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Post War Winners: 60 Years of British Silver

Post War Winners: 60 Years of British Silver

Exhibition preview

POST WAR Winners: 60 Years of British Silver, the summer selling exhibition at The London Silver Vaults in Chancery Lane, will focus on the achievements of leading British designer silversmiths of the past 60 years.

Gerald Benney, Stuart Devlin, Christopher Lawrence and Robert Welch are among the names to be feted in this opportunity to view and buy these artists’ works created during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, many of whom are represented in the Royal Collection.

Since the early 1950s, the tradition of British silver making has lain in the hands of skilled designer silversmiths. From the Victorian age until then, most silver was manufactured by long-established firms and the actual designer was not often credited.

The reduction in output of domestic silver brought about by the social changes of the Second World War led to a rise in individual silver craftsmen setting up their own studios and workshops.

Their output was relatively limited, although some of them crossed in to the world of industry by designing for manufacturers of stainless steel (Devlin designed for Viners; Robert Welch for Old Hall); some, such as David Mellor, became manufacturers themselves. Many of the silversmiths to be featured continue their work today.

Post War Winners: 60 Years of British Silver

The silversmiths took inspiration from changing aesthetics in sculpture, abstract art, modernist architecture and design. New geometric forms were balanced by abstract impressionistic textural surfaces. Lacquering skills were re-developed to bring colour and contrast. A range of additional materials and decorative techniques were explored and incorporated, often from other cultures, to enhance the silver.

Mid-twentieth century silver is a rapidly growing collecting area, as this period is in many areas of design. A good selection of well-priced pieces is readily found at the Vaults, alongside many more important commissioned and one-off works.

The selling exhibition at the London Silver Vaults will draw examples of post war silver for sale from the 30 shops located here. Pieces from leading retailers, such as Asprey and Garrard, are included, also jewellery, and commemorative gift items created with the special 2012 Jubilee hallmark celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Vaults’ 30 shops are situated at the corner of Chancery Lane, WC2 and Southampton Buildings (nearest Tube Chancery Lane).

Dates: May 28 to September 29, 2012.

Times: Daily from 9am to 5.30pm, Saturday 9am until 1pm.

For more information call 020 7242 3844 or visit www.thesilvervaults.com.