The arms of those of Burckhardt. Although the family are recorded in four other cantons, Argovie, Berne, Schaffhausen and Zurich, it is probable that these arms are for the Basel branch. The Burckhardt family was prominent in the city's administration in the 16th and 17th century. It is possible that this cup was owned by Daniel Burckhardt whose arms appear with those of his father-in-law, Andreas Ryff (1550-1603), on a stained glass panel attributed to Jacob Plepp of Basel dated 1595 (on loan to the Basel Historical museum, inv. no. 1991.257).
Andreas Ryff himself ordered a magnificant cup from the Basel goldsmith, Peterhans I Segeser with funds supplied by the cities of Basel, Schaffhausen, Berne, St Gallen and Zurich which appears to have been delivered, following his death in 1603, to his son Theobald Ryff (1582-1629), whom had married Gertrude Burckhardt in the previous year. The Ryff Cup subsequently passed into the collections of Prince Saltykoff in Paris and then Baron Anselm von Rothschild in Vienna. It was sold at Christie's London, 8 July 1999, lot 130 as part of the collection of the Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild and is now in the collection of Basel Historical Museum.
Hans Herr (1553-1628), became a master of the Goldsmiths' Guild in 1578. A similar cup by him is illustrated in R. L. Wyss, Handwerkskunst in Gold und Silber, Das Silbergischirr der bernischen Zünfte, Gesellschaften und burgerlichen Vereinigungen, Bern, 1996, no. 100, p. 173. A silver-gilt beaker from the Sydney J. Lamon collection, sold Christie's, London, 28 November 1973, lot 71, unmarked, then descibed as German, was engraved with similar putti. Its pomegranate feet were also similar to the pomegranate finial of the present cup.
We are grateful to Dr. Ulrich Barth for confiming the identity of the maker.