughts.

Roger Kuin
York University, Toronto


>I was recently contacted by Mary Robertson of the Huntington Library
>with a fascinating query about an object associated with the Sidneys.  I
>promised that I would look about for a solution (including information
>about New Year's Gifts from Lisa Celovsky), but so far have found
>nothing solid.  I'm posting the query here in hopes that someone on the
>list can make some suggestions.  If you post to the list (not to me,
>off-list) we'll all be able to follow the discussion, if one ensues. I
>can then summarize for Mary Robertson.  Thanks for your help, Germaine
>(see below).
>
>"I am writing to you ... in the hope that you might have some further
>information about an object in the Huntington's collections about which
>I
>knew nothing when you visited us back in 1995:  in our Art Gallery is a
>silver-framed  carved coconut standing cup,  made in 1586,  and said to
>have
>been presented by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Philip Sidney or to his family,
>
>probably after Zutphen   (or, much less likely, a gift from him/ them to
>
>her).  The coconut shell which forms the bowl of the cup is divided into
>
>three panels:  on the first is carved Elizabeth's "E.R." monogram; on
>the
>second the Sidney porcupine; and on the third several military symbols
>(pike, cannon, etc.).  A strikingly similar cup is said to have been
>made by
>Elizabeth from a coconut brought back to her by Sir Francis Drake, and
>is
>now in Devon, with Drake's arms in place of the porcupine and a small
>view
>of a man landing on an island rather than the military symbols.
>
>I came across this while curating an exhibition for the 400th
>anniversary of
>Elizabeth's death;   the label in our Art Gallery made no mention of
>either
>Elizabeth or the Sidney connection, so I had missed its existence
>earlier
>on.
>
>Although it is not  really necessary for my Elizabeth show (which opened
>
>last December), I've been trying to pin down the circumstances of the
>cup
>with a little more precision.  I've been through all the secondary
>material
>here on Sidney that I can locate ( the Collected Works,  his will,
>Katherine
>Duncan-Jones's  biography and exhibit catalogue, other biographies, and
>so
>on)  but I can't find any reference to it.  As you are working with the
>Penshurst library we thought it just barely possible that you might have
>
>access to some inventory or other source not published, or else have
>some
>better idea than I of where else I might find mention of the Sidney cup
>and
>the circumstances of its gift."
>
>--
>***********************************************************************
>Germaine Warkentin // English (Emeritus)
>VC 205, Victoria College (University of Toronto),
>73 Queen's Park Crescent East, Toronto, Ont. M5S 1K7, CANADA
>[log in to unmask]   (fax number on request)
>***********************************************************************

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