New Publication: Nicolas Besnier (1686-1754), Architecte, orfèvre du roi, et échevin de la Ville de Paris

Nicolas Besnier (1686-1754) was the son of François Besnier - the Chef du gobelet of the French king - and Henriette Delaunay. His uncle was the goldsmith Nicolas Delaunay and his godfather the sculptor Corneille Van Clève. Nicolas Besnier made the journey to Italy between October 1709 to October 1712 to study Architecture at the Académie de France in Rome. There he won the first prize for architecture at the Académie de Saint-Luc in 1711. Besnier became a Master goldsmith in 1714 and held lodgings in the galleries of the Louvre from 1718. A letter of patent dated 1st September 1723 appointed him goldsmith to the king. He worked for the French court, notably in replacing the king’s ordinary dinner service, and in supplying diplomatic requirements, as well as for a number of important patrons including: the comte de Tarroca, the comte de Pontchartrain, the duchesse de Retz, the duchesse d'Harcourt, the maréchal de Castries, the duc de Bouillon, the duc and duchesse de [Read More]

New Publication: Nicolas Besnier (1686-1754), Architecte, orfèvre du roi, et échevin de la Ville de Paris2024-04-03T18:34:50+01:00

British Silver Caddy Spoons: The Lion Collection.

This new and comprehensive book covers a single major collection of caddy spoons from the 18th century to the present day. Well-illustrated with 1000 colour images,  the privately published work includes a foreword and introductions by John Gibbens, Alastair Dickenson, Simon Moore and Anthony Bernbaum.  If you are interested in a copy, please contact the Society of Caddy Spoon Collectors using their website contact form, or Anthony Bernbaum at  The book is 400 pages long and priced at £55 excluding P&P.

British Silver Caddy Spoons: The Lion Collection.2024-03-28T18:34:20+00:00

New Publication: French Precious Metal Marks from 1789 to the Present Day

Les Poinçons Français des Métaux Précieux de 1789 à ce Jour. Following the interest aroused by the chapter on hallmarks in his book Traditional French Jewellery (2021) Michael Fieggen has continued his research into this field and has now published a complete guide to all 276 French hallmarks used from 1789 to the present day. The book is illustrated with original drawings, each of which has been checked against the actual hallmarks, and in most cases a photograph of the mark is also included. The dates of the introduction of the marks and when they were withdrawn have also been carefully researched: until now such dates as were published were based on the dates of the hallmarking legislation but archival research has revealed that some marks were not used until later or were withdrawn earlier than was believed. The book contains a list of all the assay office marks included within French hallmarks that facilitate identification of the place of origin of both silverware [Read More]

New Publication: French Precious Metal Marks from 1789 to the Present Day2024-02-20T20:27:35+00:00

Winner of the Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing 2023 Announced!

Fourteen entries were received for the annual Silver Society Silversmithing Prize this year, which was judged by the eminent Silversmith Ray Walton and Curator Emma Paragreen. The entries included a broad range of functional and sculptural work of a high calibre from all over the UK. The winner this year was Katie Watson with her outstanding, hand-formed ‘Spring Hare’ sterling silver dish. Katie wins £1000 and ECSG membership. Katie is currently based at Marchmont in the Scottish Borders, where she found inspiration for the piece among the grassy hills and in the abundance of hares running about in the fields. The judges were particularly impressed with the beautiful and detailed chasing, the lovely representation of animals and landscape, the proportions, and the craftsmanship that she demonstrated with her silver and gemstone dish decorated with 24ct Keum Boo foil. They also noted the subtle placement of the hallmarks and applauded her dedication to the process and the development of her technique since winning runnner-up in [Read More]

Winner of the Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing 2023 Announced!2023-11-21T12:53:36+00:00

Book Launch: Antwerp Gold and Silver Marks 1456-1798

(International Event) The DIVA Museum (Antwerp) will be hosting a book launch on Friday 1 December for a new publication by the silver specialist, Anne-Marie Claessens-Peré. The book, Antwerp Gold and Silver Marks 1456-1798 (Antwerpse goud- en zilvermerken 1456-1798) is the first systematic overview of city seals, year marks and master marks used in Antwerp between 1456 and 1798. Published in Dutch by the DIVA museum in cooperation with the non-profit Academy for the History of Goldsmith Art in Belgium, the book contains several firsts such as new identifications and the discovery of Antwerp objects dating from the 16th century in foreign institutions. The book will be on sale in the museum shop from 1 December at €59 The speeches during the book launch will be in Dutch, but most attendees also speak English so English speakers are welcome. Programme: 16.00: Doors open 16.15: Welcome Ann Kaethoven, Director ad interim DIVA 16.20: Speech Marc Meeùs, President Academie voor de Geschiedenis van de Edelsmeedkunst in [Read More]

Book Launch: Antwerp Gold and Silver Marks 1456-17982023-11-02T23:07:19+00:00

The Goldsmiths’ Company Library Catalogue is now online!

