Call for Entries: P&O Makower Trust Silver Commission

Decorative Art and Sculpture
October 28, 2022

The P&O Makower Trust Silver Commission is an exciting opportunity that supports a recently graduated or early career silversmith to create a major piece of silver that will go on display here at the V&A. We are very pleased to invite entries for this year’s commission.

Left to right: Vase, silver, parcel-gilt and wood, by Rod Kelly, 1984. LOAN:MAKOWER.3; Bowl, silver and cloisonné enamel (the first P&O Makower Trust commission for the V&A), by Jane Short, 1980. LOAN:MAKOWER.1

For over 45 years the Penelope & Oliver Makower (1974) Trust has commissioned major objects of silver to go on long term loan to national museums throughout the UK. The aim of the commission is to support an early career silversmith to extend their craft and gain public exhibition of their work in one of the UK’s leading museums. Previous awardees have included Jane Short, Rod Kelly, David Clarke, Ndidi Ekubia and Nan Nan Liu.

The commission is for the creation of a new work in silver (excluding jewellery) and will prioritise makers who are using traditional methods in new and exciting ways – for example by embracing digital technology or developing new techniques for working metal. Applicants may also wish to explore the use of silver in conjunction with other metals or materials, as long as they degrade at the same rate as silver. The value of the commission is £6,000 to include materials and making.

Left to right: Silver vase, by Ryan McClean, 2018. LOAN:MAKOWER.25-2018; Silver candlestick, by Max Warren, 2020. LOAN:MAKOWER.23-2010

The commissioned piece will go on display in the Whiteley Silver Galleries at the V&A, alongside the museum’s modern and contemporary silver collections and previous commissions by the P&O Makower Trust. The design and making of the commission will be documented on the V&A’s website/blog.

How to apply

To apply, please send your CV including contact details, a personal statement about your practice (max 250 words), and 6 high-quality digital photographs of your work (size A5, 300 dpi), by email or Liquid Files to no later than 6 January 2023.

Applicants should provide photographic examples of at least three different objects they have made. Please also note:

  • jewellery is not permitted within this commission
  • materials such as plastic and rubber cannot be accepted
  • we welcome entries from silversmiths who have recently graduated (within the last seven years), or early career silversmiths
  • the judges for the competition will include V&A staff, the Makower family and professionals from the silversmithing craft

What happens next?

The judges will review the submitted photographs and select a shortlist of candidates who will then be invited to present more detailed sketches of their proposed piece in person to the panel at the V&A South Kensington (London). We plan to announce the shortlist by 20 January 2023 at the latest, and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 30 January. Reasonable travel expenses for shortlisted candidates will be covered by the Trust.

We look forward to receiving your application. If you have any queries, please email Becky Knott, Curator of Metalwork 1900-Now:

About the author

Decorative Art and Sculpture
October 28, 2022

Becky Knott is Curator of Metalwork, 1900-Now, and is responsible for the care, research and growth of the modern and contemporary metalwork collection. She was previously Lead Curator of the...

More from Becky Knott
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