The Rothschild Orpheus cup beats estimate by 25%

The Rothschild Orpheus cup has sold for £1m ($1.3m) at Sotheby's.

The spectacular piece headlined the Treasures auction in London on July 6, beating an estimate of £800,000 ($1m) by 25%.

Rothschild Orpheus bowl
The bowl belonged to a member of the Rothschild family

It features elaborate decorations from Greek mythology, with a gold figure of Atlas holding a bowl showing scenes from the Orpheus story and Ovid's Metamorphosis.

It's made from painted enamel, with details picked out with gold and rubies, and dates to circa 1600.

The cup is named for its first recorded owner, the banker and politician Baron Lionel de Rothschild.

It was first attributed to Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, although research appears to suggest otherwise.

It's now believed to originate from the town of Augsburg, Germany; a centre for the production of craftwork during the renaissance.

The maker is unknown.

Sotheby's comments: "The Rothschild Orpheus Cup is a seminal example of a Schatzkammer treasure which was admired for its virtuosic craftsmanship as well as its instructive meaning."

Other top lots in the sale included an enamel and ormolu singing carriage clock (dating to circa 1785) which made £1m ($1.3m).

Novelty clocks became popular in China during the 1700s.

Clockmaker Robert Philp designed the mechanism for the piece in London, while the case was assembled in China.

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