In the Collection

Fox Stirrup Cups


Stirrup cups are a hallowed tradition — and a favorite with riders who participate in foxhunting. These silver receptacles, usually in the form of a fox, stag, dog, or horse’s head, are filled with port or sherry and traditionally presented to mounted foxhunters as they wait to set off. This tradition started in the18th and 19th centuries, though the origins go much farther back; Chaucer writes about “parting cups” presented to 14th-century travelers as they set out on pilgrimages to Canterbury. The 19th century American poet Sidney Lanier wrote a 1877 poem The Stirrup Cup. His parting stanza:

“Time, let not a drop be spilt: Hand me the cup whene’er thou wilt; ‘Tis thy rich stirrup-cup to me; I’ll drink it down right smilingly.”