New books

‘’Studies in Irish Georgian Silver” by Alison Fitzgerald, editor
208pp; Full colour; Large format; Hardback. (Retail: €50.00)
www.fourcourtspress.ie • +353 1 453 4668

Irish silver, for long renowned among collectors and connoisseurs, is increasingly being considered as an aspect of the material world of the past. Its making, acquisition and use tells much about past attitudes and behaviour. At the same time, careful examination of surviving articles not only adds to appreciation of the design and craftsmanship but also to Ireland’s participation in international fashions.This volume, with new research by established and emerging scholars from Ireland and the UK, advances the study across a broad range of themes.The contributions examine the circumstances in which silver objects were made, sold, valued and dispersed in Georgian Ireland. It considers specialized branches of the trade including the production of freedom boxes and jewellery, the sourcing of metals and materials, the value of inventories as evidence and regional patterns and preferences. This book builds on recent literature on the history of silver, second-hand markets, guilds and luxury goods, to recover and reconsider Ireland’s silversmithing.

Alison FitzGerald is Associate Professor in History at Maynooth University. She has published widely on the history of Irish silver, including a monograph, Silver in Georgian Dublin: making, selling, consuming (London, 2016), and an essay in the catalogue Ireland: crossroads of art and design, 1690–1840 (New Haven, 2015).

Pre-publication offer: €45.00 including free postage & packaging

‘’A Marvel to Behold’: Gold and Silver at the Court of Henry VIII”  by Timothy Schroder 
Boydell Press. ISBN 978 1 78744 849 0. 400 pages; 124 colour illustrations.

By the time of his death, Henry VIII had amassed one of the most spectacular collections of gold and silver of any British monarch. But nearly all of these holdings were destroyed over the following century, and no more than a handful have survived to modern times. This book makes use of the wealth of surviving documentation to explore this lost collection and the light it sheds on the monarchy. For full details please follow this link

This scholarly and lavishly illustrated book is available at £45 or $80. But please consult the publisher’s website for special offers.

“Danish Silver Past and Present: A Danish Private Collection” by Niels Arthur Andersen.  ISBN 978-87-90975-31-9.  Publisher contact adh.vhs@gmail.com.  640 pages divided into two volumes covered with beautiful photographs of all 400 objects and delivered in a hard cassette.  £80 plus postage.

The book covers an essential part of Niels Arthur Andersen’s private silver collection with particular emphasis on the provenance of each object.  A group of four Danish scientists have written about each of their areas of expertise in silver.  All articles have been translated into English.

Making Form: Contemporary British Fine Metalwork” by Kenneth Quickenden and Lee Hewett. Birmingham City University. £5 e-book.

This publication critically explores the revival of British fine metalwork by designer-makers since roughly the 1970s. It demonstrates many strengths: the increase in that period in the number of practitioners, the creative use of a wider range of metals, the supplementing of traditional techniques with newer ones, design innovation and a wide range of products, with much emphasis on art objects; all of that, taken together, has transformed the craft. This success has been underpinned by a number of supports: government initiatives, assay offices, livery companies, professional associations, exhibitions and education, though there are increasing concerns about the availability of funding for craft teaching. That, and pressures created by periods of economic difficulty, offer challenges to a craft which is expensive, and raise anxieties about the future. But over the period covered by the book, Britain has re-established fine metalwork and has earned itself a strong international reputation.

The book is substantial, scholarly and attractive. It contains roughly 70,000 words, including over 900 footnotes. Apart from eight chapters, there is a bibliography anda glossary. There are 230 still and moving images.

The book will appear on-line in October 2019 on iBooks (an Apple platform designed to work on iPads). A downloadable version for other platforms (Android/Windows) will be available at a later date from a dedicated website.

Australian Gold and silversmiths Marks” by Jolyon Warwick James.  Hardback, 297 x 210 mm, 88 pages, ISBN 978-0-646-99639-4.  £45 (Silver Society members £ 35), Air Mail postage ex Australia £25.  Available from jolyonwjames@gmail.com

From the records of the Sydney Hall Mark Co and the Commonwealth of Australia Hall Mark Co, 1923 to 1928.

It is not widely known that Australia had a hallmarking system. Reference is briefly made in J.P. de Castro’s work: The Law and practice of Hallmarking Gold and Silver wares and in a few specialised texts on Australian jewellery. Now published, for the first time, is the archival material giving the background to the operations and workings, of Australia’s short-lived hallmarking system, and the marks used by the gold and silversmiths.

The archive consists of 43 registration forms, some loose correspondence, and 20 silver plates on which are stamped the maker’s marks.
The correspondence is very illuminating. It includes a formal letter to the Commonwealth statistician outlining the Company’s background, formation, name change and marking system. A lengthy letter from the deputy Assay Master details operations and there is also the highly informative three-page annual report of 1924.

This fully indexed and illustrated publication includes an introductory essay on the life and times of silver and gold marking in Australia – as well as discussing the reasons for its demise. The Company ceased operating in 1940.

There has been an overall attempt to reproduce as much of the archival material as possible in its original size. The mood of the original ledger and its contents has been retained.

“Georg Jensen: Scandinavian Design for Living”.  Alison Fisher (ed.).  Yale University Press, 2018.  £40.  ISBN 978-0300232998.

A beautifully illustrated look at how Georg Jensen pushed the boundaries of modern domestic design.  In 1904 Danish silversmith Georg Jensen (1866-1935) founded one of the world’s most celebrated design companies.

