Exhibition - Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars
Treasures of the Royal Courts: Contemporary Commission
The 'Union' Centrepiece by Miriam Hanid (right) is a contemporary response to the Dolphin Basin (below-right) made in 1635 by Christian van Vianen, goldsmith to Charles I. The piece was commissioned specially for the Treasure of the Royal Courts exhibition.
The Dolphin Basin has a raised, wavy undulating rim in the form of two dolphins, the heads of which come together on one of the shorter sides, water appearing to stream from them into the dish. Among the waves on the bottom can be seen a dolphin pouncing on a smaller fish. This dish, raised and chased from a single sheet of silver relies on contrasting burnished and matted areas to add to the illusion of rippling water.
‘Union’ is made from a single sheet of silver. In the design, Hanid combines the forms of fish fins and tails with the patterns they create in water, an appropriate subject for the centrepiece for a dining table.
Miriam Hanid is a young silversmith with a growing reputation for flat-chased decoration, a technique whereby the front surface of the silver is raised by indenting (punching) it on the reverse using a variety of shaped steel tools and a chasing hammer. Hanid’s inspiration for this chased decoration is often drawn from the movement of the waves along the Suffolk coast, close to where she lives and works.
The fluid qualities of the centrepiece suggest the transitory nature of historic, English silver. Silver was often melted down, either to be remade in a newly fashionable style or for its bullion value to pay a debt.
The lightbox below shows some of Hanid's sketched designs for the piece.
Visit Miriam Hanid's website for more information about her work.
Shell and persian ceramic sketch
Shell and persian ceramic, sketched design for ‘Union’ Centrepiece, by Miriam Hanid, 2013
Shells and swirls sketch
Shells and swirls, sketched design for ‘Union’ Centrepiece, by Miriam Hanid, 2013
Viscous Maculae sketch
Viscous Maculae, sketched design for ‘Union’ Centrepiece, by Miriam Hanid, 2013
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