Silver Service is Made for the Table at The Harley Gallery
Categories: Exhibitions , Courses & Workshops

Silver Service is Made for the Table at The Harley Gallery
4 November 2017 - 7 January 2018

‘Made for the Table' is a glittering new exhibition of contemporary silver from the world-renowned Goldsmiths' Company Silver Collection, showing at The Harley Gallery on the ducal Welbeck estate on the Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire border from 4 November 2017 to 7 January 2018.

A table is laid ready for a dinner party, beautifully presented with lustrous silver, fine ceramics and colourful glass. Visitors are invited into the exhibition dining room to see works from leading contemporary makers such as Michael Lloyd, Malcolm Appleby, Jane Short, Angela Cork and Adi Toch, who draw on traditional techniques to craft extraordinary contemporary tableware.

This modern table setting is introduced by pieces from the Goldsmiths' Company's collection, one of the largest of its kind in the UK, with pieces dating from 1350 to the present day.

Lisa Gee, Director at The Harley Gallery, explained: "We often associate historic silverware with decadent aristocratic dining, but across the centuries silverware has been used in everyday life. Silver is still a great way to dress your table to add to the theatre of hospitality, and it's also very practical."

Historically, silver utensils would be used as they did not taint food; they heated up quickly and were easily cleaned.

"This exhibition draws from the grand tradition of silver tableware and shows how silversmiths working today fuse traditional techniques with contemporary design," she added. "It's exciting to see how we can all enjoy using silver objects in our own home; whether a beautiful salt cellar you enjoy every day or special silver cutlery for your Christmas table."

The exhibition examines the inspirations behind a selection of pieces as well as the techniques and tools used by silversmiths. A modern cutlery set by Rebecca de Quin, commissioned this year, has been made using the same hand-forging technique as the antique examples on display dating from 1627. De Quin also explains her process in a technical film accompanying the silver.

From serving dishes to cutlery and sculptural bread baskets to wine coasters, Made for the Table demonstrates both continuity and a break with tradition. As much as there have been changes in taste and style, domestic silver is shown to be a continuing source of inspiration.

Demonstrating the evolution of style in tableware and the decorative arts more broadly, the exhibition, featuring over 70 pieces, explores how contemporary silversmiths are still inspired to make precious handmade objects for the table.

Georgia Powell, Assistant Curator of the Goldsmiths' Company, states: "Made for the Table is truly a celebration of techniques, inspiration, and exquisite craftsmanship. It reflects the Goldsmiths' Company's unique and continued patronage of domestic pieces made to be used and enjoyed. By drawing comparisons between historic and contemporary pieces, the exhibition helps contextualise the outstanding work of makers working in Britain today."

The Goldsmiths' Company, one of the major City Livery Companies, received its first Royal Charter in 1327. Today the purpose of the Goldsmiths' Company is to contribute to British national life by supporting its related crafts, industry and trade and through wider charitable and educational activity. The Company is the principal patron of UK contemporary jewellers and silversmiths, continuing to play an important role in support of the craft by funding apprenticeships, assisting with the technical training of aspiring designer-makers, and commissioning new work.