News and Events

Due to the unprecedented Coronavirus situation, all exhibitions and events are likely to be cancelled or postponed. Please check with the relevant website to find out the latest situation.


Silver Society Zoom Lectures 


Presented on 31 August 2020 

Dr Dora Thornton, Curator of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths: Wine Cups for the Goldsmiths’ Company: Contemporary Commissions 1957-2020


Dora Thornton tells the story of the Goldsmiths’ Company wine cups made for new members of the Court of Assistants, their makers and the patrons, from 1957 to the very latest commissions, completed within the last few months.  The cups offer a unique insight into the relationships between patrons and makers. Please click on this link to view.

The Goldsmiths’ Company’s pioneering support for contemporary makers through its commissioning policy has helped to enhance the vitality of design and craftsmanship in silver, jewellery and art medals and continues to do so. The contemporary British silver in the Collection, made by leading artist-makers, is outstanding in its range and quality.

The Court Cups, a special type of commission made by members of the Goldsmiths’ Company, offer unique insight into how relationships between patrons and makers work.The concept of a personal cup, both for use and as a status symbol, goes back thousands of years in human history, with the simple beaker as one of the earliest forms of personal drinking cup. The story of the Company’s Court Cups is much more recent, going back only sixty years, but it offers a key to the development of the craft during that period. The cups document shifts in taste, design and specialist skills, as well as charting collaborations in the production of a particular cup. The aim is to involve members of the Court in commissioning a contemporary piece of silver designed for their own use and to give them the experience of working with studio-craftsmen, so that when dining with guests they become natural ambassadors for the craft.



Presented on 11 August 2020

Gordon Hamme, Linda Barnes and Fred Rich: Phil Barnes, A Craftsman’s Journey

Gordon Hamme and Linda Barnes talk about their recent book ‘Phil Barnes, A Craftsman’s Journey’, the life and work of the world class enameller Phil Barnes, together with the award-winning enameller Fred Rich.  Please click on this link to view.

To see a sample of Phil Barnes: a Craftsman’s Journey please click on this link: 

and to buy a copy of the book please click on this link:



Presented on 20 July 2020

Alice Minter: Harache, Margas and Pantin: Three families of celebrated Huguenot goldsmiths and their French origins

Alice Minter, Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert Curator at the V&A, London explores the origins of three families whose descendants went on to have a significant impact on the history and design of British silver from the late seventeenth century onwards. Please click on this link to view.



Presented on 28 June 2020

Gareth Harris: Gold, Moss and Bananas

What do these three have in common?  They all created major challenges to the silversmith Gareth Harris of Smith and Harris.  In an intriguing talk he describes the challenges of working in gold as opposed to silver and explain why gold demands different working and why it is that cost is not the only reason that gold is so rarely used to make large-scale pieces.  He discusses the extraordinary difficulties posed by objects such as the life-sized gold sculpture ‘Siren’ (2008) made for the sculptor Marc Quinn of Kate Moss from 50 kilos of 18 carat gold. Please click on this link to view.


Presented on 10 June 2020

Timothy Schroder: Sumptuous Summits: the meetings of Henry VIII and Francis I

Five hundred years ago, in June 1520, Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met at the Field of Cloth of Gold. To commemorate this and to mark the publication of his book on Henry VIII’s gold and silver, A Marvel to Behold, Timothy Schroder discussed the astonishing richness of the meetings between the two kings and the evidence of the lavish plate used and displayed at them, as well as the gifts exchanged.  Please click on this link to view.

To buy a copy of Timothy Schroder’s book, ‘A Marvel to Behold’: Gold and Silver at the Court of Henry VIII please click on this link:




2 May – Early October, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Precious Little Gems

New works in silver commissioned by Sheffield Assay Office and designed and made by Abigail Asher, Helena Russell and Holly Clifford, participants of the Starter Studio Programme for Designer Silversmiths and Jewellers at Yorkshire Artspace.


