Curated by Jessica Fellowes: The Butler’s Pantry, The Christmas Dining Table and The Lady’s Dressing Table.
Jessica Fellowes is an author and public speaker who has toured throughout America on the subject of ‘Downton Abbey’, the show created by her uncle, Julian. To coincide with the launch of two new books this year, ‘The Wit & Wisdom of Downton Abbey’ and ‘Downton Abbey: A Celebration’, Jessica will be launching both of the books at The London Silver Vaults, with a champagne reception on 10th November 2015.
After the launch and special tour of The London Silver Vaults from Chairman Steven Linden, Jessica will be talking about her new books, giving a taster of her lectures on the real-life inspirations to the show, which come both from the social history of the era as well as stories from the Fellowes family.
Steven Linden said “It is certainly exciting to have Jessica Fellowes curating the current silver exhibition at The London Silver Vaults. In fact, The London Silver Vaults’ association with the hit drama has increased significantly from its original position as adviser and favoured supplier of authentic British silver for the production to being involved in some exciting events together.” The London Silver Vaults current selling exhibition will run through to 31st December 2015 and include pieces carefully selected by Jessica with the support of the silver specialists at The Vaults.
The exhibition focuses on three rooms typically found in the country house of an aristocratic family’s estate in the early 1900s. Jessica visited each of the shops at The Vaults, where she collaborated with the shop owners (many of whom are fourth generation silver specialists) to select items for the display. The rooms curated include the butler’s pantry, a Christmas dining table and the lady’s dressing table. Jessica had an “enlightening and enjoyable” afternoon at the London Silver Vaults and chose all of the items on display.
The Butler’s Pantry is a snap-shot of a family’s safe where the most trusted member of staff would look after and maintain the family’s silver. Silver was an expensive commodity and often the butler would sleep outside the pantry to ensure the silver’s safe-keeping, under lock and key. The family’s most prized possessions would have been stored in the butler’s pantry, along with everyday items made out of silver. The display includes a butler’s gong, a dazzling epergene and a pair of Victorian snuffer scissors, used for clipping the candles placed in the ornate candelabra around the manor house.
The second display is a place setting for one at the Christmas dining table. The London Silver Vaults cutlery specialist John Hamilton helped Jessica to choose a cutlery set of the period. Silver was often the star attraction of the dining table, and a chance for a family to show off and indulge in their breathtakingly ornate silverware, to display their riches and the latest fashions in silverware. The silver would have been a mixture of grand inherited pieces and those reflecting the latest trends. This was relevant around a dining table as a place where a family’s status was defined as they gathered people around the table for political reasons, romantic matchmaking and conducting business. Adorning the dining table, amongst other sparkling silverware, is a very handsome Paul Storr cruet set made in 1799.
The final display, The Lady’s Dressing Table, is filled with items such as sparkling jewellery and ornate scent bottles, both fashionable items of the time. Items include a gorgeous yellow enamel mirror set, extremely rare and still sought after by collectors and ladies with style today. In addition to the jewellery, the display includes a grand Art Nouveau mirror (by Goldsmiths and Silversmiths, London 1905) a charming miniature Swiss silver and guilloché blue enamel Boudoir clock and some small ornate items including a lorgnette, a nail buffer and a surprisingly rare curling-tong box.
The exhibition is a nod to the success of Downton Abbey, with an authentic display of items, all of which are available to purchase from The London Silver Vaults. In the spirit of Christmas, and in support of our chosen charity, The Special Olympics Team GB, all items sold will raise 10% of their value for the charity.
For more detailed information about the exhibition and any of the items please contact:
Tom York email@example.com mobile: 07880 348 813
The London Silver Vaults
Chancery House, 53-64 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1QS