Dutch silver cups and silver rimmonim
In June 2009 the Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert Galleries at the V&A were opened to the public. To celebrate the opening Lady Marjorie Gilbert, Arthur Gilbert's second wife, donated these important examples of Dutch silver to the V&A. Sir Arthur Gilbert (1913–2001) and his first wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996. The cups and rimmonim now given to the V&A were acquired by Arthur and Marjorie Gilbert in more recent years.
The Gilbert Collection is now on long-term loan to the V&A. In four elegant, day-lit galleries masterpieces from the collection are displayed. Two rooms are dedicated to silver from the Gilbert Collection. The pair of Dordrecht cups and covers is on display alongside these pieces. They bear the marks of the anonymous Master of the Heart and are among the rare examples of 16th-century Dutch silver.
Rimmonim are used to ornament the staves of the Torah. This fine pair belonged to the Sassoon family and was shown at the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition in London in 1887. They are currently part of a display of Gilbert Judaica in the V&A Sacred Silver Galleries.
Lady Gilbert's gift of a pair of secular as well as a pair of religious silver is both timely and appropriate. The rimmonim remind us of Arthur Gilbert's background as son of a family of Jewish immigrants from Poland. The quality of the pieces speaks of his passion for extraordinary craftsmanship and design.
Both presented by Lady Marjorie Gilbert through the American Friends of The Art Fund