4 June to 6 September, The Holbourne Museum, Bath.  Admission charges may apply
Precious and Rare: Islamic Metalwork from The Courtauld Collection

The significant collection is comprised of Islamic metalwork ranging in date from the 13th to 16th centuries.  It was formed by one of the great Victorian art collectors, Thomas Gambier Parry (1816-1888).  Many of the best pieces in the collection have been on permanent display in The Courtauld Gallery since their bequest in 1966.  But the metalwork has rarely left London and never has such a large group of metalwork been brought together to be shown outside the capital.


Until 31 October, Victoria and Albert Museum, Room 116, The Belinda Gentle Gallery
Asante Goldweights display

This small display shows copper-alloy weights formerly used in the gold trade in Asante communities in what is now Ghana, West Africa as well as several gold and silver items from the Asante court regalia.

In February 1874 British forces launched a ‘punitive raid’ on the Asante state capital, Kumasi.  The royal regalia was plundered stripping Asante rulers of their symbols of government and authority to govern.  The gold regalia was sold at auction and the V&A purchased 13 items.  Other parts of the regalia entered the Royal Collection and British Museum and electrotype reproductions were circulated among British art schools.


Until 10 January 2021
Concealed Histories: Uncovering the story of Nazi looting

The display is the first of its kind by a UK museum – uncovers eight stories of Jewish collectors and their families under the Nazis.  It forms part of the V&A’s commitment to proactive research into the provenance of the items in its care.




From February 2020
Society of Antiquaries

The Society of Antiquaries have now opened up their Ordinary Meetings/Evening Lectures to non-fellows.  20 places are available at each event at only £5 including refreshments.

For bookings and details please see which also gives details of one-off conferences.

Overseas Events


New books


“Phil Barnes, Master Engraver & Enameller – A Craftsman’s Journey” by Linda Barnes & Gordon Hamme
Festival of Silver. ISBN 978-1-8380282-0-6 Cost £30 + £3.80 p&p (UK)

The book describes Phil’s apprenticeship with his father and his working career with 110 full colour images of Phil's finest pieces and jewellery by Ingo Henn, Leo de Vroomen and Elizabeth Gage. Please please follow this link for more details

‘’’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 a special offer price of £29.25 or $52 until 30 June 2020. After June the normal retail price will be £45 or $80.


“Danish Silver Past and Present: A Danish Private Collection” by Niels Arthur Andersen.  ISBN 978-87-90975-31-9.  Publisher contact  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 and
a 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

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.

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 how
the Company adapted to changing circumstances to maintain relevance in the modern era. Granted a royal charter by Charles
I 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 back
to the late 12th century. The Company was involved in civic government and several of its members were elected as
Lord Mayor of Dublin. Perhaps its greatest achievement was, through the Assay Office, guaranteeing the purity and probity
of Dublin gold and silver, which is still highly regarded today. Douglas Bennett is a former Master & Clerk of the Company
of 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 it
is 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.

“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 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 

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

David Constable’s new 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: 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 Dr Alison Fitzgerald
Published by Routledge and costs £95 from Hodges Figgis in Dublin or on

Silversmithing Prize

The Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing

Awarded to a young silversmith under thirty
Many congratulations to the 2019 winner, Samuel Waterhouse. The award was made at Goldsmiths North, Sheffield, which was hosted in the magnificent setting of Cutlers’ Hall. Sam’s award was for a patterned vessel in fine silver (999) and Keum-boo. A full article about the award is in the 2019 edition of our journal Silver Studies.

Silver Menu Holders

A comprehensive article on Silver Menu Holders by Professor Salter


Press Release


House of Barnard   by John P. Fallon

Boudoir Labels 1753-1965   by John Salter

Bertrand’s Toyshop in Bath: Luxury Retailing 1685-1765 by Vanessa Brett

Art in Industry – the silver of Paul Storr by Christopher Hartop

Designer British Silver – from studios established 1930 – 1985 by John Andrew & Derek Styles