Venus Rosewater Dish

Venus Rosewater Dish

(By Gary M. Prior -- Getty Images)

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Awarded to the ladies' singles champion

at Wimbledon since 1886

Size:18 3/4 inches in diameter.

History: This sterling silver trophy with gilded trim was made in 1864 by Messrs. Elkington and Co. Ltd. of Birmingham. It is a copy of an electrotype made by artist Caspar Enderlein, which was a copy of a pewter original from the 1500s that resides in the Louvre. And yes, the "Venus" part was there long before Ms. Williams won it four times.

Does the winner keep it? No, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum does. Winners receive an eight-inch replica and prize money (roughly $1.4 million in 2007).

Why it's cool:1. It's usually presented by a real duke and duchess (of Kent, to be specific). 2. The decoration theme is not tennis or sport but mythology. In the middle is Temperance, the spirit of moderation. Around the rim is the goddess Minerva with symbols for the liberal arts: astrology, geometry, arithmetic, music, rhetoric, dialectic and grammar. That makes it so much more erudite than, say, a silver football.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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