The Elkington Chalice and Jug are based on the Ardagh Chalice, Ireland's greatest
archaeological treasure. It was made in the 9th Century, somewhere in the British Isles, in a style known as Hiberno-Saxon, when Celtic and Anglo-Saxon art forms combined. It is a 7 inch high
silver, gold, and enamel Christian chalice, profusely decorated with intricate Celtic style
motifs. Until its discovery in 1868, buried in a field near Ardagh in Ireland, the existence of
such virtuoso metal work had been forgotten for centuries.|
The raised bosses and Celtic interlaced bands on the Elkington pieces are adapted from the Ardagh Chalice. The shape of the foot and stem of the Elkington Chalice are taken from the Ardagh Chalice, and the triangular decorative mount at the base of the Jug's handle is also derived from the Ardagh Chalice.
Christopher Dresser's penchant for utilising recent archaeological discoveries, his knowledge of Celtic designs, and his innovative synthesis of new forms based on past originals, were unique in his time. It is hard to identify another designer working for Elkington in the 1870's with the knowledge or ability to improvise on the Ardagh Chalice, and design these items.