The Goldsmiths' Company has recently launched an online library catalogue for The Goldsmiths’ Company Library. The Library’s holdings include many resources on silver and silversmithing from ancient times to the present day, as well as a wide selection of books on hallmarking and jewellery. The catalogue link can be accessed from the Library and Archives page on the Goldsmiths’ Company website For those accessing the newsletter online, please click here to go directly to the catalogue. All researchers are welcome and do not need to be members to visit the Library. It is open Tuesday to Thursday, from 10am to 4.30pm, by appointment. Reader appointments can be made by emailing . The catalogue currently holds around 5,600 records, roughly a third of the Goldsmith Company Library's books and articles, but material is being added to it all the time, so if the book or article you’re looking for isn’t listed, you can check whether the Library holds it it by sending an [Read More]

The Goldsmiths’ Company Library Catalogue is now online!2023-07-25T22:05:28+01:00

The French Silverware in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection – by Peter Fuhring

The collection of 18th- and early-19th-century French silverware acquired by Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian between 1900 and 1950 is the most important of its time and one of the most significant sections of the Gulbenkian Museum’s collection. The collection of over 150 pieces constitutes a unique group due to their diversity and quality; it includes several world-class masterpieces representative of Gulbenkian’s taste. The catalogue is dedicated to a selection of works in silver of different typologies, such as centrepieces, tureens, salt cellars, candelabra and candlesticks, made by renowned silversmiths including François- Thomas Germain, Antoine-Sébastien Durant, Robert-Joseph Auguste and Martin-Guillaume Biennais. Despite this diversity these works all share the characteristics that make this collection unique: quality and authenticity combined with original design, technical expertise and distinguished provenance; former owners include members of the European aristocracy and the Russian imperial family. Most of the works were purchased in Paris but there is an important group of works from the Hermitage collection, acquired following negotiations between Calouste Gulbenkian [Read More]

The French Silverware in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection – by Peter Fuhring2023-06-30T10:48:37+01:00

The Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing 2023

Entries are now closed for The Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing 2023. The competition will be judged by an expert panel and the winner will be announced on Monday 30 October 2023 at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London when they will receive a cash prize of £1,000. The winning piece and a profile of its maker will be included in the 2023 Silver Society Journal.   Image: Scream box by Caiyang Yin, winner of the Silver Society Prize 2022

The Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing 20232023-09-06T07:31:22+01:00

Novel Ideas: A selection of fiction titles on the theme of silver

For anyone wishing to add a little silver-related fiction to their reading list, this post features a running list of suggestions. Do get in touch if you have any recommendations or would like to see your novel featured! Argentum by James Leslie-Melville (The Book Guild, 2023) The Silversmith's Daughter by Annie Murray (Pan, 2019) The Silversmith's Wife by Sophia Tobin (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

Novel Ideas: A selection of fiction titles on the theme of silver2023-03-07T22:13:00+00:00

Silver Studies, the Journal of the Silver Society, No 38 (2022) Out Now!

£35.00 Click here to buy now.   JOHN ANDREW and THERESA NGUYEN The Meadow Centrepiece MARK DENNIS The Doyle Cups: a Biography in Silver ROBIN JACKSON The Silversmithing Work of the German Expressionist Artist Hermann Gross in Scotland LAURENCE JOYCE and WYNYARD WILKISON Alexander Johston, Goldsmith of Dundee and London ELSABETH ALICIA DIKKES The Life of a Silver Spoon: a Curious Piece of Washington Silver ROGER ROSEWELL Silver and Stained Glass JOHN CULME The Duke of Sussex's Wine Cistern: a Mystery Solved REBECCA HARVEY and KIMBERLEY CAMERON "For better, for worse": Louis Osman and Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire, 1968-1980 ANDREW PAUL WOOD History in Silver: What Three Silver Centrepieces from Evolution of New Zealand Taste and Identity. LUKE DELMAS and LUKE SCHRAGER Private Die-Struck Heraldic Flatware 1780-1900 EMILIA FERRARO, SANDRA WILSON and KATHARINA VONES Metalwork in the Andes and Japan: a Comparative Study VANESSA BRETT A Bank Account for Simon Pantin I ADRIAN MALDONADO and SARAH ROTHWELL Experiment, Experience and Enchant: Knowledge Sharing Between Museums [Read More]

Silver Studies, the Journal of the Silver Society, No 38 (2022) Out Now!2023-02-16T15:38:57+00:00


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