Welcome to The London Silver Vaults
Jewels for engagements, anniversaries and special moments
Make Valentine’s Day Special with a Silver Gift
Silver gifts for the gentleman in your life
Silver cultery for any occasion
Vault 48 & 50
Vaults 53 - 55
Vaults 51 & 68
Vaults 2, 4 & 6
Vaults 13 & 15
Vaults 3 & 5
March 4, 2014
Dressed for Dinner, the new selling exhibition at the London Silver Vaults, which opened last week, shows the silver that was used for the dinner table by the 18th century Georgians, the 19th century Victorians and by diners in the 20th century. A typical Victorian dinner table is typically an explosion of highly decorated silver with embossed and engraved patterns, borrowing from nature and myth, and grand statement pieces like epergnes.
An epergne was a tall impressive centrepiece carrying fruit or sweets – like the one we have in the Victorian part of the show which was made by the famous Elkington & Co silver manufacturers of the day. For everyday dining ‘à la russe’ – the fashion in the 1850s for having the different courses handed round by the butlers and footmen – there had to be plenty of serving dishes, often with double wall insulation to keep food warm, or entrée dishes that could be stacked. (We have a pair of those). Plus of course, different ladles for sauces, gravy or cream and serving spoons for their blancmanges, jellies and sorbets.
In the 1840s a new method of silver plating was industrialised so the aspirational couples of the day could buy a cheaper alternative to sterling silver and look just as swish to their friends. We have a pair of splendid two-arm candelabra in silver plate in the show.
With ‘à la russe’ dining, the variety of silver cutlery was important. Fish knives and forks made their first appearance and fruit knives and forks arrived on the table together with berry spoons for serving soft fruit and fruit compotes. There is a place setting of cutlery in the show in chased vine pattern from a dessert set for 12 complete with grape scissors and nutcrackers. This pattern was launched at the Great Exhibition of 1851. We also have the popular Victorian design, Queen’s pattern cutlery on display.
Touching food was frowned on in the 19th century so diners were presented with a growing array of specialist eating utensils for particular foods. They had to recognize asparagus tongs, lobster picks, marrow spoons, cheese scoops and grape scissors and know how to use them. We have them all.
Dressed for Dinner: Three centuries of fine dining and silver tableware
24 February to 24 May 2014 9am – 5pm. Saturdays 9am – 1pm.
March 3, 2014
The new selling exhibition at the London Silver Vaults which opened last week showcases the finest silver dinnerware from three centuries. The C18th, C19th and C20th. Called Dressed for Dinner it presents the very best silver accessories for dining at home – in the kitchen, in the dining room or in your super-room.
The Georgians dined ‘a la Francaise’ which meant all the courses were brought to the table at once and the diners helped themselves. For this you needed lots of serving dishes, sauceboats, cutlery, cruet and wine and water jugs.
The oldest pieces of Georgian silver we have on display are a pair of sauce boats by William Cripps hallmarked 1754. From Hester Bateman, the famous C18th London silversmith, we have a wine funnel (wine was decanted from barrels) and a neo classical basket for sweets. On a larger scale there is a very splendid soup tureen from Edinburgh dated 1816. And from Dublin a soup ladle that would pair with it nicely dated 1781. From London silversmiths there is an elegant pair of gilt-lined boat shaped salts by Robert Hennell, made in 1784 and a matching pair of embossed silver goblets from 1768.
In some Georgian households there wasn’t a dedicated dining room and once guests had entered through the hallway and passed into a drawing room, tables would be assembled in the hall and ‘dressed’ for dinner. The Georgians also liked to decorate their tables with elaborate centrepieces such as miniature gardens. For our Georgian display we have a period dolls house as our centrepiece.
Dressed for Dinner: Three centuries of fine dining and silver tableware
Selling Exhibition – 24 February to 24 May 2014. Open 9am – 5pm.
February 17, 2014
A new selling display showcasing the finest silver for the dinner table opens at London’s historic silver shopping emporium, The London Silver Vaults. From 24th February until 24th May 2014, Dressed for Dinner will present the very best silver cutlery and accessories any modern or traditional dining table could ever need.
Today’s open-plan dining spaces give an opportunity to display and appreciate, in pride of place, a few choice articles of stunning English silverware designed to adorn the table: a pair of candlesticks, a silver fruit bowl. Dedicated dining room users relish the prospect of setting out all the best silver to create a special ambience for guests, from silver wine coasters to salts and serving spoons. Whichever your living style, kitchen table, super-room or dining room, fine silver is the graceful accent to any dinner of occasion!
In the 18th century, fashionable Georgians liked their desserts to be an occasion, the dining table set with elaborate miniature garden centrepieces and myriad sweetmeats, preserved fruits, cakes and jams piled around the table, as much for show as for eating. Dinner was served ‘à la française’: a wide variety of dishes were placed upon the table for diners to help themselves. All manner of dishes with covers and tableware such as sauce boats, cream jugs, spice and sugar shakers and salts, were designed for impressive presentation, and all served a purpose. The Georgians also enjoyed suppers served at a late hour after balls and card playing evenings; candelabra would cast their glow, silver salvers glimmered.
The Victorians were renowned for their numerous dinner courses all punctuated by flavoured sorbets to aid the overtaxed digestion. The tables were set with silver and china tableware in perfect symmetry. The invention of electro plating base metal with a silver coating in Victorian times opened up the market to everyone and the designs of the day could be copied in much cheaper ‘silvered’ versions. About the same time, the 1850s, the fashionable new style of dining was ‘à la russe’: each course was handed round (by servants), and the variety of silver cutlery was more important: fish and fruit knives and forks, and berry spoons appeared. Apart from bread and certain fruits, touching food became frowned upon so 19th century diners were presented with a growing range of specialist eating utensils for particular foods. One had to recognize asparagus tongs, lobster picks, marrow spoons and grape scissors, and know how to use them.
By the time of Art Deco and the ‘functional’ ideology of the Bauhaus, life was getting simpler and dining styles much less ornate. In Wartime there was little new design emerging and the Forties with its austerity and rationing was a design desert. Not till the Fifties and the affluent Sixties did design take off again and bring us the Mid Century names such as Benney, Devlin, Lawrence and Mellor from the English school of silversmiths. They created modernist styles and added new textured finishes and coloured enamels to enhance their streamlined designs.
Dressed for Dinner at The London Silver Vaults will bring together the finest silver for the dinner table designed in the last three centuries and still in use and enjoyed today.
There will be classical Georgian serving dishes, soup tureens, sauce boats and creamers, wine coasters, dessert cutlery and dishes. From the Victorians there will be flamboyant centrepieces, intricate cutlery patterns such as chased vine designed for the 1851 Great Exhibition, specialist cutlery from fish sets to fruit sets and ice cream spoons, embossed goblets, claret jugs, decanters and elaborate candlesticks. And from the 20th< century there will be the pared-down designs of the 1930s onwards, everything from flower holders, cruets, enamelled silver, tableware to cutlery. All items will be for sale and prices will range from £50 to £25,000.