It is likely that these bowls originate from the fourth vessel to carry the name, a Cruiser of 1888, sold from the service in 1920. Like her forebears before her, she was undistinguished in action and therefore had no commemorative mess service to use aboard, these bowls may have been produced to create some "unofficial" tableware.
H.M.S. Medusa was one of the five "Medea" class protected cruisers ordered for the Royal Navy in 1886 and designed by Sir William White. Each displaced 2,800 tons, measured 278 feet in length with a 41 foot beam, and carried a main armament of 6-6in. guns. Medusa and her sister Medea were fitted with vertical rather than horizontal engines to give a maximum speed of 16 knots but this variation was judged disappointing when the remaining sisters proved capable of 20 knots. Medusa herself was built at Chatham, launched in August 1888 and finally completed in 1895 by which time her design was nearing obsolesence. Perhaps due to this, she spent her entire service life in non-operational rôles until sold for scrap in 1920.