The Merrythought cup probably developed as a refined form of a rural cup type normally made of wood. The shape features several peculiarities. It is the first Attic cup shape that lacks a distinctive break between lip and vessel body. The handles are especially striking. Rather than forming a semi-circle, as is the case in virtual all other cup shapes, they are bent upwards and terminate in a lug-like shape. Equally unusually, the handles extend beyond the height of the vessel body. The cups, mostly covered in black slip, occasionally feature thin stripes of red paint on the foot or the interior. This resembles East Greek and other Attic decorative styles. The vase body is nearly hemispherical. The first Attic artist to decorate Merrythought cups in the black-figure style was the C Painter.