Beaker (Humpen [Willkomm])
  • Beaker (Humpen [Willkomm])
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Probably Bohemia, Czech Republic
  • Date: 1609
  • Medium: Glass, enamel and gold, with enamelled, gilded, applied and tooled decoration
  • Height: 28.3 cm
  • Diameter: 14.2 cm
  • Inv: C563
  • Location: Sixteenth Century Gallery
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Further Reading
  • This type of enamelled drinking glass, known as a Humpen, was a popular vessel in Bohemia and Germany for use at festive gatherings. The Humpen was one of the most abundantly produced types of enamelled glass in seventeenth-century Bohemia and Germany. They were at their most popular from the 1570s until well into the seventeenth century and many have survived. Many originally had covers, but these have often been lost or broken.

    Drinking scenes were a popular subject for enamellers of German and Bohemian glass due to the tradition of welcoming guests by presenting them with a capacious drinking cup or tankard. This beaker is a Willkomm, a category of Humpen specifically intended to be used for welcoming guests. Inscriptions on Willkomm beakers describing their function as welcoming glasses are not uncommon. The inscription in block capitals encircling this example means, ‘I am called a good welcome and very frolicsome so’. Beer or wine would have been drunk from the glass. In 1688 a French traveller recorded that in Germany, ‘Every Draught must be a Health, and as soon as you have emptied your glass, you must present it full to him whose Health you drank.’ This custom is reflected in another inscription on this glass, which translates, ‘Raise me up, drink me up, set me down, fill me again and bring me a good brother again’.