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Discover a rare and beautiful object made by one of Scotland’s most significant female artists.

Pysche Chalice fact file



Made by

Phoebe Anna Traquair and JM Talbot


Height 348mm

Museum reference


On display

Design for Living, Level 5, National Museum of Scotland

Did you know?

Pāua shells are native to New Zealand and are often used in Maori art.

Paua shell cup by Phoebe Traquair

This unusual decorative piece was created in 1906 using a pāua shell. It is decorated with exquisite enamelled plaquettes by the Edinburgh artist Phoebe Traquair (1852-1936), showing scenes from the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche.

Detail of the paua shell cup

The silver and moonstone stand was designed by Phoebe Traquair’s son, the architect Ramsay Traquair, and was made by the Edinburgh silversmith JM Talbot.

Phoebe Traquair kept this cup on its stand along with another very similar one, dating from 1918-19. Both passed down within her family and were acquired, with many other items, directly from her grandchildren in 1989.

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