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Elkington & Co., design for a tea and coffee set, 1860. Museum no. AAD/3/1979 Vol.6, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A's Archive of Art and Design holds the working papers of individual artists and designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design. The archives can be consulted by appointment at Blythe House, located near Olympia in West London.

Further information about the Archives

Holdings relating to silver design and production are among the earliest records in the Archive of Art and Design. As well as pattern books, order books and ledgers, there are also designs, sketches, photographs and correspondence documenting the histories of several well known firms and individuals.

Amongst the famous names to be found in the records are Elkington & Company Ltd, who patented their electroplating processes in the 1830s. Designers include Nelson and Edith Dawson, who were both active in the Arts and Crafts movement, and R.E. Stone, who undertook work for the royal yacht Britannia. There are also extensive records from the firm William Comyns and Sons Ltd who held over thirty thousand silverware patterns and created all the coronets for the Queen's coronation.

For more details please consult the Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum by Elizabeth Lomas (London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001), which not only lists the AAD archives, but also identifies related material in the V&A Museum and other institutions. Most of the archives are also listed on the National Art Library catalogue.

  • Edward Barnard & Sons Ltd, manufacturing silversmiths: records, 1805-1957.
    AAD/1979/7, AAD/1988/5
  • William Comyns and Sons Ltd, manufacturing silversmiths: records, 1896-1987.
  • Nelson and Edith Dawson, silversmiths and decorative artists: papers, 1822-1939.
    AAD/1987/7, AAD/1988/8, AAD/1991/9, AAD/1992/4
  • Elkington & Company Ltd, metalwork manufacturer and electroplater, records, 1829-c.1968.
    AAD/1979/3, AAD/1998/6, AAD/2003/4
  • R.E. Stone, silversmith: papers, 1924-83.
    AAD/1994/14, AAD/1998/12

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Archive of Art and Design
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