Silverware design themes

The human body

The human figure was a popular source of inspiration for silverware, and silversmiths explored a great range of different body types to adorn various objects.

Looking good

Silver has always been used to impress, whether at home or in public displays of wealth or power. How people used it in order to look good varied greatly.

Feeling fine

Silver has always been used in the pursuit of good health. Silversmiths made containers for medicine, amulets to ward off evil spirits and mounts for cups carved from materials simply believed to make you feel good.

Tea, coffee & chocolate

The arrival of non-alcoholic hot drinks in England sparked major changes in the way people socialised. A whole series of intricate ceremonies sprang up around the drinking of tea, coffee and chocolate, with accessories to match.

Fun & games

Not all silver objects were for serious purposes. Silver could be used just as effectively to reflect sporting success, challenge others at drinking games or to make toys for children.

Wildlife

Nature has always been a great source of inspiration for designers. Animal depictions in silver range from mortally wounded horses falling in dramatic battle scenes to novelty drinking cups in the shape of birds, bears and cows.

The Wolsey Angels Appeal

We urgently need your help to raise the £5,000,000 it will cost for the V&A to acquire four Renaissance angels cast for the tomb of Cardinal Wolsey and later in the possession of Henry VIII.

Help us buy The Wolsey Angels

Shop online

Valentino: Themes and Variations (Hardcover)

Valentino: Themes and Variations (Hardcover)

The name Valentino has been synonymous with high fashion for almost fifty years. Based in Rome, Valentino is the only couture house recognised by the …

Buy now

Event - Scandinavian Art and Design: 1850 - 1950

Tue 23 September 2014 10:30

8 WEEK COURSE: Discover some of the highlights of a period during which painters, sculptors and designers in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland achieved a leading place in European art.

Book online