Whitechapel Cup Bells

 
 
 

These are not antiques, but I thought people might like to see pictures of them. Cup bells hail back to the Middle Ages and are often used by Early Music ensembles today.  They come with or without leather handles and small handguards.  No ornamentation is on either, but the bell designation is on the handle and Whitechapel Bell Foundry is stamped inside the handle.  The castings are thicker and heavier then regular handbells.  The outside of the bell is polished to a smooth, brilliant sheen (like a modern bell) but the insides are unfinished.  They do not have clappers and are either suspended on a rack or held and played with mallets.  The fundamental is very strong and overtones are not tuned, which is normal because of the shape of the bell.  This gives them a lovely, distinct tone that provides a nice contrast when used with regular handbells.  The lower the note, the larger the diameter and length of the bell.  Big ones look almost like coffee mugs minus the handles!  They are available in 4 full chromatic octaves.