“The Museum and the Factory; The V&A, Elkington and the Electrical Revolution” by Alistair Grant and Angus Patterson. ISBN 9781848222915, 160pp, hardback, £30.00

The book reveals a great untold story of enterprise and innovation based on the relationship between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Elkington & Co. Elkington played a crucial role in shaping and building the V&A’s permanent collection from its foundations in 1852 until the First World War . The great success of their relationship cemented both the museum’s status as a leading cultural institution and the Elkington & Co makers’ mark as one of the world’s first truly multinational designer brands.

“The Goldsmiths of Dublin, Six Centuries of Achievement” by Douglas Bennett. ISBN 9780950548869, 106pp, full colour, hardback, €25.00 available from Four Courts Press, 7 Malpas Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. info@fourcourtspress.ie

The history of Dublin’s goldsmiths is described in this important book, which charts the history of the Dublin Company of Goldsmiths from the Middle Ages to the present. It demonstrates the close link between the guild and the city and shows howthe Company adapted to changing circumstances to maintain relevance in the modern era. Granted a royal charter by CharlesI in 1637, the Company is the only survivor of the Dublin trade guilds. It has however a much longer and earlier history as the Goldsmiths’ guild took part in the late 15th century Corpus Christi pageant and goldsmiths are recorded in Dublin backto the late 12th century. The Company was involved in civic government and several of its members were elected asLord Mayor of Dublin. Perhaps its greatest achievement was, through the Assay Office, guaranteeing the purity and probityof Dublin gold and silver, which is still highly regarded today. Douglas Bennett is a former Master & Clerk of the Companyof Goldsmiths.

“Bradbury’s Book of Hallmarks” (ed.) Sheffield Assay Office. ISBN 9781872212098. 36th Edition.

£25.00 for the special edition and £15.00 for the standard edition (plus £3.00 postage and packing per book). Discounts are available on orders over 100 copies. A donation from the sale of each book will go to Mary Parsons Charity for retired silversmiths.

This new edition marks the 245th anniversary of the Sheffield Assay Office. This unique little pocket-sized reference book is of great value, providing you with the marks of origin on English, Scottish and Irish silver, gold, platinum and palladium, and on foreign imported silver and gold plate. There are updates on the amendments to the Hallmarking Act 1973. It also includes details of further marks that appear on precious metals until 2023.

To obtain a copy, please ring 01142 318152, Click to Email, or write to the Editor and Publisher, Sheffield Assay Office, Guardians’ Hall, Beulah Road, Hillsborough, S6 2AN.

“Stuart Devlin: Designer Goldsmith Silversmith”, edited by Carole Devlin and Victoria Kate Simkin, ISBN 9781851498727, Hardback Publisher ACC Art Books, Pages: 528, £75.00

Stuart Devlin was a pioneer goldsmith who rejected the anonymity of corporate design during the 1960s.

He adapted old techniques and devised many new ones. His commissions include those for the Royal Households, cathedrals, the armed forces, sport and universities, as well as abundant private commissions. He is also a coin and medal designer. Australian born, recognition came to Devlin after designing the Australian decimal coinage in 1963. He has since designed coins for more than 30 countries. Also shown are numerous sketches and working drawings and many collectors will recognise pieces that they originally commissioned or have bought. Although it has been impossible to encompass everything ever designed or produced by Devlin, the book highlights how remarkable itis that this wealth of ideas was conceived by just one man.

“Laurent Amiot. Canadian Master Silversmith” by René Villeneuve in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the making of silver objects was a major creative practice. Among the silversmiths working during the period Laurent Amiot is notable for his reputation in the field and the scale of his production.

 This book accompanies the exhibition that starts in May.
http://www.figure1publishing.com/book/laurent-amiot/

“Artists spoons & related table cutlery, A British History of Arts & Crafts Flatware” by Simon Moore

This long awaited opus is now available. It includes newly researched information and beautiful illustrations. The book portrays the not so humble spoon and how it was affected by this amazing era of new taste, artistry and elegance.

Available from www.fastprint.net/bookshop at £60 (£50 to Silver Society members)

“Silver for Entertaining: the Ickworth Collection” by James Rothwell
One of the most important collections of eighteenth-century silver in Europe is to be found at Ickworth House in Suffolk. James Rothwell, the National Trust’s adviser on silver, has undertaken a comprehensive study of the collection and the results are published this lavishly illustrated book. For full details and to order please go to www.ibtauris.com 

“Silver for Entertaining: the Ickworth Collection” by James Rothwell

One of the most important collections of eighteenth-century silver in Europe is to be found at Ickworth House in Suffolk. James Rothwell, the National Trust’s adviser on silver, has undertaken a comprehensive study of the collection and the results are published this lavishly illustrated book. For full details and to order please go to www.ibtauris.com 

“English Silver before the Civil War – The David Little Collection” by Timothy Schroder

“A fascinating new book that uses one man’s collection to examine the social history of domestic silver from the Tudor and Early Stuart eras” Roland Arkell, Antiques Trade Gazette
For full details and to order please go to www.johnadamsonbooks.com 

David Constable’s book “Silver Spoons of Britain 1200 – 1710″ was launched in September 2016

It is the history of the silver spoons of England, Scotland and Ireland chronologically by type from 1200 to 1710. There are approximately 2,260 images and 145,000 words, creating a complete reference of early spoons and their makers. Please visit David’s website to order it: www.silverspoonsofgreatbritain.com There is also a special deal on his first book “The Benson Collection of Early English Spoons”.

“Silver in Georgian Dublin: Making, Selling, Consuming” by Alison Fitzgerald

Published by Routledge and costs £95 from Hodges Figgis in Dublin or on Amazon.com