Ralph Harvey, High Priest of the Order of Artemis, donates the Dashwood CupThis past weekend, the museum was honored to receive a very generous donation from a long time supporter of the museum, Ralph Harvey. Simon, who has been friends with Ralph and his late wife, Audrey for many years, was delighted when Ralph announced that he would like to donate a very ornate chalice to the museum. The chalice is thought to have belonged to the notorious rake and politician, Francis Dashwood. A photograph of the cup is on display in the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, the location of a private club that Dashwood established around 1775. 'Dashwood, the most profane of that blasphemous crew, acted as a sort of high priest, and used a communion cup to pour out libations to heathen deities'. The cup was bought by Ralph from an antique dealer in 1980 as a Silver Wedding anniversary present for his wife. It was consequently used by his coven for more than thirty years. The cup is an 18th century replica of a silver Kantharos, found in an excavation at Pompeii. Should anyone have any further information on these Kantharos cups, please let us know.
The cup will be on show soon in the Modern Witchcraft gallery at the museum.