A History of Silver: 1450 to Now

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

On this history of silver course gain a deeper understanding of this metal. From its role as marker of taste, status and wealth to its place in globalisation, and the ways in which the ‘white metal’ and its universal appeal have evolved throughout history.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with 12 hours of study over 6 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for 6 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Clementine Loustric

Course Leader
Clementine Loustric

Clementine is a museum educator and curator specialising in European material culture and decorative arts from 1650-now. Previous to her role in V&A Academy, she was Assistant Curator of the V&A’s modern and contemporary metalwork collections, of the Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert Collection, and Curator of the Chitra Collection.

I love the opportunity to learn with people who are so knowledgeable and interesting. Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

Through a transcultural and transhistorical lens, this 6-week silver history course will focus on the study of a metal more widespread than gold, whose role was crucial to the birth of global economics and maritime trade, industrial innovation and radical developments within the decorative arts. Drawing from the V&A’s unparalleled silver collections, and bringing in scholars, curators and contemporary practitioners, the course will provide a chronological overview of innovations in the material and its extraction, explore makers and markets, and uncover the significant role played by silver in wider social, cultural and historical arenas from 1450 to the present.

Each week, we will cover a range of themes and give insight into technological innovations and stylistic evolutions which have impacted silver’s design, craft and manufacture, and how silver has, in turn, affected politics, society, ecology and territories across the globe. With lectures on broad themes such as workshop practices, empire, colonialism, artistry and industry, this course offers a unique and interdisciplinary perspective on an endlessly versatile metal.


V&A Academy Online. A learning environment you can trust.

V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

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Online course: A History of Silver: 1450 to Now

18 April 2024 - 23 May 2024


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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